As a proud native of the great state of Michigan, I can't help but smile a little bit at what is going down in Columbus, Ohio.
For years, Ohio State's football team has tormented my Michigan State Spartans. They've handed us blow-out losses and cost us a trip to the Rose Bowl this past season. They dropped 73 on Eastern Michigan and have beaten up so bad on the Wolverines, lately, even I, a die-hard Spartan, am starting to feel a tad bit of compassion for those people in Ann Arbor (only a very little, though).
Now that the Buckeyes are facing the hammer from the NCAA that could ruin the football program for years, even decades, to come, I struggle to feel even the slightest bit bad for the school. But, I do feel bad for what the Buckeyes turmoil represents in our society.
Cars, money, tattoos, and weed.
That's what the players got for selling their memorabilia and tickets.
Let me re-emphasized that, Cars, money, tattoos, and weed.
These were their priorities of top-tier Division One athletes. It's disgustingly selfish. They not only compromised their own reputations, but the reputation of the school, conference, and sport.
And for what...cars, money, tattoos, and weed?!
Using their notoriety and campus-celebrity to do what they want, when they want, and how they want, is what's wrong with this generation of athletes. There is no long-term thought process on consequences because for their entire lives they've been given immediate access to whatever they want because their talents can open up doors for the leaches around them. These leaches want a piece of the pie and the best way to ensure that piece is to keep the athlete happy.
The biggest leach in the Ohio State case was Jim Tressel. He is the epitome of why college sports is such a scummy business.
For ten years he preached to his athletes and campus community about living life and acting one way, while at the same time doing the exact opposite.
Tressel turned a blind eye to the unethical behavior of his players because his players did enough on Saturdays to win games. He didn't care that a bunch of men in their early 20's were going to some of the shadiest parts of Columbus regularly to get tatted, smoke a joint, and play PS3.
College football players in the Big Ten and other major conferences are often among the most recognizable faces at the university. Tressel let his team's faces, most notably Terrelle Pryor, represent THE Ohio State University with cars, money, tattoos, and weed.
He put winning and catering to wants in front of teaching. For a place of "higher learning" to have its top paid employee spit in the face of education like that is a disgrace.
Football is the ultimate team sport and yet Tressel and his player's actions were all about self promotion and indulgence. Maybe that's why they fit so well at OSU, because as those in Columbus say, no one dots the "I" better than the Buckeyes.