Tracy Sprinkle Might Be the Biggest Casualty of His Own Debauchery

By Patrick Maks on July 7, 2014 at 1:00p
28 Comments

On Friday morning, Tracy Sprinkle tweeted about his innocuous Fourth of July plans to gorge on copious amounts of food.

By Saturday evening, the backup defensive lineman was the poster child of Ohio State’s first act of summer debauchery for his role in a massive Friday night bar brawl, first reported by Eleven WarriorsLorain Police described it as “absolute mayhem,” according to Cleveland.com

By Sunday morning, Sprinkle, 19, officially faced charges of drug possession, drug paraphernalia and rioting/failure to disperse.

By Monday afternoon, coach Urban Meyer dismissed Sprinkle after pleading not guilty in court a couple hours earlier.

His status, according to a team spokesman, will be reevaluated after his legal issues are resolved. 

But the charges staring down Sprinkle are perhaps more serious and potentially damning than any discipline Meyer or the Buckeyes can level.

Because if Sprinkle is indeed convicted on any or all charges, Meyer, who got wind of the fracas while on vacation, had every reason — and even an obligation — to excommunicate the redshirt freshman.

Meyer, though, has no moral imperative to be a babysitter while on a getaway that registers as a blip of rest and relaxation in the event-saturated lives of college football’s most high-profile coaches.

It’s why summer — and the stupid things that tend to happen during it — is a reminder of how their death grips of control during the season start inevitably slipping come May, June and July.

It’s a reminder of how it’s hard to hold Meyer accountable for whether those stupid things happen and, rather, how it’s fair to applaud or criticize how he handles them.

It reminds us coaches like Meyer have a certain responsibility to steer their players away from trouble, but to what extent?

It’s a reminder such an onus falls on the players. It fell on Sprinkle this weekend.

Because when Sprinkle walked into that bar, he had more to lose than most. 

He’s the biggest casualty of his own stupidity.

The Grown & Sexy Lounge, where the melee happened according to the police report first obtained by Cleveland.com, likely sustained physical damages, but it’ll surely recover in time.

The man Sprinkle was jawing with, 23-year-old Wayne Blue, allegedly took a bottle to the face before also being arrested and a woman in the periphery of the chaos got knocked unconscious by a chair, according to the report. But they both escaped without further known medical complications.

Then there’s Sprinkle, whose full scholarship to play football at such a powerful place like Ohio State evaporated because a fight about god knows what in a obscure, dilapidated dive bar. 

In a matter of a weekend, his life's been turned upside down. But the Buckeyes will do just fine without him. 

They’ve got a defensive line as mighty as any team in the nation next season, and while Sprinkle figured to be in the deep mix for playing time, he was hardly going to be a staple in the shadows of Noah Spence, Joey Bosa and Michael Bennett.

Sprinkle’s legal troubles weren't going to hold the Buckeyes back, but he would've dragged them down. 

Meyer saw that. 

In the absence of what used to be the promise of playing major college football for a major school, Sprinkle is the villain and the victim. If the dismissal sticks, Columbus will be a memory of lost opportunity while fading away from the fray. He's neither the first nor the last to experience that. 

He’ll suffer without Ohio State.

But the Buckeyes won’t suffer much without him.

28 Comments

Comments

Tater_Schroeder's picture

It’s a reminder of how it’s hard to hold Meyer accountable for whether those stupid things happen and, rather, how it’s fair to applaud or criticize how he handles them.

Very well put. And as it's turning out, we will be applauding Meyer on this one.

How Firm Thy Friendship

+2 HS
cinserious's picture

Its truly sad a young man's future can go up in flames that fast. Let this be a lesson learned for all the rest of the Buckeyes this Summer. Stay out of bars, night clubs, strip clubs. Stay away from alcohol period! Don't mess with drugs. Walk away from fights. Just stay out of trouble! 

Gone ham, be back soon...

+1 HS
bigbadbuck's picture

You would have thought this particular lesson would have been learned from previous incidents, but I guess young men feel as tho they can handle situations involving being at bars and drunk people.

Battles are sometimes won by generals; wars are nearly always won by sergeants and privates. Football is no different, the guys down in the trenches win the games, not the coach.            

chemicalwaste's picture

They say the difference between a smart man and a wise man is a smart man learns from his own mistakes, while a wise man learns from someone else's. It's tough to be wise and young, unfortunately.

+2 HS
BierStube's picture

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+1 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

They also shouldn't breed.

+1 HS
QBYBuckeye's picture

Meyer and company will be on the lookout for some young stud who will appreciate the opportunity a little more than Tracy did.  I just hope the young man has learned a valuable lesson, because the price he paid was considerable.

New York Buckeye

michbuckeye's picture

if the charges stick, he ll pay a far higher price in the future, sad to say.

BuckeyeNationforLife's picture

With the D line class that might be coming in, Sprinkle is the least of my worries. Hurts me to say it, but getting in a bar fight and being caught with cocaine? He gone. Next man up. Would've loved to see him succeed though.

+4 HS
Buckeyebrowny919's picture

As I stated yesterday (and for some reason got downvoted to hell for it)...Next man up. You have tons of hard working kids on this team who have busted their ass to get a scholarship to play at tOSU for 4 years of college. Kids who understand that, while they may have worked hard for it, the world is now at their feet. I lose all compassion for someone who completely throws the biggest chance of their life, up to that point, out the window. And please don't tell me..."he's only 19" or "Kids will be kids." If everything holds true, he was part of a huge melee and then was arrested with cocaine on him. You have got to be smarter than that to be in a situation where this is even a possiblity. If you make that decision to put yourself in the way of trouble, do not be upset when you have someone right behind you waiting to be that next man up.

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

+2 HS
Zimmy07's picture

Today I shall dominate food! Lol

One of my sons while waiting in line for 4th of July food:  "I pity the food!".  I really did LOL at that one.  I'll make sure he runs extra for it, though.

+3 HS
ibuck's picture

He's neither the first nor the last to experience that. 

Dang! At least let him be the last this year.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

+2 HS
lax20's picture

Such is life.  We must be held accountable for our actions.  This young man will truly pay and hopefully has learned a valuable lesson.  I have always told young people life is full of choices.  Choose wisely and you will be rewarded.  Choose poorly and there will consequences to pay for your actions.  Let's move on.  Is it Aug. 30 yet?

Kid Buckeye's picture

kids make mistakes no doubt about that, but when you hang out at Grown & Sexy Lounge, bar fight,  drug possession, drug paraphernalia,rioting/failure to disperse and mention of heroin, he has to go.

Buckeyeneer's picture

I cant help but laugh every time I see the "Grown and Sexy Lounge". It fun imagining what kind of troglodytes frequent that establishment.

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

+2 HS
cajunbuckeye's picture

I don't see the big deal about the fight, but the coke is a deal breaker. Football is a violent game and some of the men that play it are violent as well. The list would be a mile long if it was "Ohio State players who have engaged in a physical altercation". I don't know why it's difficult for some of these kids. It's simple, come to Ohio State, work hard, play on the big stage, get a degree, go to the NFL, and get PAID.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

+1 HS
kc_buck's picture

E + R = O
The Event was avoidable. The Reaction was atrocious. The Outcome will not be good.
Leadership begins with yourself... and this was a complete failure.
 

+11 HS
Eph97's picture

Just amazing a lot of these athletes fail to realize what they are throwing away. They are given God given athletic gifts most of us can only dream about, the opportunity to live like rock stars at Ohio State, and the chance to earn millions in the NFL. To think they give this up for a night of boozing with unsavory friends. SMH.

Then you have the case of Josh Gordon who seems he'd rather smoke weed and be a bum than earn millions as a pro bowler in the NFL.

+2 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

I suppose this will open the door for Urban to reel in another top recruit for the 2015 class!!!!

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

741's picture

Lanternesque.

Buckeye5000's picture

Exellent article Patrick. Thanks for the read.

Go Bucks!

OSUFlash's picture

Actually it all starts with the parents steering their child away from trouble and if they don't listen to parents or family they sure as hell aren't going to listen to a football coach especially during the summer months. And despite all the best efforts you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Easy come easy go.

In the words of the famous Soup Nazi...........NEXT!

osuflash

+1 HS
BuckeyeFreak4844's picture

Peers to me are the biggest influence on a young adult.  Parents can say stuff until they are blue in the face and most still not listen.  You need to surround yourself with better people and forget about old aquaintances. The best parents in the world will have kids that make mistakes and do dumb shit.  Im living proof, when you grow up always being the best athlete most dont realize what a great gift they were given until later or until its to late.

Michigan Sucks!

theferno's picture

one less thug on the team amen

-4 HS
BuckToAsT's picture

Sounds like he had various opportunities to walk away from the scene that night.  The only thing he walked away from was his team and an opportunity that many dream for.

I hope he conquers his demons, but there is no room in Meyer's locker room for people with that poor of judgment.

Larryp713's picture

I am from Lorain and I would recommend anybody with ambitions for a better life to never enter a night club or lounge bar in that city. I have a lot of love for Tracy, being from nearby Elyria, and wish him the best. I hope he moves past whatever personal trials he is facing. It is a tough transition for young men and it is easy to take your eye off the ball. 

Respectfully,

Larryp713