Last week we once again discovered that Ohio State is the Mos Eisley Cantina that detractors have always said it is, as the dread pirate Gene Smith and E"vil" Gordon Gee admitted to the NCAA that 46 secondary violations had taken place across 21 different sports. That's a lot of violations, and certainly not what we've come to expect from the fine, upstanding institutions associated with the heartland. What would our mothers say about this? For shame.
Still, the most important part of making mistakes is learning from them. Ohio State could just go on and keep being the same ol' troublemakers that we've always been, OR, having done a fair bit of corn and gumption fueled introspection, we could change ourselves for the better. Transform our collective grandma-shaming Goofuses into graduate-level Gallants, so to speak.
So that's why today I'd like to use real, actual examples from the 300+ page document that explained in excruciating detail the egregious wrongs committed by the Ohio State athletic department, and show you just how all this unpleasantness could've been avoided. Hopefully it'll be a learning experience for us, the fans, and for any coaches or administrators who happen to be reading today.
Because after all: winners never cheat, and cheaters give impermissible benefits to potential recruits including expenses of 61 dollars rather than the 60 that is allowed.
During a lacrosse summer camp, one of the teenaged campers lost their lacrosse stick on their way to lunch and doesn't have one of their own to replace it! Oh no!
Goofus notices the student looking forlorn, and offers a replacement stick to help demonstrate leadership and trust. The student happily accepts the offer, and the camp goes on unimpeded.
But wait! Gallant understands that providing a recruiting-age camper a new stick is a violation of NCAA bylaws 13.2.1 and 18.104.22.168, and correctly denies the camper the equipment needed to participate. To further ensure that there's no potential culpability or possible misinterpretation of the camper/university relationship, Gallant repeatedly tells the camper that he "sucks," "is a giant baby idiot," and continues to taunt and mock him until his mother comes and picks him up. Gallant refrains from hitting on the camper's mother because this is not a Wisconsin football sponsored event.
Before the big game, a football recruit spies a college coach and waves a hearty "Hello!" to him. Uh oh!
Tsk tsk. Gallant sees this and shakes his head, because his headstrong friend has just violated NCAA rules by communicating with a recruit on the day of competition. Instead of making such a horrible breach of NCAA etiquette, Gallant rightly ignores all overtures from recruit and quietly asks the recruit's coach to bench him for the entirety of the game. Later in the parking lot, when the recruit is suffering a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting, Gallant reminds himself of NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124 and puts away his EpiPen as he walks briskly by. Way to avoid possible impermissible contact, Gallant!
During a recruiting visit, a recruit wants to go to a Halloween party, but doesn't have a costume. He doesn't think this is a problem, as he'll just use his allotted entertainment money to buy one. His host athlete is conflicted.
Goofus goes ahead and spends 8 dollars from the entertainment stipend on a cheap costume for the recruit. They go to the party and have fun.
Gallant knows better. Even though he does allow the recruit to use the entertainment stipend to buy the costume, Gallant knows that NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199 allows for covering the cost of entertaining a recruit, but not buying them mementos. Therefore immediately after buying the polystyrene Spongebob costume, Gallant forces the recruit to eat it, counting it as a meal rather than a souvenir. The pair continue on to the party where Gallant makes sure that the recruit has a miserable time, knocking beverages out of his hand and telling every girl that the recruit talks to about said recruit's "stank farts" in the car. The recruit later dies of an intestinal blockage. Well done!
The women's volleyball team is hungry at an away game and there's no meal service. Their coaches are considering giving each player 10 dollars to go out and eat something so they aren't hungry.
Goofus gives each player 10 dollars. The players then buy food, which they then eat. They are no longer hungry.
Gallant, having read NCAA bylaw 16.5.2 (d)(3), understands that money cannot be given in lieu of meals before a game, even if there is no food service. This comforts Gallant as he watches his team of gaunt and spindly-legged volleyball players wince their way through a bus ride. Halfway through the trip Gallant the other coaches leave the players on the bus as they go eat; when they return they then stand in front of the team, rubbing their tummies and loudly proclaiming how those ribs from Applebees were "soooooo good!"
The family of a recruit is unsure how to enter the stadium to watch a scrimmage. They send a text message to a coach, asking how they can get in. Oh brother!
Foolishly, Goofus answers the request by giving brief instructions on how to enter the stadium. The family enters the stadium and watches the scrimmage.
Angrily turning off his phone, Gallant makes sure that not only will he never get another text message about stadium entrances from players' parents, but that he'll never have to interact with anyone outside of NCAA-approved football personalities ever again by throwing his phone into the nearest lake/river. Thank goodness for NCAA bylaw 188.8.131.52! The recruits' family becomes lost, but Gallant and the rest of the universities' employees correctly refrain from any kind of contact not permitted by the NCAA. When the family finally escapes from the drug cartel that kidnapped them as they looked in vain for the stadium entrance, they'll be happy to know that an NCAA-approved e-mail has informed them that they can enter through Gate 15 on the west side of the stadium.
I think we all learned a little something today, especially all of those college sports Goofuses out there. Hopefully in time Ohio State staff and administration will one day learn to suppress those feelings of basic human decency and fairness, and start doing things the NCAA way. Because it's the only way to be!