Andy Gottesman / Lantern photographer
Athletic director Gene Smith continues to trumpet the mantra of no “systemic issue of compliance” at Ohio State.
While he’s clearly off base with that assessment, the NCAA’s backward system makes it nearly impossible for any school to obey its rules.
The Buckeyes’ athletic program is as close to a police state as you can get in today’s era of college athletics.
Seemingly any small impropriety finds its way into a self-report from OSU to the NCAA. No other program has the same kind of thorough record when it comes to reporting violations.
This is nothing to be proud of, however, as they are only enforcing a highly flawed system. Of course, they are left with no choice with the media onslaught anticipating any slight slip-up from within the program.
Be it selling their personal awards or earning a couple extra hundred dollars for work they didn’t actually do, players like DeVier Posey and Daniel “Boom” Herron deserve every cent – and more.
They play in a system that generates billions of dollars but don’t see a single piece of that revenue.
Smith may say that he is held accountable for the violations within the program he oversees but that rings hollow. The players are getting punished while Smith sits on his hefty salary.
Not only are they playing without pay and getting suspended when they try to earn a small cut of what they deserve, they are also turned into public scapegoats – just like Jim Tressel – thanks to Smith’s addresses to the media at press conferences.
When Smith says the lack of compliance is a result of “individual failures,” he is trying to sway the public into believing that nothing is wrong with the system they play under, nor is anything wrong – most importantly – at OSU.
Hopefully this subservient trick pays off and the Buckeyes aren’t severely punished by the NCAA’s committee on infractions.
While the university deflects blame to specific players, the lazy narrative of dismissing Posey and Herron from the team emerges.
That idea – floated out by multiple members of the Columbus media – truly solves nothing. It only reinforces the unequal punishment of Buckeyes players as compared to other programs where similar – or worse – violations occur and go unreported.
The chaotic atmosphere around college athletics continues and OSU will be as vigilant as ever in enforcing the NCAA’s false sense of amateurism. The cycle won’t stop until something is done about the persistent exploitation of college athletes.