The Dayton Daily News has reported that The Ohio State University has spent in excess of $64,000 on “bow ties and related items” since the fall of 2007 on behalf of University President, Gordon Gee.
Gee, who was the center of criticism for his handling of the Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor fiasco, is known for his trademark bow ties.
The newspaper requested various documents from the University nearly a year ago and reports the following:
“Ohio State says the bow ties are props or symbols of the university and its President who expenses a total of $7.7 million in that same period.”
Gee is the country’s highest paid University President and the benefits of holding this title don’t end at his salary as the Daily News reports that millions have been spent for Gee to “travel the globe, throw parties, wine and dine donors, woo prospective faculty, hang out with students and staff and maintain a 9,600 square foot mansion on 1.3 acres.”
Gee has made $8.6M since taking over as President in October of 2007 and he has funneled nearly that much ($7.7M) through the University as expenses as well.
Whether legal or not, this certainly seems to be a bit on the excessive side given the fact that Ohio State is a public University. Not to mention the intense scrutiny the University has been under since the Tressel/Pryor scandal.
Following the news of significant NCAA violations and suspensions in 2011 for 5 prominent Ohio State players, Head Coach Jim Tressel and Athletic Director Gene Smith sat down almost immediately to address the media. Unfortunately, the “company line” delivered by these two shows us exactly what is wrong with the Ohio State program in my opinion, and on a larger scale, part of what is wrong with NCAA Football.
As you’ll see in the video below and as you may have already heard, the Buckeyes Brass is deferring all responsibility away from the players and they’re placing ALL blame on themselves. Why?
The reason is two-fold, simple, and disingenuous at best.
1. By taking the blame for what their players did and by saying that they didn’t properly educate the players, it gives credence to the verbiage the NCAA included in their ruling. The NCAA stated that part of the reason they allowed the players to participate in the upcoming Sugar Bowl was because the players weren’t educated and they didn’t know they were violating any rules. We all know this is total BS as the NCAA wants to preserve the ratings and revenues for their precious BCS game and maintain their prosperous relationship with Allstate and avoid setting a dangerous precedent that could affect future advertising deals.
But by going along with this BS, Ohio State is hoping to reduce the penalty by demonstrating that the players made a mistake but it wasn’t their fault. I have no idea if they were told about this particular rule or not and I don’t really care. It’s my opinion that it’s a stupid and selfish thing to do regardless of a specific NCAA rule. To sell your Big Ten championship ring and various awards shows the program, your coach and teammates exactly what it means to you. If I were Jim Tressel and the rest of the teammates, I would take this as a significant insult and sign of complete disrespect. Gene Smith tried to justify the actions by saying that they were selling the items to “help their families” which, I’m sorry, I don’t buy. Pryor, for instance, has thousands of dollars worth of tattoos. That money could have been used to help his family if that were the primary concern.
2. The secondary reason for the Buckeyes Brass taking all the heat on this issue is to try to preserve their relationships with the players and increase the odds of the players staying at Ohio State next season. Obviously, if the NCAA reduces the suspensions to 2 games for example, it would improve the chances of convincing the players to stay on for another year. In addition to just the NCAA suspension, taking the heat and publicly defending them should, in theory, gain favor with the players and improve the chances of having them return. Unfortunately, despite his incredible physical talents, I feel the Buckeyes will much better off once he leaves Columbus.
Here is an excerpt of the press conference:
Let me be clear by saying that at this point, this is an unsubstantiated rumor. But it is a rumor, that if true, would be such a substantial occurrence, that I thought it important to mention. Rumors began circulating today that long-time Head Coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Jim Tressel may be coaching his last game at Ohio St. in the Sugar Bowl.
The program was certainly shaken by the recent NCAA violations leading to Terrelle Pryor and 4 other prominent Buckeyes’ suspensions for 5 games in 2011. This is certainly the largest instance of violations during Tressel’s tenure, but it isn’t near the scale of the violations and impending sanctions placed on USC that caused Pete Carroll to bolt for the NFL. For this reason, the rumor is categorized in the doubtful category as far as I’m concerned.
But there are two possibilities that could make this true. The first, as one rumor suggests, is that Tressel will step down but it’s not at all his decision. Jim Tressel has absolutely owned the Big Ten since arriving at Ohio State and he’s won a national championship in the last decade. Assuming the NCAA violations are limited to what we’re already aware of, I couldn’t imagine the University severing ties with “The Vest” over these violations and they certainly couldn’t base it on performance. Despite some issues with Tressel’s play calling, roster decisions, etc., he’s still had incredible success and this year is no different. Any program in the country would love to have a perennial ticket punched to a BCS Bowl game with a legitimate opportunity to win a National Championship.
So that brings me to the second possibility. The only possible reason I could see causing Jim Tressel to step down either voluntarily or involuntarily would involve wide-spread and pervasive NCAA violations on scale with, or worse than what we saw recently with USC. If the NCAA is already sniffing around and Tressel and the University are aware of significant violations which could lead the NCAA to concluding that they lack “Institutional Control”, then it would make perfect sense for Tressel to leave.
If something horrific like this were going on and he or the University sees the writing on the wall, then it would make sense for either side to part ways. I’m certainly not suggesting that this is what’s going on and sure hope it isn’t but one article I read today referenced Ohio State leading the nation in NCAA violations from 2000-2009. Obviously most have been minor and have gone unnoticed, but there would appear to be some issues going on in Columbus if this is accurate.
I’ll keep a close eye on the story (or non-story) as it develops and I’ll update as soon as I hear more.
Terrelle Pryor has had a rough season after being projected as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He was shut out of the Big Ten post-season awards, let alone any national recognition and he’s made it quite clear that he’s upset about it. Despite the Buckeyes 1 loss season and earning a share of their 6th straight Big Ten Championship, he has been quite displeased. The Buckeyes earned yet another trip to a BCS Bowl game where they will face off against Akransas in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
News came out today from multiple sources that Terrelle Pryor and multiple Buckeye players are involved in potential NCAA violations. Specifically, it is alleged that Pryor and the other players received free tattoos in exchange for autographs from a Columbus tattoo parlor, Fine Line Ink.
Pryor denied the charges on his Twitter account saying “I paid for my tattoos!”
It has been reported that OSU officials are meeting for the second time today to discuss the potential of NCAA violations. Ohio State officials have thus far denied any claims of an NCAA investigation or any wrongdoing by their players. Officials have gone so far as to state that all players are eligible for the Sugar Bowl.
But as we’ve seen, it doesn’t take much for the NCAA to come down hard on a player for something that appears petty and minor even though the NCAA can stand idly by while certain players (past, present and future) will take cash from programs for their services. As we saw, A.J. Green was forced to sit out multiple games for selling an autographed jersey, Dez Bryant lost his entire final season due to his attendance of a party and a USC player was suspended for taking a ride on a golf cart.
There are no details as to the proof obtained thus far or validity of the charges, but I have often wondered myself how these players can afford the dozens of tattoos that many of them have. After all, these are supposed to be scholarship athletes with limited resources. How could they afford thousands upon thousands of dollars for these tattoos? I’m not saying that they traded autographs or Buckeye gear in exchange for them or even that this is limited to Ohio State, because it’s not. But I am saying that they got the money from somewhere or these tattoo artists are awfully generous.
The other Buckeye players implicated are Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Travis Howard, Jonathan Newsome, Jordan Hall, Chris Fields, and Michael Brewster. Many are key players for the Buckeyes and many are very close friends with Pryor.
I’ll be sure to keep you updated as things progress.
Wow, Terrelle Pryor‘s arrogance, ignorance, and overall lack of awareness never ceases to amaze me. We know Pryor got his feelings hurt when he not only wasn’t given Heisman consideration, but he wasn’t even named to the Big 10 first or second teams. Apparently after all the hype Cam Newton has received this season and leading up to the Heisman Award Ceremony, Pryor felt it necessary to say “Hey look at me!”
Pryor was recently quoted as saying that if he played in a different system, like Auburn or Northwestern, he would “Dominate the Nation”. Other than the obvious “Look at me” moment here, he’s obviously taking a shot at Jim Tressel and the other players who are getting more recognition than he is. But what he forgets to mention, is that HE is the one who wanted to play in a pro-style system so he could develop into an NFL QB. HE is the one who has repeatedly failed to live up expectations. HE is the one who lacks any semblance of maturity or leadership.
Ohio State’s 6th straight Big 10 title and bid to the Sugar Bowl to face Arkansas is clearly the furthest thing from his mind. He only cares that has been largely ignored this season and he hasn’t been handed any hardware. I guess he doesn’t feel that he needs to earn it because if he did, he would sit tight and keep his mouth shut because he should be embarrassed with his performance and development (or lack thereof) thus far in his career.
He can say what he wants and whine that he’s not getting the hype that he “THINKS” he deserves, but the reality is clear. He’s not as good as he was advertised and I don’t care what system he plays in. Would he put up more rushing numbers in a different system and have more flashy plays? Sure. But he’s not a good passer, at all and he lacks leadership and maturity. He’s nowhere near the passer that Cam Newton is and from what I can see, he’s nowhere as good of a football player and QB.
For Pryor to complain about the system he’s playing in now only shows you the vast level of immaturity we’re dealing with. He chose Ohio State and Tressel’s pro-style offense over Michigan and Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense. Would he put up better numbers and get more attention in that system? Maybe. But for him to demean the rest of the players in the country by suggesting that he would dominate if his system and coach weren’t holding him back is ridiculous.
Unfortunately, we have another year of dealing with this immature, ignorant, and overrated punk before we get to see Braxton Miller take over.
It’s not news that Huber Heights Wayne star QB, Braxton Miller will be Ohio State’s next big QB. He announced months ago that he would be joining the Buckeyes following his graduation from Wayne. He has been hyped, but not to the extent that current Buckeyes QB, Terrelle Pryor was coming out of high school.
Pryor was literally the most coveted and highly rated player coming out of high school and he is continually hyped as a Heisman front-runner. The problem with Pryor is that he has never really produced or met the lofty expectations. Braxton Miller, while he’s certainly not under the radar, isn’t getting nearly the attention or respect that Pryor did coming out of high school. Miller is currently ranked as the #2 QB prospect by ESPN and the #25 overall player.
Miller verbally committed to Ohio State, but he also seriously considered Florida, Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgi, and USC. For anyone who missed it, Miller and Huber Heights Wayne played in an epic matchup against Cleveland’s St. Edwards in the Division 1 State Championship game last night. This was my first real look at Miller other than random highlights. But I watched the entire game and was able to see him in the flow of the game, how he dealt with adversity, and how he handled himself on the field and with his team.
I was incredibly, and thoroughly impressed. The first thing I noticed is that St. Eds was a much bigger and more physically impressive team. The game was gridlocked through the first half and well into the second half, but I sat here wondering to myself if Huber Heights would be able to stay with them for 4 quarters. It just seemed that they would eventually wear down or that Braxton Miller would run out of great plays where he literally made a play out of nothing, against 4 defenders, with little to no help from his team.
St. Eds ended up winning the game, but not for lack of incredible play and effort by Miller. When I first heard of him, I’ll be honest in that I was a little skeptical. He’s listed at 6’2″ and 190 pounds. But he doesn’t look anywhere near either measurable. On the field, he looks to me no more than 5’11 or so and he looks to be no more than 175 pounds. Obviously, he’s still a young kid and Ohio State will certainly add some muscle to his frame. But his height was a definite concern.
After watching him play, though, he certainly appears to be as small as I feared, but it didn’t matter. Miller was easily the best player on the field and although he never abandoned his offense and the system by trying to single-handedly take of the game, he dominated the entire game. He was playing the eventual State Champions and a team, who in my opinion, were far more talented than Miller’s squad. Yet Miller lead his team to a go ahead score with about 2 minutes left. If not for a great offensive attack by St. Eds and a horrendous defense by Huber Heights, Miller would be a State Champion today.
I was as impressed with him as I have been with any high school player I’ve seen (excluding #6), and albeit this is a small sample size, but I think it is a quality and representative sample. Miller was playing the State Champions, who were far superior in size and talent, in my opinion, on a windy and very snowy day on the biggest stage. If he can perform at this level, on this stage, in these conditions, I have no reason to believe that this performance won’t translate at the next level.
Miller was touted as a very athletic QB, smaller than Pryor, but a better passer than Pryor was coming out of high school. Let me tell you…. Miller is already a better passer than Terrelle Pryor is RIGHT NOW! I saw throws that Miller made in the snow and wind that Pryror couldn’t make in the best conditions. Miller consistently demonstrated his ability to make accurate passes with both touch and velocity and he demonstrated a very good deep ball as well.
Braxton Miller made some passes that the majority of Division 1 college QB’s can’t make on a regular basis. On one scoring strike, Miller dropped in a 30+ yard touch pass right in stride and right over top of very good coverage for an indefensible touchdown. He continually threw balls with great velocity in between several defenders and right on target. I knew he was a great athlete, but his passing and ability to read defenses was what really impressed me. Not one time did I see him drop back and then take off after his first option was taken away. He read his progressions and make the correct football play nearly every time.
That’s not to say he can’t or didn’t make plays with his legs. There were times when he make plays that reminded me of Mike Vick. Please don’t think I’m comparing him to Vick. Vick is a once in a decade (maybe once in a lifetime) athlete. Miller is good, he’s fast, and he has a great arm. But he doesn’t have Mike Vick speed and agility and he doesn’t have the arm strength of Vick. But there were several plays where Miller was completely surrounded by 3, 4 or 5 defenders and he should have been absolutely dead to rights. Miller eluded each and every one and then either took off for a huge gain or made a play with his arm, but the impressive thing was that he ALWAYS kept his eyes downfield.
Miller was the fastest and most elusive player on the field. Period. He ended up rushing for 84 yards and two TDs and completed 15 of 24 passes for 200 yards and 2 TDs. He also added 2 INTs (one of which was on a 4th and 20 with Huber Height’s last chance to keep their hopes alive).
From what I saw in this game, Miller is plenty athletic to make plays with his feet in the Big 10. Ohio State is extremely good at developing players once they arrive on campus. I can guarantee that he will only get bigger, faster and stronger from now until the time he suits up for the Buckeyes. But Miller is already farther along as a passer, a QB, and a leader than Pryor is today. Miller handled adversity extremely well, leading his team down for the go-ahead score with 2 minutes left. He honestly did everything he possibly could to lead his team to victory. There was one INT that was ill advised and he threw one deep ball just a foot or so off target and that was the extent of his bad plays. Even on the deep ball, a more skilled WR could have made that play and stayed in bounds.
I’ll be interested to see if Miller will be red-shirted next season as Terrelle Pryor has announced that he’s coming back for his Senior season (as if he has a choice). Miller could use the time to develop physically and to learn the offense, but we’ll see. Pryor could have used the same time for maturity and development, but he played immediately.
Despite Pryor’s constant disappointment, the Buckeyes future is bright. Braxton Miller is the real deal and he will only get better once he arrives on campus. He’s not as fast as Denard Robinson, but he’s fast enough to light up defenses. And he’s a MUCH better passer. Just imagine how much damage Robinson could do if he was a top passer in the Big 10. That’s the kind of production I think we’ll see from Braxton Miller.
Head Coach, Jim Tressel & QB Terrelle Pryor
First, in the interest of full disclosure, I have always been and likely always will be a huge Buckeyes fan. But there are some very troubling trends that I’ve seen over the last handful of years that help explain part of the Buckeyes’ failure in big games and which will continue to haunt the program unless something drastic is changed. Please don’t misconstrue my point, the program has had a great run since Jim Tressel has arrived by normal standards, with a National Championship, 2 other National Championship game appearances, complete domination of the Big 10, and just about perennial BCS Bowl Game appearances. But for all the power of the program, all the talent they have acquired, and all the opportunities they’ve had, the Buckeyes have largely underachieved in my opinion. Sadly, I believe they will continue to underachieve for the foreseeable future.
The first troubling trend is coaching. Sure Tressel has completely dominated the Big 10, but is that really enough for Ohio State? With the talent that he has been able to bring in and with the repeated opportunities at a National Title, the program has come up short far too many times in my opinion. Like I said, recruiting is great. They’ve even adjusted their recruiting and player development to increase team speed and to better match up with some of the elite teams in the country, especially SEC teams. But the Buckeyes continue to come up small in big games and it seems every year they lose to a team they should beat (Wisconsin 2010, Purdue 2009). Wisconsin, for example, was a loss directly attributed to coaching and leadership on the team (or lack thereof).
Tressel also continues to insist on calling the plays offensively and I love the guy as a coach, but he falls far short in the area of play calling and in-game adjustments. If the Buckeyes want to legitimately compete year in and year out, he needs to turn over the play calling responsibilities to a full time offensive coordinator. The most troubling coaching deficiency though is in the areas of special teams and defense which were once staples of Jim Tressel’s program and success. The Ohio St. special teams has been a liability for a couple years now and it seems to be getting worse. This is a direct reflection on the coaching and it is unacceptable that it has not yet been fully corrected.
Finally, the Ohio St. defense, which is one of the most talented units in the country, has continued to come up small in clutch situations (USC, Texas twice, Wisconsin, etc.). While the defense has performed fairly well statistically, the true test of a defense is whether or not they can get stops when they need to and the Buckeyes just haven’t been able to get stops in big moments. The defense hasn’t been the strength that it once was since the departure of Coach Dantonio. Jim Heacock just isn’t getting the job done and it’s my opinion that it’s time for a change. Again, for the Big 10, they’ve been dominant. But that’s not good enough anymore and they need to stop allowing the same mistakes to occur without rectifying the problem.
The next negative trend that I’ve seen is in the area of player leadership and maturity. I’m sure there are some great kids on the team and they’re doing everything they can, but the guys who the program needs to be leaders just simply aren’t willing or able. Terrelle Pryor is the biggest name, most talented player, and as the QB of the team he is responsible for strong leadership of the team. All off-season we heard how much he matured and developed as a player and a leader but I honestly haven’t seen it. Pryor played an awful game in Wisconsin this year and after the game he was more concerned with blaming the special teams for giving up an opening touchdown than he was with his own failure that night.
Do you want your star player and “leader” trying to deflect his own shortcomings and place blame on his teammates? I sure don’t. Then, when the Buckeyes went into Purdue, Pryor was whining about road games being hard and how he didn’t like the hotel and the food. Seriously? Every team has to go on the road, it’s part of the game and the ones who are mentally strong and mature enough to prepare and focus are the ones who succeed. It’s no wonder with that kind of attitude and mental weakness that the entire team didn’t even show up in Wisconsin until the second half.
I also haven’t seen that much improvement in Pryor as a QB despite the various reports of his greatly improved passing and work ethic. I’ll give him the nod on improving his reads, just a little though. Lets face it, Ohio St. runs what is considered a “Pro Style” system for the most part, but it’s hardly one of the more complex systems in college football. Pryor is THREE YEARS into the system and he hasn’t developed nearly enough given his talent and time he’s had to learn and mature in the offense. Again, he and the Buckeyes have gotten away with it because they’re just that much more talented than the rest of the Big 10, but when they play teams that are equal to or greater in talent, they struggle. Pryor isn’t much better as a passer as he is wildly inaccurate and for what is supposed to be his strength in the deep ball, he throws a HORRIBLE deep pass.
Tressel and Pryor also seem to be stuck half way between wanting to run a Pro Style system and wanting to run a spread offense. I understand why as Tressel had to promise Pryor that he would let him run a Pro offense and develop him as an NFL QB in order to get him here (like Tressel knows anything about developing NFL QB’s….). But the reality is that Pryor just isn’t going to be an NFL QB, period. Unless he has completely blown off working on being a passer and a QB, which while I’m sure he hasn’t done everything he should, I highly doubt he’s completely blown it off. If he’s truly been working hard at it, then it’s clear that he’s just not going to get where he wants to be.
At this point, you’ve given it 3 years and it’s just not working. You might as well make the most out of the talent you have while you’ve got it and instead of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole just use the kid how he’s best suited. All you have to do is look at how Texas used Vince Young and how Auburn is using Cam Newton. Those guys thrive(d) in their systems where Pryor continues to struggle. This is both on Pryor for not being mature enough to handle his role as well on Tressel for continuing to misuse his incredibly talented QB. Who knows, maybe the kid will work hard once he’s in the NFL and develop into a good QB. But whatever they’re doing in Columbus isn’t working and it’s not going to work. Tressel is just not able to develop this kid and I’d rather see him used in a way to maximize his ability for the time he has remaining at Ohio St.
Tressel isn’t the only problem as other players have been less than strong leaders on the team. I love the kid’s talent and natural ability but he’s like a constant cock tease. He always shows you what he COULD be but never delivers. And as much as people in the program will tell you he has matured, he never seems to. Literally every time he opens his mouth he says something stupid and shows you just where he is mentally. I don’t know exactly how much it has to do with his friendship with idol, LeBron James, but I see a lot of parallels between the two and that should be scary for Buckeyes fans.
Like I mentioned, other Buckeyes players have shown the same lack of maturity and leadership throughout the 2010 season. Jermale Hines whined about the Buckeyes being #1 in the Country just before they laid an egg against Wisconsin. Apparently he and some of his teammates weren’t comfortable with being #1 and maybe it was indicative of how they really viewed themselves. I’ve heard some people defend this in saying that many athletes like to be in the underdog role and they’re not comfortable being the target. I completely disagree and point to some of the best athletes who exude the utmost mental toughness ever. Do you think Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or Kobe Bryant would rather be #2 than #1? Ever? HELL NO! They know they’re the best and they don’t care who knows it or who comes after them. I just wish the Buckeyes had that mentality and maybe we would have gotten more out of the talent that does exist.
Then Jake Stoneburner was whining about Boise St. being undefeated and their weak schedule. He said something to the affect that if Boise actually makes it to the BCS title game that he thinks the Buckeyes should follow their model by playing weak competition so they could go to the BCS title game every year. How about NO! How about you and every other player worry about beating Big 10 teams first because you seem to lose to a lesser Big 10 team every single year and it completely derails the team’s title chances. If they were more concerned with beating the teams on their schedule and not whining about other teams then maybe they wouldn’t have lost to Purdue last year and Wisconsin this year. Is this mentality and lack of leadership completely Pryor, Hines, and Stoneburner’s fault? Of course not, but it does represent the prevailing mindset of the team and explains, at least to some degree, why they continue to make the same mistakes year in and year out.
Look, I know they’re just kids and there is always going to be some level of immaturity and stupidity associated with college football. But why is it that Buckeyes teams in the past didn’t have this much immaturity? Troy Smith, while he made his mistakes early in his career developed and matured into the team’s unquestioned leader. There have been countless great players and leaders on Buckeyes teams, where are they now?
I’m honestly not sure if this is on Tressel for not getting his players in line with how the program should be run or if we’ve been recruiting lesser character players. Maybe it’s just the increased attention and availability of information in the world due to the 24-7 media and with platforms like Twitter that weren’t around a few years ago. I can’t tell you what it is, but I can tell you that it’s real and it’s troubling to say the least. Ohio State is one of the most prestigious and successful programs in the country, but Tressel continues to get less out of the program than he should. There is no reason to continue to make the same mistakes each year and until something changes, you’re going to see the same results.
Could it be worse? Absolutely. I’m very happy that the program is as good as it is and that we’ve completely dominated the Big 10 in the Tressel era. But I’m almost equally disappointed that we’ve squandered countless opportunities at National Championships because of the same correctable mistakes each year.