Scott Novak: What is the cost of winning?

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, April 28, 2011

It appears that the price of winning may be more than Ohio State and long-time coach Jim Tressel can afford.

novakIt’s shameful what has happened in Columbus, Ohio over the past year. It could end up being even more shameful if the NCAA shies away from putting the hammer down on Tressel and the Buckeyes.

The five-game suspension of the four players involved is a travesty in itself. First of all, the suspension of those players should have began with the Sugar Bowl and not the first five games of the upcoming season.

But once again, the NCAA has shown that it is all about the almighty dollar and doesn’t really care about protecting the integrity of the game. How can four players, who were discovered well in advance of the Sugar Bowl be allowed to compete?

I will tell you why, because the NCAA didn’t want to lose face just before one of its “showcase events.” Had Ohio State been playing in a lesser bowl game I honestly believe those suspensions would have taken effect immediately.

Even if the Big Ten Conference, which also should have made the suspension immediate, and the NCAA didn’t step in and sit those players down, Ohio State should have.

But then again, the Buckeye brass doesn’t seem to feel that these violations warrant swift action. Heck, the university didn’t even take the time to do a lengthy investigation. If it had, they would have probably found out just how long their head coach had been lying and hiding the facts from school, the Big Ten and the NCAA.

There is no dancing around this one for Tressel and the Buckeyes.

If players cheat and lie to the school it plays for, they are declared ineligible and are often dismissed from both the program and the school.

This is a coach for goodness sake lying since April 2010 we now find out and covering up violations. The punishment for someone who obviously knows better than that should be severe.

In my mind Tressel should be fired. He should be banned from coaching at any college level for a period of time. Maybe then he would think twice about his actions.

But this is big-time college football and that means big money for both the school, the Big Ten and the NCAA. And when money is involved, heads seem to turn the other way and college athletic’s governing body seems to get weak in the knees.

The stance taken by Ohio State, its athletic department and its president is a bit disturbing as well. Has the almighty dollar swayed the talking heads at the university so much that they are willing to live with cheating and lying?

I used to have a lot of respect for Ohio State, but that has wavered over the past few years.

There have been plenty of warning signs for Buckeye fans since Tressel arrived there. Those signs have pretty much been ignored as the wins piled up and Ohio State claimed the 2002 National Championship.

Now it is time for the NCAA to step up to the plate and do something that apparently the Big Ten and Ohio State University are afraid to do. Tell Jim Tressel he is wrong and that his actions have consequences that deserve swift and dire penalties.

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at