Allow me to feed in to the perception of arrogance surrounding Buckeye fans.
Without the help of Ohio State – President E. Gordon Gee, the athletic department and its student-athletes – those wishing to reform major college athletics do not stand a chance.
Facing penalties for those athletes who ran afoul of the NCAA’s asinine rules, the school seems content to enforce a highly flawed system. That leaves the student-athletes to fend for themselves if they want to serve as some sort of force for change – and they’re not exactly coming from a position of power.
That is, unless they do something drastic.
Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel, one of the reporters who broke news that former OSU coach Jim Tressel knew of NCAA violations, proposed the idea of a college team boycotting a “minor bowl game” in a recent article.
If Ohio State fails to make a spectacular run through the rest of their Big Ten schedule, the Buckeyes are looking at what would be described as a “minor bowl game.”
Could there be a more powerful statement than The Ohio State University’s football team boycotting a bowl game citing the unfair practices of the NCAA?
No school can match the brand name of Buckeyes football. With a rare down year for the team, bowls such as the Insight Bowl, Gator Bowl and Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas are salivating at the opportunity to have OSU in their game.
Considering the boost in national appeal, ratings and attendance – many schools can’t even sell their allotment of tickets, anyway – it makes sense.
With the losses of Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor, and the suspensions of DeVier Posey, Daniel “Boom” Herron and Mike Adams, no team has been hit harder than the Buckeyes in the last year. As a result, no team would be more justified in protesting the NCAA.
Naturally, the public sentiment – as it has with any NCAA investigation – would side against the players. The backlash alone would prevent any sort of athlete revolt.
To this point, unfortunately, the only players who have stepped forward are more than 300 football and basketball players from only five schools – Arizona, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Purdue and UCLA.
While signing the petition asking for a small share of the massive TV contracts is noteworthy for its innovation, the NCAA will largely ignore it until it gains more support.
For now – with the backing of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and NCAA President Mark Emmert – the “full cost of attendance” scholarship is up for debate among college football’s elites.
Emmert’s estimation is increasing grants to student athletes by $2,000 – a rather arbitrary number that still low balls the athletes, who generate billions of dollars in revenue.
Assuming there’s any substance to this, school presidents, conference commissioners, athletic directors and the large sum of TV money that controls them are squeezing out any potential influence student-athletes have.
If any sweeping changes are to be made to the NCAA’s flawed system, OSU athletes should be at the forefront.