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Paul Peterson

Arrogance did in The Ohio State

June 7, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

While most sports fans in Michigan are not shedding any tears about the current demise of the Ohio State football program, it should be noted that the same thing very well could have happened in Ann Arbor if Rich Rodriguez had stayed around.

Rich Rod (the nickname given him by the media) had already shown during his tenure at West Virginia that he wasn't beyond stretching the rules for the benefit of his team. The minor infractions imposed by the NCAA on the school after he left for the Michigan coaching job gave a broad hint of that.

Plain and simple, the Buckeyes were done in by their own arrogance.

You really have to understand what football means in the state of Ohio to fully digest that.

During a tour in the Army in the late 1960s, there was an avid OSU fan in my company. He bragged incessantly about the team and its then legendary coach Woody Hayes.

But when Michigan ended Ohio State's unbeaten season in 1969 with an improbable upset, he was inconsolable.

Ohio State fans had come to expect unfettered success under Hayes, who ruled with the iron fist of a dictator for decades. When failure finally arrived - as it did in the 1978 Gator Bowl - Hayes lashed out at a Clemson player in frustration and ultimately lost his job.

The same thing happened to deposed Buckeyes' skipper Jim Tressel, although he wasn't close to Hayes in disposition.

But Tressel was taken in by the Ohio State football mystique.

He came to believe ... that by simply ignoring violations ... by some key members of his team, the problem would go away.

The violations committed by Southern Cal football players a few years ago were much more flagrant than Ohio State's, and the Trojans eventually paid the price.

But you would have to be extremely naive to believe that similar things aren't going on at other football factories all around the country.

You can't convince me that violations aren't being committed at such schools as Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, LSU, Oklahoma, etc.

Big college sports, and that includes basketball, translates out to big money.

The NCAA is fully well aware of that. You can bet that august organization could find similar violations at just about any major college football and basketball program if it looked hard enough.

It just happened that Ohio State's arrogance, which was typified by star quarterback Terrelle Pryor's actions, was too hard to ignore in the long run.

Will anything change because of the mess at Ohio State? Not likely as long as the revenues continue to pour in.



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