Was it worth it?

Adios, muchachos. (Photo via Matt Sullivan/Reuters)

Just like that, Terrell Pryor is gone.  (Nothing like releasing the news of your departure through your lawyer.)  And right on the heels of that news came an ESPN story that Pryor made thousands of dollars through the sale of memorabilia.  And even that’s not the topper, according to SPORTSbyBROOKS:

… Midway through the 2010 football season, Talbott was ordered by Ohio State officials to completely disassociate himself from the program. That move by the OSU athletic administration may indicate that members of the school’s athletic department knew of Pryor’s activities involving Talbott long before the NCAA recently discovered the payment paper trail from Talbott to the former Buckeye quarterback.

At this point, Ohio State’s reputation has taken enough of a hit that calling it tarnished would probably be a step up in class. And it’s going to take a while to recover.  As Graham Watson puts it,

… The ESPN story marked a seedy end to a career that never really reached its potential and what’s worse is that Ohio State is left holding the bag. While it’s been speculated that the university might need to clean house after the Tressel firing, this almost certainly seals that.

What’s most unfair (and USC knows this feeling) is that while Pryor continues his career in the NFL or the Canadian league, Ohio State and its future recruiting classes will bear all the weight of his actions. Pryor will go on to make millions somewhere while the university struggles to replace the pieces of what will be an NCAA penalty ravaged football program. And it won’t be quick. Depending on the punishment, Ohio State could be a shell of itself for a decade…

Which leads me to ask Georgia fans the perennial water cooler question – would you trade places?  It’s a pretty good comparison.  Both schools were faced with a similar problem, although Ohio State’s was certainly larger in scope.  And at this point, both star players have elected to leave their schools for professional careers.

Georgia and A.J. Green stepped up, told the truth from the beginning and were rewarded for their efforts with a season to forget.  Knowing what you know now about Ohio State’s likely fate, would you be happier if the Dawgs had followed Tressel’s path, hidden the truth and taken the short-term rewards (12-1 season and a BCS game victory)?  Or would you need even better results to live with the aftermath of decisions by a head coach and star player to ignore the rules?


UPDATE:  Michael Elkon asks a good question.

… We are coming off of a season in which several teams lost key players because of suspensions for improper benefits.  Ohio State’s head coach (and arguably their compliance department, which seems unable to find evidence of wrongdoing despite media outlets finding stories like candies tumbling out of a piñata) ignored evidence of similar violations on the part of his players.  Doesn’t the NCAA have to reward schools like Georgia and North Carolina for being proactive in dealing with improper benefits by showing that the alternative is significantly worse?


Filed under Big Ten Football, Georgia Football

43 responses to “Was it worth it?

  1. heyberto

    As upset as I was over his suspension being four games over that kind of infraction… yeah I’m happy it worked out like it did.

  2. Rusdawg

    Honestly, if the administration knew about all these things I will only be happy if they get the “death penalty” or something close to it.

    We lost a season for doing the right thing. They need to lose at least one season from having any scholarships if the administration was compliant in these shenanigans.

    • Normaltown Mike

      It’s fair to say that we (and others) lost more than that.
      -Lloyd Carr lost his job.
      -the U lost a BCS game
      -We lost the opportunity to play in a BCS game
      -Michigan lost the opportunity to play in a BCS game

      Without the Vested One and his shenanigans, would tOSU have catapulted to the top of the Big #? They were to Michigan what we were to Flarduh in the 90’s. Then they miraculously start beating UM like a rented mule? And this occurs immediately after tOSU hires a guy that arranged cars for players at Youngstown State! Think about that, Tressell was sketch at a f’ing 1-AA school. Say what you will about CPJ, I’ve never heard him accused of cheating to win while he was in Statesboro.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Commenting first on the Tressell situation and how it affected the outcome of games in the 2000’s to tOSU’s benefit, the bastard is a crook, the administration either knew or should have known that he was a crook and tOSU should rightfully get the death penalty–but they won’t. The fact that they won’t ratifies what they did. I gurandamntee you that there are plenty of former tOSU players and current alums and fans would gladly trade a few upcoming years of mediocrity because of the loss of a few scholarships for that BCS National Championship and all the Big 10 Championships they got because of that cheatin’ asshole. This is what the NCAA doesn’t understand. There is a saying in criminal law: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” By not making the punishment severe enough the NCAA actually ENCOURAGES bad conduct. If ever a program deserved the death penalty it would be Auburn but look at what happened to them–nothing but a BCS National Championship. Even if down the line they lose some schollys so what–it already has paid off for them. You ask what my legal advice looking back would have been to AJ Green and UGA? Let the investigators talk to AJ in a deposition-type environment (with everything being taken down by a court reporter) and ask him anything they wanted to ask about that party in Miami that he didn’t attend. As soon as they started asking about anything else I would have objected and instructed him not to answer any questions that were outside the scope of the Miami party investigation. If the NCAA didn’t like that–f#ck ’em. Try to suspend AJ from any games because , on advice of counsel, he refused to answer questions asked without probable cause in a fishing expedition.See you NCAA guys at the courthouse. Can you spell TRO and Permanent Injunction? The history of that worthless piece of sh!t organization (since SMU) is they only do bad stuff to people that confess. If you give ’em a rope they will hang you. Don’t give ’em any rope.

  3. Murph Dawg

    I still think that the penalty didn’t fit the crime with AJ and the selective enforcement was BS. The fact remains that had an outside organization not completed the invetigative legwork none of this would be going down right now. The NCAA came looking for dirt with AJ and gave him what I still believe was a harsh suspension when other more egrigious violations were ignored.

    Until I see Ohio State vacating the Sugar Bowl win and true investigation into some of the other major infractions of late, I still say that the NCAA has no credibility. Although the treatment of AJ was unfair I am still happier having a program that is honest and is treated unfairly than one that is so corrupt as to be facing a death penalty situation.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I feel your pain MD. The NCAA has consistently played favorites and has been a bad steward of intercollegiate athletics generally. IMHO the Big 6 conferences ought to all get together and form a new organization and all of their member universities leave the NCAA together. That would leave the NCAA with its pissant D-IA conferences plus its D-IAA, D-II and D-III conferences, making the NCAA functionally the same as the NAIA (meaning totally unimportant). Let’s just see if the WWL and pals want to show Georgia Southern play Furman on TV. I’m betting “no.” Within a year any good teams left (Boise State, Nevada, etc.) would be clamoring to quit the NCAA and begging to join the new organization. 2 years down the line the NCAA would be nothing but a black hole.

  4. TennesseeDawg

    Good gosh, and people think Auburn is corrupt. OSU is a house on fire but don’t tell Buckeye fans because it’s all a conspiracy concocted by someone else.

    • DawgnAub

      Yes TD, and I’m people.

      In answer to your ? Senator, I guess yeah, I’m jealous of Auburn and the success they have that I completely believe will still land them receiving more discipline at some point. I’d think I’d consider that strongly.

      12-1 and a Sugar Bowl win? No, that wasn’t worth what’s coming to tOSU.

  5. TNlogdawg

    I agree that tOSU will get slammed by the NCAA but they will not get the death penalty. Go back and watch ESPN’s 30 for 30 the Pony Excess and see what SMU did over and over and over again to get handed the death penalty. I think tOSU is looking at 3-5 year bowl ban, 30-50 scollies lost over 3-7 years and season(s) vacated but not the death penalty.

    Would I trade places with tOSU….hell no! Would I trade places with auburn…hell yes!

    • mwo

      No way would I trade with Auburn-knowing what I think I know. I wouldn’t want to wake up every morning wondering if today was the day the other shoe would drop and the truth would come out. I don’t believe anyone really believes Auburn’s MNC is legitimate and will still be in their possession in 10 or 15 years. If anyone does believe differently they are deluding themselves. O.J. was innocent, and Tupac is alive and well living with Elvis in Monroe.

      • Really? I think 99.9% of people think Auburn’s MNC is legitimate.

        Very few people know enough details to think otherwise, and as the years roll on, even less people will know.

    • crap sandwich

      Trade places with Auburn? Let’s see if you feel that same way about Auburn’s season when the hammer comes down. Something tells me though you enjoy the winning at all costs philosophy. Remind me never to play Golf with you.

      • TNlogdawg

        The difference between tOSU and auburn is that auburn knows how to hide it. Nothing is ever going to happen to auburn, NOTHING! Am I win at all cost no but am sick and tired of watching my SEC brethren winning the MNC! As far as my golf game goes…it ain’t nothing for me to pull a Tonya Harding to get up a few strokes on ya!😉

  6. Jim

    There is no doubt we did the right thing and what we should have done once the situation came to light. I wish AJ had never sold the jersey in the first place but i digress…

  7. Jaybird

    By the way my Dawg friends, my illegitimate National Champion Auburn Tigers are visiting our illegitimate Kenyan born President today at the White House. I ‘m now about to leave my home in Destin and drive to Auburn to hang a 2004 NC Banner on Jordan Hare Stadium right next to the 2010…. I love this a great country …War Damn Eagle.

    • mwo

      Use velcro- and hang it next to Bowden’s national radio champion banner.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Well don’t do anything illegitimate on the way.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      I wouldn’t get too cocky, your banners may end up having the same lifespan as tOSU’s recent Sugar Bowl banner.

    • I ‘m now about to leave my home in Destin and drive to Auburn to hang a 2004 NC Banner…

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember this Auburn you speak of winning any NC in 2004. Delusions of grandeur, I suppose. I saw a USC team obliterate an Oklahoma team and that’s all I remember. It doesn’t matter that they played the best player in the country illegally. Nope, not at all. They won it on the field and have the T-shirts and memories to prove it. NCAA scandals be damned.

      /See what I did there? I used the Auburn defense for the potentially vacated 2010 championship.

      • The Original Cynical in Athens

        Let’s also not forget that Troy Reddick and Stanley McClover have also admitted to taking thousands of dollars in cash to play at Auburn in 2004. So, if Auburn had actually won anything that year the NCAA would probably have stripped them of that as well. Maybe they will just claim that season moot once they get done burning down the faux 2010 season?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Well the Barners did win 13 games and the SEC Championship that year. How about them vacating all those wins and giving back the SEC Championship trophy?

    • Go Dawgs!

      Jay, I’ve already sent the 2004 BCS Championship banner to Oklahoma. Considering that Auburn knew they had to make a statement in the Sugar Bowl in order to get any AP votes and instead nearly lost to Virginia Tech, winning by a field goal, I’ll give the edge to the OU team that murdered all but two opponents that year. They played close games against Texas A&M and OK State, and the USC game apparently never happened (though they did get their asses kicked, but so did Auburn the two previous years by USC).

      So, Boomer Sooner!

      • Jaybird

        You are correct..the “Tubershell” struck that night with a 16-3 lead. As far as that season went, AU had 1 close game that year, (LSU)…no other game on the schedule was close…and that AU team played one of the most difficult schedules in the nation that year. AU barely lost to USC out in LA with Petrino as the OC in ’02, and was blown out in Auburn in ’03 with UGA Hugh Nall trying to call plays…things changed drasticly in ’04 when Hugh went back to the o-line, and Al Borges came in to run the offense. That ’04 team was light years from that ’03 team that USC manhandled…Auburns’ 04 defense was nasty mean, and the O could do it all.

        My original post was just to pull y’alls chains…I don’t want to become like the bammers and claim bogus NC’s in a retroactive way. ’57 and 2010 is good enough for Jbird.

        • The Original Cynical in Athens

          Auburn was on probation in ’57. Always cheaters. Always.

        • Go Dawgs!

          The only point I’ll disagree on is where you try to claim the nation’s toughest schedule in 2004. A big reason why you didn’t get into the game that year was that Auburn scheduled pillowfights in the nonconference. Louisiana-Monroe, The Citadel, and Louisiana Tech aren’t going to impress anyone. You did pull UGA and UT out of the east, but you also pulled Kentucky at home.

          And, Alabama was close, too. 8 points is technically within a single touchdown. Great team that year, but there’s also no denying that Southern Cal was a great team that year, so I don’t necessarily hold the fact that they slaughtered Oklahoma against the Sooners. Auburn-Oklahoma for the title could have been fun to watch. Maybe someone can talk Gatorade into sponsoring one of those “settling the score” deals where they can get everyone from those teams together and play it in the Orange Bowl. If they can negotiate the appearance fee for McClover and Reddick, that is.

          • JayBird

            Not THE toughest..one of the toughest..AU beat 5 top 15 teams that year…That schedule wound up as the fifth toughest in the nation. That team was damn good, especially on D…8 starters on D went on to the NFL, and the team had 4 1st round draft picks…Rogers, Campbell, Williams, and Ronnie Brown.

  8. The Original Cynical in Athens

    If the NCAA is going to do anything besides window dressing, they need to start hitting schools where it hurts.

    What should now happen is that Ohio St and the Big 10 should have to REPAY the money that they made from the faux bowl trip.

    USC and the Pac 10 should have to pay back the money that they made from their trips to BCS bowls while Bush was ineligible.

    Until the NCAA starts really, truly getting into the wallets of the schools, they are going to continue to cheat. It’s pretty simple.

    • SSB Charley

      I would suggest that cutting schools out from their conference revenue sharing arrangements, or making them play home games without any fans in the seats, would be better penalties than cutting back on bowl revenue. I think FIFA or UEFA made some European soccer team play several games in an empty stadium as punishment for a violation of some rule. I’d like to see the NCAA do that.

    • Stoopnagle

      Instead, they will just keep punishing the teams left behind…

  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    It’s pretty obvious the long term consequences are going to be harder on Ohio State, so the over-punishment for the A.J. Green thing still doesn’t make me wish we had taken the deceit path, even if Auburn skates.

    Other thoughts:
    On the one hand, this means the NCAA will have less time to spend on Auburn, and Cecil and Cam. On the other hand, this means the NCAA will have less time to spend on Auburn, and Cecil and Cam.
    I wonder what is the total value of goods, services, and money that changed hands improperly, that will send a proud, historic (slightly over rated) football program down the tubes for years to come? I bet it’s in the low six figures at most.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      In response to Michael Elkon’s question: nah, no reward is justified. If you’re going to do things right, go all the way to the Bobby Jones theory: “If you praise me for calling a penalty stroke on myself, why don’t you praise men for not robbing banks.” Just doing what you’re supposed to.

      Naive? Hell yea, but Elkon brought up a point of honor.

  10. Daryl

    The crappy part of all of this is that the ncaa hasn’t discovered any of this, espn did.

    • Go Dawgs!

      That’s actually not true. Yahoo! Sports and Sports Illustrated discovered all of it. ESPN has been trailing closely behind in their reporting, though I’m sure their contracts with the BCS and the Big Ten have nothing to do with that.

  11. Cojones

    Everyone seems to miss the best point to the question. What do you think it is worth to those people paying and giving wholesale favors to these athletes and the program. All the autographs from Pryor, players and Tressel aren’t worth pigeon s**t.

  12. SemperFiDawg

    “Talbott was ordered by Ohio State officials to completely disassociate himself from That move by the OSU athletic administration may indicate that members of the school’s athletic department knew of Pryor’s activities involving Talbott long before the NCAA recently discovered the payment paper trail from Talbott to the former Buckeye quarterback.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but if this is the case and others in the athletic administration knew something was going on, then this seems to point to an systemic problem and not just a bad decision by a lone head coach. In other words Tressel wasn’t alone in his denial of having any prior knowledge. Are we creeping closer to “loss of institutional control” with this disclosure? I have a feeling Gee and Smith both are going to implicated before this is over with.

  13. BMan

    So do you all think it was closer to $20K or $40K? And what was the value on all those free car loaners? The IRS may be interested.

    How much will TP’s agent need to front him to pay those tax penalties? And with the labor deal unsettled in the NFL, when is TP going to have the money to pay him back?

  14. fuelk2

    To make this system work, tOSU will absolutely have to feel some pain worse than what was felt by the UGA program. And I remember that being pretty painful.

    It’s always pissed me off knowing that no matter what happens to Auburn (if anything) in the future, their fans will always have their ill-gotten enjoyment from last year. The NCAA needs to make sure that it’s in no way worth it at the end of the day.

  15. Cojones

    Smith couldn’t do anything without EGG (Elwood Gordon Gee) on his face. What a bunch of insincere, hypocritical politicians gathered under one roof that looks like it is caving in

    What are you making of Colt McCoy’s wife’s statements concerning small favors ,etc. Some are pray…I mean saying that the NCAA will investigate and predicting a big grabbag of offenses at Texas. I hope they don’t because it would then mean all teams and fans thereof will become more nervous than a freshly f**ked fox in a forest fire.

    • Stoopnagle

      If you haven’t checked out the post on Barking Carnival by the former walk-on describing the compliance process at Texas, check it out.

      The bottom line is that athletes at all the big boys are getting extra benefits and it can’t be stopped; but you have to make an effort. If that guy’s post is accurate, Texas won’t get in trouble for players taking this or that since they’re practicing what appears to be highly intrusive compliance techniques with their athletes.

      Or, the dude could be totally blowing smoke.

  16. Stoopnagle

    Yes, Georgia did right in the A.J. Green situation. Although, if I were A.J., I wouldn’t have given them my bank records unless they had a subpoena. That’s just me, though.

    Would I trade UGA’s integrity for 12-1 and a Sugar Bowl? Given that we got that in ’07 with our pride intact, no. Make that a “hell, no.” And I wouldn’t trade integrity for a national title, either. If we can’t win one by doing right by recruits and athletes, avoiding shennanigans like selling rings on e-bay or firing off AKs in parking lots, or general dick-ish-ness; then I’m not especially interested. So I wouldn’t trade places with tOSU or USC at this point.

    I mean, if we suspended our best player for four games for selling one jersey for $1,000; tOSU is in line for a big penalty. I would be shocked if this kind of systematic disregard of the rules with the tacit approval of the head coach doesn’t result in vacating all wins in which any of the included players participated and at least a one year bowl ban with some sort of scholarship reduction similar to USC.

    Put it like this: they don’t have any proof that Pete Carrol knew Bush was receiving benefits; they have a smoking gun on Tressel. If it’s not the same as SC’s…

  17. Chadwick

    I’m sure Joe Pa and the folks at Penn State are laughing their asses off. They dodged a bullet by not signing Pryor. There were all kinds of rumour and innuendo when his recruitment drug on and OSU popped up as a last minute player for his, er…services.

    Damn, the whole ivory tower at OSU was in on this scam.