(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

College Football, Ohio State, Jim Tressel

It's hard to know where to begin, but Ohio State either just had its Waterloo or Watergate, a program in disgrace, a coach forced to resign, players and hangers on seemingly corrupt, and you wonder what exactly was Ohio State running -- a floating crap game, a political party, a well-regarded football program or a circus, or some of each of the above?

Is it time either for colleges to drop football, period, given all the risks of major injury and the potential brain damage that many can incur? Is it time to de-emphasize it so that money will not corrupt it? Or is it time to call it what it is, the way the Olympics did, and pay players a sizeable enough stipend so that stuff like this will not happen? Or, will it happen regardless of the size of the stipend because stars always will want more? Or, is this the type of problem that needs to be cleansed from time to time, only to have it rise up after the cleaners -- the NCAA enforcers -- are long gone?

Questions abound on a hot northeastern night. Is Ohio State the only troubled program, or are they just the most egregious in failing to enforce the rules? Surely, there must be others, aren't there? Kids with cars or tattoos they cannot explain, kids with Apple stuff, fancy sneakers, jewelry, what have you? Kids having jobs keeping the seaweed out of the mountain climbing equipment, kids having majors that involve multiple-choice questions with partial credit for a wrong answer, all the old tricks.

And, the final question: for what purpose? Is a championship worth winning if it is not won the right way? What type of championship is that, and what are we teaching our kids and each other if we win dirty?


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