The Evolution: A College Football Media Progress Report

By Ramzy Nasrallah on September 18, 2013 at 11:20a

This is what mandatory remorse looks like. It hasn't happened in college football for awhile.

That's DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Boom Herron and Terrelle Pryor when they were marched out in December of 2010 to apologize for trading their possessions for discounted tattoos and petty cash, which of course was a tacit capitalization on their likenesses and an overt violation of amateurism.

Once their caper was discovered, they were universally lampooned for breaking NCAA rules. Ohio State, the Sugar Bowl and the NCAA also took their lumps for agreeing to communicate the five-game sentences of the guilty to the following season. Jim Tressel's prior knowledge of their actions was not yet publicly known.

An apology for their actions was demanded, and Ohio State delivered.

Last week Yahoo! Sports published a paper trail linking Alabama tackle DJ Fluker to almost $34,000 in expenditures to agents and financial advisers while he was still in college. Total value of improper benefits for the players involved in Tatgate was less than half of what Fluker alone received.

Surely he was the only one at Alabama. Agents and financial advisors were otherwise shunned by the rest of the Crimson Tide.

Yahoo published the report along with an accompanying story that ridiculed not Fluker for brazenly violating amateurism, but amateurism itself. The headline in USA Today the following day was "DJ Fluker should have been paid by Alabama."

The Tatgate guys? Back in 2010 most sportswriters didn't challenge the NCAA rules they had broken. They were way to busy arguing if the forced apology was genuine enough while calling them knuckleheads for selling...their stuff.

USA Today argued Alabama should have paid Fluker from the outset, since Alabama football makes a lot of money and Fluker was a key part of the success. Alabama athletics generated almost $125MM for the university last year. It's a valid argument.

But Ohio State athletics earned that much back in 2010 when Tatgate occurred (and $142MM more last year). College football generates billions. This is not new information. Why the sudden change in "scandal" coverage?

You might call it a double standard, flip-flopping or bias. We're going to call it an evolution, since fake outrage over fake outrage would be, eh, ironic.

What we found when looking at the Greggugugugug Doyels of the world was that there have been two evolutions, in parallel: One in how we view NCAA violations and another in how closely we scrutinize scandal coverage and information.

We seem to have finally found religion regarding the former: In December 2010 when Pryor and his buddies were nabbed, every coffee house and frozen yogurt shop in Columbus sold (his) Ohio State #2 jersey, but people were too busy expressing shock that he willingly gave up trophies and rings which were clearly only chotchkies to him.

Recently Sports Illustrated ran a story on the NCAA's hypocrisy in profiting off of Johnny Manziel's #2 jersey. Just swap out the names and that story could have been written years ago. But it wasn't.

Here's a look at who else has evolved since Tatgate went down. Not included: Sports Illustrated master investigator Thayer Evans, who wrote how then-college junior Pryor was only motivated by "sex, money and power." Geez, imagine if all men were like that!


We took a look back at the media nightmare that began with Tatgate's revelation in December that eventually accelerated with Ohio State investigators discovering Tressel knew about it. We found that one person fed the beast more than any other single entity.

From start to finish, Brooks Melchior whipped the public into a frenzy with hearsay and rumors he was hearing. Melchior's site (deliberately not linked here) has been inactive for quite some time, as he has apparently decided to get out of the fake news-breaking business. 

The sample tweet above in emblematic of his contribution to Ohio State scandal coverage. That's the nutshell, if nutshells contained only poop.

EVOLUTION: For all we know, Melchior is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean with bin Laden. Brooks hasn't been heard of for quite some time, but you're about to see just how effective he was in shaping the narrative for Tatgate.


Wetzel wrote Yahoo's accompanying piece to its Fluker (SEC, really) investigation saying that nothing punitive would come from it. He is about as credible of a scribe in covering college sports as there is today.

Best-selling author Dan Wetzel.

He has not deviated from his position that the NCAA is a corrupt organization and that the myth of amateurism is exactly that. But in the wake of Tatgate, Wetzel was one of many who were swept up by Melchior's reporting.

Melchior ran a story detailing how Pryor was paid tens of thousands in cash from a credentialed - yet broke (?) - photographer named Dennis Talbott. That was reliable enough information for Wetzel, who put his stamp of credibility on it by concluding that Ohio State's scandal was worse than Southern California's:

The website SportsByBrooks reported that the NCAA enforcement staff has discovered “dozens of payments Pryor received in past years from a Columbus sports memorabilia dealer. … the NCAA violations were discovered when the name of the local memorabilia dealer, Dennis Talbott, was seen on checks Pryor was depositing in his personal bank account.”

NCAA enforcement staff had found no such thing. But pretend Wetzel doesn't know yet that Melchior's story is a fabrication - and remember that Tressel covering up violations he already believes (and published a book about) are arcane is being shaped into one of the most hideous scandals in the history of amateur athletics.

Wetzel tried to talk himself out of writing the column, in his column:

If there are deposited checks from a memorabilia dealer in Pryor’s account, then the school should have found them in December. There is simply no excuse for not uncovering them.

Correct. There is no excuse for not uncovering them, because schools have visibility to their players' bank account activity. Wetzel is an expert in this area, so clearly he was swept up by the energy behind Tatgate coverage because the checks could not have gone unnoticed.

NCAA investigators made no mention of those checks or Talbott in their final judgment. All of the stories about them, like Wetzel's, sourced Melchior - and then came to conclusions based on his information.

As for Wetzel, he was changed by the importance of obtaining actual evidence before passing judgment based on rumors. On Fluker and Alabama:


The NCAA won't be able to get enough people to talk. They won't be able to access the paper trail. It's possible they won't even muster much of an effort.

Wetzel owned up while Melchior disappeared. You might say they both evolved.

Regardless, Wetzel has been on point about the NCAA, amateurism and the bowl system since jump street. Nobody is perfect.


We're OSU homers, but we've always understood that the violations Ohio State's players committed were absolutely petty while the real crime was Tressel's subsequent cover-up. That's not difficult to understand.

Once the story accelerated, ESPN gave the Tressel angle the full coverage it deserved. Then suddenly, Tressel was gone.

But the show had to go on, so seizing upon Melchior's information ESPN sent its Outside the Lines crew to Columbus to tail Talbott around town - to Kroger, to his office, even to his daughter's soccer practice.

Talbott, walking. (Photo credit: ESPN OTL crew tailing him)

ESPN ran a story all about him. Then they ran a story about the story. Then they ran a story about the story about the story.

ESPN media echo chamber: Engaged. Talbott's name appeared on television along ESPN's crawl for days and was batted around all of the radio affiliates. His friends and family called him about it (even I called him about it). 

Once his name failed to appear in the NCAA's final judgment, ESPN called him to apologize, albeit privately. Talbott is still forced to explain what happened whenever it comes up, and all of the stories about him are still on the Internet.

Well, almost all of the stories - ESPN did take one of them down: It's the one where they followed Talbott around town with a camera while he ran errands. That regrettable content is now unavailable. A screenshot from that tape is above.

EVOLUTION: ESPN is aggressively chasing discrepancies in Sports Illustrated's widely-panned shame piece on Oklahoma State. Evidence is important, and while amateurism is an outdated concept in modern college football, being amateurish is still regarded as an awkward rite of passage for teenagers. (We also get that ESPN may be more interested in page views and/or shaming a competitor, but the intent is unimportant).

The media giant has also broached the amateurism question head-on. Good for you, Bristol. For once. #EMBRACEDEBATE


We checked in with the Alabama media and we weren't disappointed at all.

Kevin Scarbinsky on Tatgate in December 2010 (pre-Tressel knowledge):

If any compliance office in America should've been educating its football players about the evils of extra benefits, it was Ohio State's...If true, this case goes beyond an eligibility issue and becomes a question of institutional culpability.

Delany should worry about that message, but he may have other things on his mind. His flagship football program is headed for that Sugar Bowl meeting next Tuesday with Arkansas. Given Ohio State's 0-9 bowl record against the SEC, it's likely that the Buckeyes are about to get tattooed for free.

Harsh. Scarbinsky on Fluker last week:

It’s a long way from a well-documented piece of investigative journalism to an NCAA investigation, hearing and ruling, let alone a BCS decision to strip a school of a crystal football.

Reminder: Alabama football was nailed for major NCAA violations in 1995, 2002 and 2009 and currently has its repeat-offender window wide open.

"If any compliance office in America should've been educating its football players about the evils of extra benefits, it was Ohio State's" coming from an Alabama writer is on par with Gordon Gee's "I just hope (Tressel) doesn't fire me" for comedic value. Somehow this flew under the radar.

We just wish America could appreciate it as much as we did. Roll Tide.



In lieu of telling you how plastic, conflated and consistently lame Forde is, let's just take a look at "before" and "evolution."

On Ohio State players selling their belongings for cash:

But a full scholarship and all the perks that come with being a football star at Ohio State are no small advantages on a college campus. I'm fairly certain there are others in Columbus making do with far less.

The bottom line is this: These players slapped Ohio State tradition in the face, for a profit.

For a profit. How dare they sell stuff that belongs to them. Forde wholly subscribed to the flat-earth sanctity of NCAA rules for amateurism in college football, in 2010.

Now 2013, here's Forde on the evidence that Fluker was tied to tens of thousands in improper benefits :

The increasing amount of public fatigue with college athletic scandals indicates that most fans don't care nearly as much what happens off the field as what happens on Saturdays. Their level of concern with what goes on behind the scenes only spikes when there is the specter of significant penalties.

EVOLUTION: Forde has shifted his outrage from the player(s) to you people who just don't care enough anymore. One of the chief shit-stirrers of college football scandals is citing "scandal fatigue" as the culprit.

This is where you should begin to hear Inception sounds.


Speaking of shit-stirrers and purveyors of fake outrage, let's look back fondly upon Dennis Dodd's measured response to the damning Tressel component of Tatgate.

Here he was at Luke Fickell's introductory press conference showing concern for the young interim head coach's safety and well-being:

Remember, Tressel is basically Jerry Sandusky - but instead of serially raping little boys, he was lying to the NCAA about what his players had done with their jerseys and stuff.

Enforcement, Engagement, whatever. Same thing.

Tressel's final regular Ohio State paycheck was 1.5% of his voided 2011 base salary and .003% of what he had been guaranteed to make through his contract. It was the worst golden parachute ever.

Throughout his tireless reporting Dodd never questioned or challenged the NCAA rules that Tressel failed to report. He was singularly-focused on culling as much fake outrage as possible.

Until last week:

I've got scandal fatigue.

Not you, Dennis. NAWT YOU.

"Hey, look, Bama got pulled over." We know the "what." Players sometimes get paid under the table, cheat on tests and have sex with coeds.

Not even sure what this means. Probably has something to do with golden parachutes.

EVOLUTION: Tatgate obviously aged Dodd considerably. He can't even fake the fake outrage anymore, and that's a positive indicator for anyone tired of this stupid genre.


Before the Fake Buckeye was "run out of town" he said the following about Ohio State on a live ESPN broadcast:

"I think Mark May said it best when he talked about the culture of corruption at Ohio State."

[the sound of roaring laughter coming from the southeast]

He also said Pryor's dismissal from Ohio State football was "addition by subtraction" - knowing that Joe Bauserman would step in for him without any sort of drop-off in quarterback play - and that the Buckeyes needed to stop recruiting players like Pryor.

Pryor bad. Manziel good. OSU bad. Bama fast.

Before he was a selfish cancer and a scapegoat, Pryor was Ohio State's best player and the MVP of a Rose Bowl win over Oregon and a Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas. Herbstreit predicted the Buckeyes to lose the latter game, then moved them down three spots for winning in his final AP ballot.

So it would appear that Pryor was pretty good - perhaps worth recruiting, even - especially if we're no longer outraged by immensely popular college football players getting a minuscule sliver of the action.

Herbie has also said and done a bunch of other dumb things that aren't relevant to his evolution but we don't want to skip the opportunity to remind you that his mouth has more sides than a dodecagon. Look it up.

EVOLUTION: Watching Herbstreit gush over Manziel on ESPN Gameday this season makes you wonder if maybe difference-makers like the Pryors of the world - in the current climate - are now worth the trouble.

We don't expect to see any more forced apologies from players caught modestly capitalizing on their collegiate celebrity. We also aren't waiting for any sportswriters to admit to having gone completely overboard with fake outrage over what Ohio State's players did in 2010.

What we do hope to see is a continued evolution toward embracing the reality that college football in the era of multi-billion dollar contracts can't be governed by the principles of amateurism from 1950, and that when players are nabbed breaking those arcane rules, they're less violations of amateurism than they are the inevitable leaks of a corrupt and wholly inequitable enterprise.

The alternative is to take the side occupied by self-celebrating curmudgeons like Forde. It's your call.

Jason Priestas contributed to this report.




jthiel09's picture

Great article Ramzy ... you never disappoint. 


braxonbraxonbrax's picture

another amazing piece. it's crazy to see how some members of the national media have really flipped their stance since TatGate. I don't understand how some of those people can keep their jobs.

Alice in Aggieland's picture

The above is precisely why I am SO ANGRY about the current climate of public opinion toward NCAA violations. "Eh, the NCAA is totally corrupt, and we should be paying players anyway, so let's ignore guys who break the rules because the rules suck." Guess what: The rules sucked three years ago, but nobody gave a shit about that then.

Buckeye_Ryan's picture

I didn't even really need to look at the author when I finished reading this - I could tell by reading it that it was the work of Ramzy. Great work as usual sir, you are a rock star. As for the article content itself, it still blows my mind the amount of publicity the TatGate scandal received - especially when comparing it to current and recent scandals around the US. 
As a lifelong OSU fan, the biggest thing that bothered me with TatGate was selling memorabilia that as an OSU fan I find to be of the greatest sentimental/historical value.
Example: if I was fortunate enough to have played for the Buckeyes, and if I had been a part of a team that beat ttun, never in a million years would I sell my gold pants. I suppose it's unreasonable to expect the same type of loyalty from the players, as many of them aren't lifelong Buckeye fans and don't perhaps care as much about a trinket - but that was what bothered me the most. Selling stuff that by all accounts is "their stuff", who the hell cares - if they sold an old iPod on eBay would it matter? No.

Born a Buckeye, raised a Buckeye, will die a Buckeye.

mh277907's picture

You deserve a medal for this, Ramzy. I wish I could read this story from the side of a mountain top for all to hear.


bucked up's picture

Ramzy just jackknife power bombed/spray-painted "N.W.O" all over national pundits. This is better than porn

AJW_16's picture

Very intriguing and well-written piece. In the end, however, it's not all that surprising. The commentariat does not so much think for themselves as they reflect common narratives in their pieces. As more and more fans become skeptical of NCAA amateurism, it only makes sense that more and more pundits become more vocal about their "newfound" scandal fatigue. Kudos to Wetzel for holding this position before it was popular (although his reasoning in the OSU case is asinine at best).
And yes, I don't think there has ever been a lamer columnist than Pat Forde. I don't know if the man has ever had an original thought ever.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

lax20's picture

ESPN has always been a lacky of the SEC and cannot deal with the B1G network having resounding success.  As we all know, there are so many Buckeye haters that fall for such media BS.  As for Herbstreit, he was a silver spoon kid that was a second rate quarterback at OSU and now a punk media a$$hole for ESPN.  Thank you Buckeye faithfulls for driving this piece of $hit out of the state of Ohio.

CincyOSU's picture

You can tell you are a really classy individual.

johnblairgobucks's picture

You can tell, you probably work for espn.

CincyOSU's picture

Hey what do you know, another lame joke from the club president. You guys should look for some new material. 

CALPOPPY's picture

"That's the nutshell, if nutshells contained only poop."
I might use this in the future.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

jedkat's picture

If we were going by the general story arc shouldn't ESPN and most media outlets be on sanctions? I mean they're amateurs at what they do, but they get paid for it right? Any way this can be enforced?
Can we get them all show-cause?

"I was tired of trying to work my way around the back, so I just ran him over"

~ Joey Bosa

OSU2002Grad's picture

Herbstreit is a company man. I couldn't care less what he says about Ohio State anymore. I have Ohio State-hate fatigue.
We've graciously consumed every last morsel of Mark May incompetence and Mark Schlabach ignorance to the point where, at long last, I'm full. I'd rather just watch the game. The commentary from the analysts who are (no longer secretly) paid to be controversial (as opposed to provocative) is tired to me.

Ohio1St81's picture

Well said - this is a perfectly stated sentiment. My tipping point, and the last time I cared about anything anyone said or wrote negatively about Ohio State, was the ESPN lawsuit for information that was ultimately thrown out by the Ohio Supreme Court. It was this, and not any TV personalities' manufactured opinions and outrage, that shapes my negative view of ESPN today.
I'd like to say I have stopped getting worked up over such criticisms, but one thing that still riles me up is attacks on the University itself, as opposed to the football team, such as the San Francisco Chronicle article from the other day (Cal wins at life, OSU wins at paying players and allowing Neanderthals to attend college). I may be tired of that, but I'll never be able to ignore it. 

D-Day0043's picture

Bad teams have to make statements like that so they can feel good about themselves. If they are so smart then they should be able to figure out a way to win.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

jccavanaugh's picture

Yeah, I blame Herbie only a little for his OSU-hate. I blame ESPN for most of it. He works for a company where it's the party line, and who doesn't toe the line at work?

Mizzillion's picture

Jeez, this is absolutely fantastic!  Ramzy, you're the best.  The. Best.

AndyVance's picture

Yes, the fact that we now accept "scandal fatigue" as an argument toward throwing out the rulebook galls me almost as much as the reality that if we were talking about schools other than those in the SEC (or Oregon and Miami), these same pundits would all still be faking the outrage as always.

toad1204's picture

Or North Carolina

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Somehow the Carolinas(North and South) got passed over with barely any mention.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

AndyVance's picture

Horrible oversight on my part, especially because I find the UNC debacle to be one of the most egregious of all the scandals we're discussing.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I didn't mean by you. I was talking about national media.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

AndyVance's picture

I figured as much, but I realized that I'm guilty, too... It's so easy to get riled up about the SEC stuff because its so blatant and so egregious, that you overlook the other schools caught with their hand in the cookie jar, so to speak, who get away with it.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Well they are close to SEC country, so you can count them as being part of it. lol

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

toad1204's picture

Not your fault Mr. Vance blame the NCAA's recent record of investigation/ enforcement fumbles.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

jedkat's picture

but but but what about Teo's girlfriend?

"I was tired of trying to work my way around the back, so I just ran him over"

~ Joey Bosa

Oyster's picture

One mans chotchkies is another mans flair...


 but we don't want to skip the opportunity to remind you that his mouth has more sides than a dodecagon. Look it up.

Thanks, that made me laugh.
Nice Write up, I have been fuming over how OSU was treated just a few short years ago to how they are reacting (or lack of it) to pretty much the same thing.   I'll get over it quick, but it just amazes me!  I understand that they are worn out after accusing OSU of everything they could think of, but come on, are sports writers this shallow? Yes!

"Woody is a God-fearing man. It's good to know that he's afraid of somebody." --Archie Griffin

Buckeye.383's picture

Totally SPOT on with this write-up! It really is quite amazing to me how the media and all of its trolls have 'evolved' so quickly and become so tired of scandals when the SEC is involved and Ohio State. 
Sure the NCAA rules are probably out of touch and need to be refined, but that's not what they were saying three years ago. There has been a complete 180. Every chance the media had they took a shot at Ohio State during the Tatgate scandal and now it seems those same outlets are defending the (SEC) players and programs every time something comes up. 
It's frustrating that most people, except Buckeye fans, fail to see or recognize the hipocracy that is the media. 

Born, raised, educated, and will die a Buckeye ~ BuckeyeNation

GoBucksToledo's picture

Excellent copy as usual Ramzy, thanks for all you do.

ScoobyKnows's picture

This article needs to be published by every sports magazine and newspaper in the country.  Very nice Ramzy!!!  I for one am outraged by the lack of "fake" outrage from all the media clowns.   Well done sir!  Well Done!!!

LouGroza's picture

Still say if Fluker was a player from last years OSU squad, all of the sensationalistic journalists that went on the attack in the 2010 tatgate fiasco, would again be ready to rip OSUs flesh from bone. As will forever be the case. Running with the popular crowd (SEC) feels just as good as it does for those in that group at twelve years old. Just as trying to bring down the most hated college team (OSU) brings them pats on the back and chuckles among their peers while sitting at the end of the bar. It all comes back to the character of those behind the keyboards getting page views. There is none.

BucksfanXC's picture

It baffles me how you aren't getting paid to write this well. You must be turning down job offers left and right, there is no other explanation.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

ToledoBuckeye's picture

Exactly!  If Ramzy wrote for a newspaper I might think about purchasing a subscription!

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

BTBuckeye's picture

"If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'" - Every SEC fan

daytonbuckeye's picture

And if you get caught, you weren't trying hard enough

DefendOhio's picture

THIS, is why we all come to 11w for coverage. 

Squirrel Master's picture

I try to look on the slightly dim but ever so briliant brightside, OSU is the reason for the current climate for change. If it wasn't for the complete and utter fallout of the tatgage scandal, most of these talking heads would be showing fake outrage over todays scandals instead of growing weary of doing their jobs but expected to actually follow through with their tips as opposed to blatantly write about rumors.
I don't think its scandal fatigue, I think its lazy reporting because now these so called "reporters" are now expected to actually provide proof of their too immediate allegations as opposed to "reporting" the false stories they "heard" about.
They are all hacks unlike you Ramsy, who has proven more than once you get the facts instead of become another lemming!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I met Talbott about a year ago at the MAC Title game and he was truly an awesome guy, we spent the entire evening talking about the scandal, photography, etc. 

Seattle Linga's picture

Kinda reminds me of how Bill Belichick gets caught cheating and then is still considered one great football coach. Is he a motivator - yes - can he prepare his team to play on Sunday - yes - however when you know the other teams plays, it makes your job a lot easier. Media won't bash because they are scared of the backlash.

Maestro's picture

I love it, waiting to be told by several people on the site that "there is no media bias against Ohio State".  Thanks for opening some old wounds in the name of reality RN.

vacuuming sucks

Oyster's picture

I'm enjoying a bowl of Skyline Chili while I wait. 

cinserious's picture

I was going to hit the gym today before work. Now all I can think about is a large 4-way onions, duluxe burrito no s.c., 2 cheese conies with everything and a huge root beer... Its Skyline time!

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

hodge's picture

If Tatgate is 'Bama's problem and Fluker suited up for OSU, do you really think that the outcomes would've been different?
We were in the wrong place at the right time for what we experienced.  Sure, ESPN's lack-of-investment in us might've stirred some of their continued digging, but the real damage was done at the early onset of the scandal when everyone in the media moved in lockstep against us.  I don't think that was because we were Ohio State, it was because we were a major college football program.

Maestro's picture

Actually Hodge I think Ramzy develops a pretty strong case that suggests YES is the answer to your question.  At least for those particular individuals in the media.

vacuuming sucks

hodge's picture

I disagree.  Just because they had venom towards Ohio State doesn't necessarily imply that their actions were driven by bias towards our beloved university.  I think, rather, he was trying to point toward the media's "evolution" from the bile-fueled outrage that they greeted Tatgate with to the more apathetic tone they're taking towards scandals in college football today.
The evolution isn't because these new scandals aren't in Columbus, Ohio; it's because the frequency with which we're uncovering these have shown us that the sport we love so much is largely corrupt.  When the status quo is to skirt the rules and cut corners, it can't be surprising to see that everyone's doing it.  
It's what a lot of us believed when Tatgate first went down: this happens everywhere.  Well, the media (who feed and define public perception) chose to frame Tatgate as a "unique event" to capitalize on a media narrative to drive the college football offseason--and it's easy to see why: the sport was at its peak, and fans didn't understand that reality, so they ate it up.  By now, we've reached total salience with these things--they've lost all sense of novelty because they're so common--and the market's just not as strong for it.
The media drive public perception, but that doesn't matter when they've stopped caring about the subject.

Maestro's picture

I agree that Ramzy is showing the evolution, but I think he is also suggesting that the "evolution" has been convenient for certain media members.

vacuuming sucks

hodge's picture

Now I agree with that wholeheartedly.  I don't think it's necessarily been an evolution borne of deep introspection, per se; rather the realization that their previous modus operandi of feigned outrage would get lost amongst the feigned outrage being generated by the vast swath of collegiate football scandals all vying for airtime.  
It was cool to hate on USC and OSU, now it's cool to accept that this corruption is a given and hate the rules that cause it and the system that fosters it.

Maestro's picture

Always nice chatting with you Hodge.

vacuuming sucks

hodge's picture

Likewise, my friend.  Likewise.

Jack Fu's picture

^ This. Victims of circumstance more than anything. Timing is everything.

Larryp713's picture

I don't see an obvious anti-Ohio State bias, but rather an open need to protect the SEC from the folks at ESPN. They will do anything these days to protect the SEC teams.



skid21's picture

I think it goes beyond the SEC. If Tress or Urban would have paid a scout service and tried to cover their tracks what do you think the media response would have been? The truth is OSU can't do anything wrong without it being a major news story and a call for blood. I'd welcome an example otherwise.

BuckGnome's picture

What we do hope to see is a continued evolution toward embracing the reality that college football in the era of multi-billion dollar contracts can't be governed by the principles of amateurism from 1950, and that when players are nabbed breaking those arcane rules, they're less violations of amateurism than they are the inevitable leaks of a corrupt and wholly inequitable enterprise.

Hovenaut's picture

The Penn State scandal notwithstanding, I think history will look at Tatgate as the final, comprehensive and effective action the NCAA takes upon a major football program. 
Thoroughly enjoyed a look back as some of college football media's most, ahem, respected journalists/analysts and the paradigm shift among them. 
It's great what 11W does for the Buckeye fan...all in the truest sense of professional journalism, isn't it? 
Bravo, Ramzy.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I am not very smart.

Ahh Saturday's picture

I'm no doctor, but I have a feeling that, like smelling salts, just a whiff of a Buckeye scandal would jolt the media out of their "scandal fatigue."

mh277907's picture

Is the downvote troll a fellow 11W staffer angry that we all called Ramzy the best?
I love all 11W equally!!!!


gumtape's picture

The down vote troll must be maestro since he never gets downvoted and you can't vote on your own posts.

I kid. I love maestro.

High and tight boo boo

Earle's picture

I'm pretty sure that if your icon is the Dalai Lama, the karmic repercussions of downvoting anyone are prohibitive.

Just say no to italics abuse.

Oyster's picture

Is that who that is?  I thought it was one of the recurring actors on M*A*S*H...

Maestro's picture

I get some downvotes from time to time.  It happens to us all.  It's all part of the 4 Noble Truths of 11W.
1. Ramzy will make you cry.
2. Denny will make you buy a dictionary.
3. Hodge will make you consider going back to school.
4. You will get downvoted from time to time.

vacuuming sucks

Frostybuck88's picture

A pair of previously owned, slightly used gold pants for you, sir!  Fantastic!  Hypocrisy is best served on the rocks, with a twist of sarcasm.

The Dude abides...

Grayskullsession's picture

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

BuckGnome's picture

Ramzy, simply an incredible piece!  It's stuff like this that makes 11W such an awesome place.

hodge's picture

It's all about perspective.
In 2010 and 2011, we'd just seen the kingpin that was Southern California fall to scandal, and Ohio State was the next marquee program with its feet to the fire.  
Ohio State had been a victim of its own success, too; being beaten twice in a row in title games and exhausting the public at large--who yearned to see another, "more worthy," team get a crack at the spotlight that OSU hogged.  Couple this with the team's polarizing "lunatic fringe" fanbase and you have a recipe for a takedown with almost-universal appeal.  We were the right team at the right time.
Three years later, Tatgate seems pretty petty compared to the likes of what we've seen at Miami, PSU, UNC, South Carolina, Oregon, and even Johnny Football and Alabama.  Yet they've largely been forgotten (with the exception of PSU); when scandals become commonplace, you stop caring about the outrage and realize that it's indicative of a near-universal culture that permeates the game.
Thirty degree days cancel school in Florida because schools don't have heaters.  In the dead of winter here, thirty degrees feels like a damned heat wave.
It's all about perspective.

Nutbuck1959's picture

As always, WELL SAID Hodge.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

. . . when scandals become commonplace, you stop caring about the outrage and realize that it's indicative of a near-universal culture that permeates the game.

Hodge, the sports media hacks that Ramzy exposes (above) and their parent media organizations largely drive public perceptions concerning whether c.f.b. stories are supposed to be "scandals" in the first place and thus how "commonplace" they're supposedly becoming. That's why they're called hype machines. If they weren't good at manufacturing hype and pseudo outrage, we'd call them hype-jalopies.
In reality, we have little reason to believe that old school money-under-the-table "corruption," i.e. illicit payments to players, is on the rise. Actually, we know for sure that such practices were much more common in the 1970s and early 80s, especially in the Southwestern Conference and Big 8.
It's possible that things were worse back then, got better in the 1990s, and for the last 10+ years trended in the wrong direction again, but I seriously doubt that. Football factories like Ohio State that aren't intentionally trying to cheat have kept expanding their compliance efforts, even as the universities happily pocketed lucrative t.v. contracts, apparel deals, etc. They build state-of-the-art athletic and academic-support facilities, hire more assistants and tutors to cater to the players' needs, turn the "training table" into a human science laboratory, and so forth. At the same time, the players are kept so damn busy, they have less time to indulge in fringe benefits. I'm not saying that payments/goodies for players doesn't happen now; obviously they do; but players benefiting from old school corruption is less common than the purveyors of hyped-outrage would have us believe, whereas corruption in the Platonic sense (corruption of the body politic caused by institutional contradictions) is much more the issue.
For example, people who are familiar with Columbus knew that, if anything, Tatgate actually helped make the case that Ohio State's players do not get paid. I could explain in detail, but it suffices to say that all the "action" surrounding that case revolved around a no-name tattoo parlor on the freakin' West side of town. That bum who ran that shop (what's his name?) was about as far removed from being a "booster" in the traditional sense as anyone could be. The boosters at SMU in the 80s, by comparison, were like fat cat Board of Trustee-type guys.     
What seems like a more likely variable to blame on the perception that c.f.b. shenanigans are on the rise is the explosion of "virtual" media (e.g. Twitter) and the eSECpn-ization of sports media (i.e., "integration"). Ramzy brilliantly captures these twin-phenomena in this piece. And believe me, Hodge, the hacks who swim in those ponds would recover from their supposed scandal fatigue in a Twitter-verse second if another juicy tidbit about Ohio State came over the wire.       

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Very nicely laid out - OSU self reports, has compliance up the ying-yang, keeps a nice separation from "boosters", is anything but institutionally corrupt, and still gets creamed by the media for something stupid, yet minor.
Of course, let's not forget how much people like to take down those that might appear, shall we say, "beyond reproach" with their integrity, and then take a moral fall, such as Coach Tress. Weather you agree with this sentiment or not, this aspect made the subsequent piling-on all the more voluminous. 
Add in some hacks like this Sports-by-Brooks clown with no facts, and guys like Wetzel who didn't do any due diligence, and you get something like the movie  Absence of Malice (great Paul Newman movie) with reputations being destroyed over false assumptions. Of course, nobody reads the retraction printed on page 21 two months later. People should have been fired over such slip shod work. I guess the best we got was Brooksie taking a powder somewhere with DB Cooper.
Scandal fatigue my ass! Many Thanks to Ramzy and the rest of you guys for laying this out.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Thanks - I agree that people like to take down those who appear beyond approach, etc., although that effect can be kinda variable (e.g., the media always used kid gloves with Tom Osborne). Media annoyance with "Tresselspeak" probably exacerbated the effect you describe. 

1MechEng's picture

Ramzy! Another piece of pure gold from you. Well researched, and well written.
For my fellow 11W readers ... What are the odds that Ramzy gets "promoted" to a higher (paid?!) position before OC Tom Herman? I will be extremely sad when either event (almost inevitably) occurs.

NYBUCKEYE's picture

And with that A Legend was born. 

Poison nuts's picture

I was hoping someone would put the hypocrisy that is happening into crystal clear, concise words. That has now happened. Thank you.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

BuckeyeChief's picture

@ Ramzy, great article. I have never met you but if you ever make it to the Hampton Roads area, give me a shout. I owe you a beer.


"Damn I miss El Guapo"

jfunk's picture

Absolutely brilliant piece. I hope you also took the time to email it to every "journalist" you mentioned in the article.
As an aside, just took a couple minutes to counteract the downvote troll. Seriously, this is getting out of hound.

Scotch: It may be too early to drink it, yes; but people it is never to early to think about it.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Upvote for the "Out of Hound" comment; I wore my OOH t shirt to Busch Gardens a few weeks ago.


"Damn I miss El Guapo"

jfunk's picture

I feel like there are too few of us still active on the site that were here when that bit of hilariousness happened...

Scotch: It may be too early to drink it, yes; but people it is never to early to think about it.

BTwrestle04's picture

I agree completely. Sad they changed the name of the Houndie too. Too many new faces around here that will have no idea what you are referencing.

BucksfanXC's picture

Upvotes for all you "Out of Houndies"

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

thatlillefty's picture

Will someone please tell the story? I've been curious about that for a while.

BucksfanXC's picture

Some one wrote a typo that instead of "out of hand" they wrote "out of hound" and the comments jumped all over it. It was the first documented inside joke on this site.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

BuckeyeChief's picture

And we had t-shirts and stuff


"Damn I miss El Guapo"

jfunk's picture

Thanks for the link. I've been trying to pin down exactly when I started visiting the site so thanks to this I know it had to have been sometime before 2008.

Scotch: It may be too early to drink it, yes; but people it is never to early to think about it.

OSUNeedles's picture

What's funny is that I think there were only about 30 comments, but that was a TON back then... I was just a reader then & hadn't made an account yet...

BuckeyeChief's picture

Yep. I was on a deployment and found this site, somehow, from Men of the Scarlet and Grey. I have been here almost daily (unless I have no internet).


"Damn I miss El Guapo"

Buckeyeneer's picture

I wish this were required reading for media pundits.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

SaltyD0gg's picture

This needs to be read far and wide.

Pain of Discipline
Pain of Regret
Take Your Pick


Brilliant work as always Ramzy. We're blessed to have you to help us understand just how hypocritical the NCAA and media are right now. It's amazing how their transformation/evolution happened SO fast, too. I always thought evolution took millions of years. These guys have changed in 2. Or have they?
Question. Is this "scandal fatigue" a true sign that maybe the media has reached a saturation point and will help usher in some real change, especially if the NCAA loses the O'Bannon case? Or are we one petty Ohio State violation away from them contradicting their own hypocrisy and forming a lynch mob in Columbus to go after Urban Meyer? My cynical side thinks we won't get the "Meh" treatment Fluker/Johnny/Okie State are getting right now. The Hernandez mess is proof they would jump on us again in a heartbeat. But then again maybe they are, in fact, burned out. Maybe they realize things need to change (which would be a HUGE story if it did happen). All I know is I am weary of this double standard garbage. We get thrown under the bus and have to be as straight and narrow as possible while the rest of them get to drive it and run over people on the sidewalk? Enough is enough.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

Idaho Helga's picture

Great article as always, yet
How DARE you insinuate that maybe someone should look into whether there might be other 'Bama players on the take!  And don't look at that man behind the curtain either.  SEC! SEC!

FitzBuck's picture

Excellent write up.  I am tweeting this out to all 6 of my followers.  That's right I'm that powerful.  

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

theDuke's picture

"I'd agree. The STORY I cited was wrong"  I laughed my ass off at this. Can you imagine if your attorney, instead citing actual case law for your suit, was like "bro, i heard this one story about this guy..."  LMAO
Great work Ramzy and Jason.  I'm sure other outlets absolutely despise 11Warriors credibility.  


OSUStu's picture

Something that really amazes me is the lack of accountability that these writers and TV personalities are subject to and subject themselves to.  You would think that the internet and its near infinite/perpetual collective memory would have made writers and analysts more responsible and more aware of the potential for culpability from what they write and say.
Instead, I think I see the exact opposite effect.  Is it the sheer volume of outlets for sports analysis that so many of these top pundits are willing to risk their own credibility in favor of page views?

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee


This is the best article I have ever read on this site!!!!!!!!! Ramzy you truly are the man....


Jrome82's picture

Wow...well done sir!  And, with all what happened though, the Tressel door closed and another opened, Urban Meyer.  To quote Jen Bielema, #karma !


Jack Fu's picture

LOL'd at "NAWT YOU":

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Thanks for the great piece!!!  Bravo to you sir - bravo!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Dougger's picture

Ramzy I don't think I've ever read an article and laughed out loud over several statements based on how completely two-faced or ironic they were. Amazing job.
It's jaw-dropping that Alabama still has their repeat-offender window open. Doubt anything will come of it. that is sad.

I like football

ejoceans's picture

First of all this should be sent to espn for all to read! Really, it should be sent to a lot of media outlets to read for that matter.  I cant even read this without getting upset and thinking, Thats what I have been saying! In the meantime all future athletes that get in any kind of trouble are going to be let off the hook easy because everyone is over the whole Ncaa rules thing now? ala Johnny foozball   I bet TP is sitting at home seeing all of this take place and thinking what the hell is going on??? Hence the bad taste in his mouth for college football now.  OSU DID slap him with the extra ban from sporting events at school too so he(IMOA) has a good enough reason to be pissed at TOSU.  I just hope in the future that he and TOSU get back together and he is able to come around again and stand on the sidelines at some NCG's down the road. I for one would love to see TP back in Columbus again!! O H

Lets do this Brutus

biggy84's picture

Fantastic article! Absolutely sums it all up!

DaveBiddle's picture

Ramzy my man, a fantastic read. Nothing less is expected out of you.
We're currently throwing a party in your honor over at Bucknuts. So very well said. Amazing how Forde, et al had so much "fake outrage" as you so beautifully put it regarding the OSU situation, but aren't bothered at all by the fact there is documented proof that the back-to-back national champions, Alabama, were playing with a player who was on the take for several thousands of dollars.
Evolution, indeed!
(Had to come over here and personally give you props. One of the best stories I've read in quite some time. You keep a level head, while dropping truth bombs left and right. Well done, sir.)
EDIT: Kudos to Jason as well, who contributed to the piece.

razrback16's picture

Thanks Ramzy. Very good writeup as usual, calling a spade a spade. The blatant targeting sure has done a complete flip now that it's Bama. SHOCKING!

Shark Bait's picture

Absolutely brilliant and well written!

Larryp713's picture

 Remember, Tressel is basically Jerry Sandusky - but instead of serially raping little boys, he was lying to the NCAA about what his players had done with their jerseys and stuff.

I love a good beatdown, and this was simply poetry. Hypocrisy is so rampant, and I must admit that the chagrin on some of the commentators, when obliged to mention the difference in reporting Tatgate v. Money-ziel was fun. I frankly cannot read enough stories pointing out the hypocrisy.
BTW, is it just me, or did Ramzy put more investigation into this article than Thayer/Dohrmann/Brooks/Dodd/Yahoo/ESecPN ever did? Kudos again, sir!



denner's picture

Amazing.  I really hope the wires pick this article up.  Would love to hear the hater's reactions to someone pointing out their hypocrisy.   

BuckeyeSaab's picture

I would say the real difference between Pryor and Fluker is Sandusky.  So much fake outrage was ginned up as people upped the hyperbole ante in a game to see who could end up tweeting "Everyone in Ohio needs to be put to death #tategatejustice" first, that when the horror of what had happened at Penn State came out there were no words left to use.
I think there is an element, subconscious perhaps, in the back of everyone's mind that says, "Did they rape a 10 year old?  No?  Then screw off."

I'm sorry for not being sorry.

Riggins's picture

Forde has shifted his outrage from the player(s) to you people who just don't care enough anymore. One of the chief shit-stirrers of college football scandals is citing "scandal fatigue" as the culprit.

Starting a petition to change Pat Forde's legal name to Chief Shit-Stirrer...

JeffCoBuck's picture

He was persona non grata to me after his hit piece following the '07 NCG against LSU.  Admittedly, the Bucks probably weren't NC caliber that year, but when the chips fell the way they did, you take your shot.  The piece he wrote after the Buckeyes were defeated still pisses me off to this day.  The guy is a hack.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Excellent article! 
However, [insert sarcasm] I would take issue though, with the use of the word "evolution" in the changing of the media opinion (in under two years) when it comes to Ohio State and the rest of the college world.
Evolution implies a long and slow process of change. 
It is an insult to Cro-magnon men everywhere. [end sarcasm]
Maybe the correct words or phrase for this not so subtle opinion shift might be...
cataclysmic, catastrophic, sudden, abruptly, in an instant, etc.

Breakawayspeed's picture

Awesome.  The evolution continues and, like it or not, the "Pay for Play" movement is gathering steam.

northwest_buckeye's picture

I wish hypocrisy actually caused physical pain. The butthurt kind of pain.
That way all of these assclowns would wince in magnificent pain every time they were about to say something for ratings or fake outrage.
"Johnny Manziel deserves to be compensa--... *wince* *groan* *whimper* ... Uh, I mean Texas A&M deserves the death penalty. Next topic, please."

I've never said I 'hate' anyone because that would imply I had any emotion for them whatsoever.

Katzfan's picture

Great article... I only wish all the folks mentioned in the piece would READ IT!

JeffCoBuck's picture

Ramzy at the plate... a swing and a drive!  Oh, forget it!  This one's OUTTAHERE!
Ramzy goes yard - again.  We've come to expect it.  Wow.

gobucks96's picture

Have a feeling this article will be linked into many conversations in the future. Well said and superbly laid out.

cronimi's picture

Is it just me, or does Dodd's:

"Hey, look, Bama got pulled over." We know the "what." Players sometimes get paid under the table, cheat on tests and have sex with coeds.

read a lot like a certain someone's:

Not everybody's the perfect person in the world. I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.

The dismissiveness in both quotes is unambiguous.

thatlillefty's picture

"The bottom line is this: These players slapped Ohio State tradition in the face, for a profit." - Forde.
Nice article, Ramzy. But I completely agree with Forde's statement here. Regardless of NCAA violations (fair or not), it was an absolute gut punch to hear Ohio State players sold items of such enormous intangible value for tatoos and cash. I mean, isn't 11W putting on an event next weekend in part to raise funds for the Golden Pants? Would you not feel disheartened to learn players turned around and sold them at the end of the season?
I appreciate how recent events how put the transgressions at Ohio State into perspective. But it's still disappointing to know some of our most beloved players placed material wealth over timeless mementos to their accomplishments at Ohio State.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

But I completely agree with Forde's statement here. Regardless of NCAA violations (fair or not), it was an absolute gut punch to hear Ohio State players sold items of such enormous intangible value for tatoos and cash. I mean, isn't 11W putting on an event next weekend in part to raise funds for the Golden Pants? Would you not feel disheartened to learn players turned around and sold them at the end of the season?

I absolutely hated it.

But the more I thought about it, the more I hated that doing so presented itself. Was it that they were completely divorced from Ohio State tradition, or was it that playing before 100K+ people paying $70/head every Saturday and needing what amounts to petty cash was more important? I landed on the latter. If money isn't an issue, they keep their stuff.

By the way, I asked Clarett about doing the same thing with his awards for tat discounts and money and he lectured me for even suggesting it. You'll have to steal his gold pants from him.


AndyVance's picture

Ramzy, this sums up how I eventually came to view the Tatgate debacle. My initial reaction was that they should all burn in a special circle of hell for what they had done, not because of what it did to the football program, but because how could you even think of selling your GOLD PANTS?!?!?
But the more I thought about it, the more I drew a parallel to what Aaron Sorkin was trying to say in the 1995 film The American President, that if you believe in the Stars and Stripes, then you must also believe in the right of citizens to burn the flag, too.
I won't get overly philosophical, because you've already said so much, so well, above. Well done, and well written as always.

BrewstersMillions's picture

But part of the problem is that we as fans put value on items that they players earn. We feel like they should hold these items in such high regard and feel angry when they toss them aside for a few bucks. The problem is that we impose our values and beliefs on the players and then get mad when they don't necessarily share them. Now, one could argue the value is lessened for the Tat 5 on account of the sheer quantity of gold pants they acquired while they played for the Buckeyes but that's making light of the scenario.
Those items have no value to me, so I didn't care at all if the players didn't value them. There was a demand, they had the supply. Traditions are traditions because someone says they are. Do with them what you want-they are yours.
I guess I just never got that gut punch feeling or that they didn't care for OSU tradition. I mean-rocking a block O on your arm is probably more permanent and a bigger expression of college pride than keeping anything you earned at OSU would be.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

hodge's picture

Eskimos have over 300 words for snow, but only one for "made-of-win"

BrewstersMillions's picture

Thanks for the kind words man.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

sb97's picture

Kudos to Wetzel for owning up to making a mistake.  Its sad but that seems to be a rare trait in the world of sports journalism.  Integrity is a precious commodity.

bucked up's picture

Did Pat Forde, Brooks Melchoir and the other "journalists" Ramzy mentioned in this article get 11W accounts and downvote all of the comments?

causeicouldntgo43's picture

I'd love to see Bo Pelini sit down in front of a camera, in a soft comfortable chair next to the fire, and just read Ramzy's article to the camera. Kind of like that one actor did with the Sorority girl email who recently went on a rant about c**t punching her "sisters" for not partying enough. Maybe it would get some traction in the lame-stream sports media, especially if Bo threw in a few "f**ks" here and there.............

Elika's picture

I feel like I can be honest here because Ramzy and Jason know that I have nothing but love for them. Ramzy, in particular, as we're definitely clones of some sort.

As well written and put together as this was, and as much as I love anything Ramzy writes, I have to admit this topic, and some of the resulting conversation in the comments, wasn't my favorite. For a few reasons:

1. Generally speaking, so this isn't just an issue I have with this conversation, I'm tired of the idea that just because a person or group of people messed something up years ago, that they have to repeat that mistake in perpetuity in order to remain consistent to satisfy a group. As an example that has nothing to do with this one--- if it's generally accepted that the NCAA may have been too harsh on USC, should the NCAA then continue to be too harsh on every other case that comes before them, in order to remain consistent and please Trojan fans forever? So on that same note, if Journalists X, Y, and Z were wrong in the way they viewed the tatgate situation, should they then continue the same mistakes in the way they discuss Johnny Manziel and DJ Fluker? If I'm missing something here, then by all means I'm open to a different viewpoint, but for the most part I'm over the idea that they need to remain harsh forever because they were too harsh a few years ago. Whether we call it flip-flopping or evolution... is it so wrong to learn from mistakes and grow up?

2. As a fan base, can we get over this outrage that the media is against our program in particular? Is some of the bias annoying at times? Sure. But does it matter? Few fanbases have enjoyed as much success over the years as we have, maybe we can enjoy it a bit if we put the pitchforks down from time to time. On a related note... I feel like a decent amount of the media bias we saw during the Tressel era has already started to dissipate. JT seemed to hate the national media, and in turn made their jobs not-easy when their jobs involved covering Ohio State. As an example- ask anyone affiliated with ESPN, particularly College Gameday, how difficult their jobs were made when traveling to the Shoe to set up shop there on a Saturday, versus the red carpet that was rolled out for them everywhere else they went- even the other huge programs. The difficulty they faced in doing their jobs came from orders from JT himself. I love JT, this is nothing against him--- but if you hate the national media, and you make their jobs difficult, you can't expect that to not have an effect on the light you're presented in. Journalists are supposed to be unbiased, but they are still people and the way they're handled is bound to have an effect. Did anyone here rant about the media bias when ESPN chose to cover Ohio State in their Training Days series in Meyer's first year? Just food for thought.

3. I feel bad for Kirk, in a way. I'm not in love with the guy, or all the thoughts he has had over the years on OSU, or his dropping them in the polls after OSU beat Arkansas, but... there are behind the scenes stories the general public isn't aware of in terms of the bizarre triangle of Kirk, TP and JT. Ask just about anyone who knew, and 98% of them would tell you that TP was a POS. Perhaps he isn't now, I wouldn't know if he's changed... but most people inside the program would tell you that he had very little respect for the program and the people who came before him. The trinkets, the legends, some of his teammates, none of it, he cared about himself. The people closest to the program (i.e. Kirk) saw this well before anyone else did, and I'm sure quite a few of them took offense to it. You add to that the fact that JT, like most coaches, used national media members (i.e. Kirk) to fuel the fire under his players asses, and used the fact that some of them were also Buckeyes (do I have to say "Kirk" again?) to drive that point home. Let's say for a second you're Kirk, a guy who grew up adoring Ohio State, gave the program your all, cheered like crazy during the '03 Fiesta Bowl with Eddie George, and an entire fanbase used some quote from a punk like TP who was fed your unbiased analysis by a coach who used your words to anger his QB, as reason to turn against you. I'm trying to take a step back here and look at this objectively... there are things I like and dislike about all three of these guys. But if I'm Kirk in that scenario, I'd be hurt as hell if that happened. And as a Kirk-sidenote, I have to say, years later... I hated Kirk's decision to drop OSU in the polls after beating Arkansas and was a pretty outspoken critic of that at the time, but now, when I think about it--- I hate preseason polls and this game we play all season long as a result, where we take teams that win and bump them up a couple spots, and drop losing teams a few spots accordingly. It makes no sense, as polls should be a ranking of which teams you think would beat the others. If Kirk watched the bowl games, and reached his own conclusion that three teams he didn't previously consider capable of doing so would beat the Buckeyes... isn't his job to rank them ahead of OSU?


Sorry for the (not-proofread) rant. I'm sure I'll get killed for these thoughts in 3, 2, 1...

How firm thy friendship... OH-I-O!

+1 HS
Elika's picture

Also- perhaps Jason can remove my "Staff" status? :) There's no reason I should be any more immune from downvotes than the rest of you.

How firm thy friendship... OH-I-O!

BrewstersMillions's picture

I don't think anything you said is worth getting killed over.

So on that same note, if Journalists X, Y, and Z were wrong in the way they viewed the tatgate situation, should they then continue the same mistakes in the way they discuss Johnny Manziel and DJ Fluker? If I'm missing something here, then by all means I'm open to a different viewpoint, but for the most part I'm over the idea that they need to remain harsh forever because they were too harsh a few years ago.

I think part of it is the fact that we love to catch hypocrites. Especially those that took shots at a team\school for whom we cheer. I'm with you, there isn't anything wrong with saying what you feel if you truly feel it in two different situations that are a few years apart. That gets into the question of motivation and us as the alleged injured party as fans will be quick to say its a bias or an ESECPN (WORST PERIOD NICKNAME PERIOD EVER PERIOD) spin or what have you. I applaud you for actually being a tick more optimistic than most-maybe these guys have learned. Could be the case. They could also be strokes who have no concept of consistency or quality control. It is easy to guess on which side OSU fans will fall.

Journalists are supposed to be unbiased, but they are still people and the way they're handled is bound to have an effect. Did anyone here rant about the media bias when ESPN chose to cover Ohio State in their Training Days series in Meyer's first year? Just food for thought.

That's the part of it most fans will have a hard time grasping. Its easy to say they shouldn't be biased because they are members of the media and its hard to accept that they are human beings too-especially when they are saying something negative about something you love. The problem OSU fans far and wide will always have is that many are convinced tatgate was made worse by allegedly biased coverage and therefore have committed an unforgivable offense against the Scarlet and Grey. Its easy to hate someone who you think hates you, even if the source of the hate might be misunderstood. That's a problem that plagues human beings-not just fans and media members.
As for Kirk-he has the most unenviable job in college football. Attack OSU and he is accused of going out of his way to please the ESECPN (WORST PERIOD NICKNAME PERIOD EVER PERIOD) over lords. Say nice things about them or their program and he's a pandering idiot who's making up for the bad things he said the please his ESECPN (WORST PERIOD NICKNAME PERIOD EVER PERIOD) over lords.
Seriously folks, when you use ESECPIN your opinion on whatever follows if voided. Stop. You're better than that.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would more obvious.

CincyOSU's picture

Internet high five to you Brewster...and another one for the last sentence.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

The problem OSU fans far and wide will always have is that many are convinced tatgate was made worse by allegedly biased coverage and therefore have committed an unforgivable offense against the Scarlet and Grey.

It's hard to say it was unbiased when I remember how Jim Tressel was treated. Did he deserve criticism? Yes. To the extent he receive? Absolutely not. He was treated as if he was one step below Sandusky.

All most Ohio State fans ask for is the media to be fair, and accurate. That's not too much to ask.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

AndyVance's picture

It's the treatment of Tressel that really irks me, personally. He's been branded as this liar and cheater, when I see him as a guy who made a decision to protect the kids he had sworn to mentor. I can empathize with his decision, I guess.
Meanwhile, guys like Pete Carroll and Chip Kelley are raking in the accolades and big bucks on the NFL sidelines for skipping out of town one step ahead of the law.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I also don't remember Goodell jumping on his high horse to punish either of them.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

AndyVance's picture

Well, no, 'cause... shiny, pretty things are shiny and pretty.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Great to see you back again. As far as point #1, my view is that some (much?) of the tatgate reportage was wrong because of bad journalism, i.e. not doing due diligence and repeating falsehoods from Brooks as somehow truths, as opposed to being too harsh on USC and OSU when they shouldn't have.
On #2, didn't realize Tress did not roll out the carpet. I know he never gave much of an insightful interview (the kids played hard, the big 10 is hard, and so forth), but didn't know he actually had disdain for ESPN, et. al. Seems out of character for him, but I'll take your word for it and it might explain some things.
On #3, boy you dropped a bomb there about TP. I had inklings about that, but not to that extent. It's all so unfortunate, but it turned out about as well as we could have hoped for with the hiring of Urban. He really gets it, as far as how to use the media to your advantage, and it will continue to pay big dividends in recruiting.
Thanks again Elika, and best wishes in your career.

northwest_buckeye's picture

I'm with you on Kirk. He has a job to do... And in most cases when it comes to OSU, he's in a no-win situation regardless of what he says about the Buckeyes on national TV. If he felt that OSU wasn't capable of beating a certain number of teams after the Sugar Bowl, then so be it; That's his job. He isn't on local radio, stumping for the Buckeyes every week and playing sound effects and using nicknames and regional slang. He has a national audience and gets paid to play to a national crowd. Provide a fantastic life for his loved ones or have some keyboard cowboys and local radio "talent" angry at him? Oh hell, let me think about that for a second.
I'm not saying I agree with everything that he's done towards OSU and our fanbase... But I also don't agree with everything that's been done to him by OSU and our fanbase.
P.S. - Also, he clearly moved to Nashville for several *cough* tax *cough*reasons. He used the "Ohio State fans" as an excuse because it isn't politically correct to say "I moved to the nicest city in the nearest income tax free state because I can save $100,000/yr by doing so." Look at the facts... Nashville is 4 hours (or less, depending on how you drive) from SW Ohio, so he's still close to his hometown. Nashville is a young, modern city with great amenities (schools, restaurants, shopping), very much like Columbus. The cost of living in Nashville is very reasonable for a city of it's size. He can live in a beautiful mansion on a lake 30 min from town that is in-season 9 or 10 months out of the year... He can also live in a trendy suburb or a rolling estate. He also had that whole "burning down my house isn't a tax write-off" issue... So moving to a state with no income tax from one with a 6% top rate makes incredible financial sense... Especially when you've got a rotten taste in your mouth from the taxman. Assuming he makes $2 mil/year all-in (broadcasting, endorsements, etc), it's a savings of well over $100,000... In the first year alone. If he really wanted out and away from Ohio State fans, as he and others claimed, he would have moved to Bristol, CT. But he didn't. He could have easily afforded to move almost anywhere. But he picked the closest income tax free state to Ohio... That is not a coincidence. He just couldn't say he was doing it to save major coin because this class-warfare society would have MF'd him up and down for "not paying his fair share."
Just my theory. Poke holes in it if you'd like... I'm sure there are plenty in my logic.

I've never said I 'hate' anyone because that would imply I had any emotion for them whatsoever.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Good thoughts and very well written, but cannot agree with your premise that we should be beyond pointing out the hypocrisy of the NCAA and the pompous talking heads in the sports media world regarding the OSU sanctions, especially in light of recent events.  And the assertion that the buckeye program deserved to be targeted because Coach Tress was not as media friendly as he should have been ... really?  Finally, you feel "sorry" for Kirk Herbstreit?  I don't even know where to begin on that one, yes he looks like a male model, but you'd have problems finding a more shallow, disingenuous member of the sports industrial complex.  TP was an egotistical, selfish kid ... yeah, but people like Kirk should be the adults in the room.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

jfunk's picture

This isn't nearly as well articulated as I'd like but I'm just going to roll with it... Not all of us have the flair for the written word like Hodge or Brewster.
Speaking for myself I would have no problem with the national media's sudden 180° if maybe just one or two of them would just take a second and say "You know what, maybe we were too harsh on the players during the Tatgate fiasco". Personally I feel like too many of them come off like they've always believed that a player benefiting from their likeness/personal property has always been a non-issue. And just for the record I'd feel the same way if Tatgate had happened at LSU, Oregon, or any other program.

Scotch: It may be too early to drink it, yes; but people it is never to early to think about it.

Buckeyeneer's picture

You wrote a well reasoned rant and quite a bit of it, I agree with. I will speak for only myself, but I understand that opinions change and/or evolve, but we the readers don't see it. I write a lot in my line of work and one of the hardest parts is getting all the info that i take for granted and assume everyone else knows, down on paper. Sometimes clients will ask me how I got from point A to point C. Subconciously, I took point B for granted and did not explain it in my narrative. That is how I feel about these writers. I have read most of their work, but it went from point A (OSU and Tat5 are evil! ROAR!!) To point C (the NCAA and the powers that be are evil, don't blame the kids). I never saw the evolution that got them there. I can only judge them by what they have written. I would not feel my team were so slighted if some of these reformed, formerly pitchfork-wielding writers would have written about point B. Even a paragraph in a Johnny Manziel article noting that we have come a long way since Tatgate or even, heaven forbid, take some accountability and say note that in light of recent scandals they may have gone a little overboard in the past. Something that helps me reconcile their past position to their current position. Anyway, they are writers so I base my opinion of them by what they write, not what they didn't write

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

Jack Fu's picture

I would upvote this ten times if I could. Elika FTW.

bucked up's picture

I'm tired of the idea that just because a person or group of people messed something up years ago, that they have to repeat that mistake in perpetuity in order to remain consistent to satisfy a group

I agree. But I think that everybody is riled up because none of these guys (except Wetzel) have owned up to the mistakes they made when they were covering the Tat 5. They would be much more respected if they acknowledged that they were either hypocritical or have new opinions about the idea of amateurism in college football. They look like hypocrites without otherwise doing so.

Buckeyeneer's picture

I agree with everything you wrote but I don't let Wetzel for the hook so easily. Unless he wrote something else, getting called out by Ramzy and claiming that his source was wrong in a 10 word tweet is not enough for all the garbage he wrote.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

BuckGnome's picture

Hi Elika.
I'll address your topics in the order you posted them.   I totally see the points you are making, and no doubt they are valid, but my takeaway from Ramzy's article was different than yours.
1.  I fully agree that the NCAA et. al. should not repeat mistakes of the past.   That is progress.  It's exactly what I took away from the article, especially in regard to the media's coverage of such "scandals."  Ramzy's last paragraph sums things up very succinctly.  The evolution in the way these "scandals" are covered is a positive development. 
At the same time, the Tatgate "scandal" and the haphazard way the media covered it is a sore spot that many Buckeye fans will not soon forget.   Even otherwise excellent sports journalists such as Wetzel were caught up in the frenzy back then.   There was no hesitation to run with information from sources who's credibility was questionable at best, and use them to make damning proclamations about our beloved program.  It's only natural for Buckeye fans to feel, on some level, Ohio State got a raw deal given the change in tenor of the coverage of more recent scandals.
The article sites several stories in a compare and contrast style, and it's a brilliant illustration of just how quickly things have changed.  And for the better.   As tough as it is to think about, I think it is necessary to revisit some of things not to reinforce grudges, but to move past them.  In that vain, I found Ramzy's article, and especially it's conclusion, so wonderfully cathartic.
Ok, I gotta run.  Maybe I'll come back later and respond to your 2nd and 3rd points, but #1 was the one I most wanted to address.

GuyWilliams's picture

Herbstreit serves mainly today to demonstrate lackey like spinelessness. 
He owes Pryor an apology, as does every media fool listed in this article.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Every writer on the 11W staff does a fantastic job, but folks this is a top shelf article; hard-hitting sports journalism is still alive and well.  The convenient "evolution" / hypocrisy that has occurred over the past couple of years, in part due to the notion that we cannot kill the (perceived) golden goose, the SEC, is mind boggling.  As my mama used to tell me, life isn't always fair.  The ironic thing is in a sense (and I love Coach Tress) it appears that what detractors have done is actually make the OSU football program much stronger, it looks as if Urban Meyer is forging what COULD be (the jury is still out of course) the elite program in all of CFB for some years to come.  Don't get mad, get even I guess LOL.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

BeijingBucks's picture

What I find interesting is ESPN has created so much anti-buckeye fatigue I am sure a portion of their drop in ratings was the OSU/B1G fan base finding alternate sports news sources in droves... Or is the B1G really must see TV?



None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

INTLBUCK's picture

Does anyone else have the conflicting urge:
to deeply meditate on every word of Ramzy's masterpiece
to skim quickly to the end because of that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach and spare yourself the torture of such insane hypocrisy? 

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Hahaha, what a bunch of hypocrites.  It's not evolution, it's hypocrisy.  If it was evolution, they'd realize that they were off base about OSU.  OK, so Dan Wetzel kind of did, but what about the rest of them?  Bunch of hacks.  Mark May is a fat piece of shit and what you said about how many sides of mouth that Kirk Herbstreit talks out of is dead on.

Class of 2010.

TheSweaterVest's picture

Agreed that this is well done.  Thanks for pointing out the role of Brooks and his 'hearing'.  From whom was he "hearing" that?
The name Dennis Talbott wasn't made up, and even if he's not in the NCAA reports, he was still selling stuff and golfing with the Tat-5.
Would Brooks have been "hearing" from Outside The Lines staff?  Or someone in town, like Hooley?

TheSweaterVest's picture

OopsiePoopsie!  I didn't know that Brooks was in Columbus for a while, so he could have multiple sources, but I do think Hooley makes sense.  Or Herbstreit.

D-Day0043's picture

Look at it this way folks - we fell in crap and came out smelling like a rose. After all of that, we ended up with Urban Frank Meyer, we have won 15 games in a row, and are ranked #4 in the country. Who got the last laugh?

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

Baroclinicity's picture

So late to this party, but this should be mandatory reading for the entire college football world.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

DaveBiddle's picture

Elika, you speak so eloquently and make several good points. However, I take issue with one thing you said:
"Whether we call it flip-flopping or evolution... is it so wrong to learn from mistakes and grow up?"
Do you really believe guys like Pat Forde have learned from their mistakes and grown up? I know, you'll chalk this up as me being an OSU homer, but I think certain guys like Forde have it out for OSU for whatever reason. I think if DJ Fluker played at OSU and Yahoo had all this documented proof he was on the take, it would be the lead story on ESPN and every other major sports media outlet. Alabama? It magically goes away, just like T-Town Menswear (Julio Jones with a new 3-piece suit for each game) and the rampant black market memorabilia situation where there was proof Alabama boosters were paying players for autographs. 
So, perhaps guys like Forde have grown up, learned from their mistakes. But unfortunately, I think there is more to the story. There is a complete double-standard where anything that happens at Ohio State is a "scandal" and anything that goes on in the SEC is glossed over. Cam Newton's dad admits he's shopping him around to the highest bidder ... and nothing happens? It's really quite amazing.

AndyVance's picture

Dave, I think your question about the Fluker story is an important one - as Ramzy has done with this piece, I think it would be worth going back and comparing how many stories focused on Tatgate and how prominent those stories were, versus the level of coverage for the Yahoo expose. It feels like that story has already "magically gone away" despite being a much bigger story (calling on my own professional news judgment there).

Buckeytrips's picture

Tip of the cap to you sir. This needs to go National for all to see including the so called writers that type out both sides of their mouth. After reading this it is not hard to see why BuckeyNation has a chip on their shoulder. Great piece.

Earle's picture

Ramzy is absolutely correct in his assessment, but to be honest, I'm kind of done with the topic.  We've talked about "scandal fatigue", but I think I have "outrage fatigue".  We've all lived through tatgate and the aftermath, and we've emerged on the other side, with a program arguably in as good a shape as it has ever been.  We have a great coach, an undefeated team, and can talk with straight faces about our National Championship prospects.
Sure, it's unfair how the narrative has changed, but we how long do we have to keep picking at scabs?  The principals of the "scandal" have moved on.  Can we please try to do the same?

Just say no to italics abuse.

buckeyealumni's picture

It's too bad that the people that REALLY know Dennis Talbott KNOW that he did pay Pryor--along with a TON of other players. This piece is great aside from the light it tries to paint Dennis Talbott in.  The dude is scum. Plain & simple. He'd pimp his daughter out to his son to make a dollar--and that is the freaking truth. 
Again, those of us who know Dennis and sitting back with a smug chuckle knowing the truth.  If only my own eyes could tell me lies--then I might believe half of the shit written about ol' D. Jay Talbott. Haha...

OHCelt's picture

On top of all this, I cannot recall ever seeing an apology or retraction from Sports Illustrated for their hatchet job on Ohio State after TatGate. Relying only on statements from players who had either been suspended, or dismissed, from the program, SI proceeded to list, I believe, 13 other players by name that they claimed had also exchanged items for tattoos. Most notably, I recall, Storm Klein, who at the time didn't even have a tattoo. Where was the outrage on all those lies? It seems that, when it comes to Ohio State, there is simply no shame amongst the fifth column.