Rock You Like a Hurricane

It has been about a week since the Yahoo! Sports revealed the massive violations that have gone down with the University of Miami football and basketball programs. Since then, there has been a lot of talk about sanctions, penalties and even a NCAA death sentence. So, time to play catch-up and put it into simplier terms.

Ponzi scheme mastermind Nevin Shapiro reportedly invested millions into the University of Miami football and basketball teams both legally and illegally. It has been reported that 72 student-athletes between 2002 and 2010 received some form of benefits from Shapiro, be it cash, cars or even prostitutes.

Shapiro, serving a 28-year prison sentence for his role in the Ponzi scheme, was open and candid about his involvement with Yahoo! Sports. In fact, his willingness to throw the organization he loved so much under the bus was a little bit troubling. To me, it had a little bit of a Wee Bay feel (The Wire, greatest show ever) where Wee Bay already knew he was going to serve life in prison for murder and shooting a cop, so he started taking credit for everything that went on with the Avon Barksdale drug ring.

If you haven't watched 'The Wire', get on that.

So, what is the smoking gun that apprently set off Shapiro on this The U hating spree? Apparently, the university became displeased with Shapiro’s payment plan towards a new student center that was named after him. In response, Miami removed his name from the building and discontinued their legal relationship with Shapiro.

Whoops.

Due to the report, the NCAA has launched an all-inclusive investigation into what actually went down within the programs. It probably won’t be until after the 2011-12 NCAA football season until there is an official ruling, so one can only speculate what type of penalty will be handed down.

However, that hasn’t stopped anybody from sharing their opinion as to what should be done. NCAA president Mark Emmertt has said, without refering directly to Miami, that if it is deemed necessary to hand out the “death penalty”, then the NCAA will see fit to do that. Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly has stated that he would like to see the harshest penalty taken to those who don’t play by the rules, and Alabama coach Nick Saban said something similar.

For clarification sake, the death penalty would be the discontinuation of an athletic program at a university. That program would cease to exist. No coaches. No players. No fans. Everything about the program would stop dead in its tracks and disappear.

 The last time the NCAA handed out a penalty as severe as the death penalty came in the 1980s with the Southern Methodist University, better known as SMU. If you want the complete story of what happened, make sure to go to ESPN and re-watch their phenomenal 30 for 30 documentary “The Pony Excess”.

20+ years removed from the death penalty and SMU is still recovering. They appeared in their first bowl game post-death penalty in 2009, and the last two years were the first time in 25 years the program posted back-to-back seasons with winning records.

If there were a situation to lay down a death penalty, this seems to be the exact case. To review, Jim Tressel, one of the most successful coaches in Ohio State history, lost his job over a “lack of compliance” with NCAA rules when it came to players selling their own memoralbilia. Southern Cal got a two-year post-season ban and Reggie Bush lost his Heisman Trophy over accepted benefits. And Michigan basketball is still recovering from “The Years that Weren’t” when it was discovered the Fab Five received benefits.

This isn’t one coach or one player. This is one INSTITUTION. The argument can be made that quite simply, the coaches didn’t know. But, something this explicit, how could nobody on the coaching staff not be aware of what is happening? Shapiro was a booster that had deep roots with this particular school. He had a building with his name on it. There had to be some awareness on the school’s part that this guy was doing things under the table to help the program.

This has been a real disgusting year for Miami sports fans. The “Big Three” didn’t fulfill their promise. The Dolphins failed to address their quarterback situation. And the Marlins remained the Marlins. Now, their pride and joy, their most successful entity over the last decade, is on the brink of extinction.

I’m sorry Schwartz. But, it doesn’t look good for THE U.

Greg Kaplan is a co-founder of Home Field Advantage

Advertisements

The Not-So-Changing NCAA Landscape

The other day, I, Michael Schwartz posted an article on what the possible move to the SEC would mean for Texas A&M, the Big XII and the NCAA. News has come out that the SEC is fine where it is, with just 12 teams, so Texas A&M will not be moving. My objective was to show the reader what it would mean for the teams, conferences and college football if Texas A&M were to move to the SEC. But the SEC commissioner has come out and said, thanks, but no thanks A&M. What happens now?

No realignment is what happens, thank goodness, and no giant power conference in the south. The Southeastern Conference wanted to gain Texas as part of their stomping grounds, but they stand content with 12 teams. University president’s said they did not believe A&M would receive enough votes to be added, so no invitation was extended. A&M would have been the thirteenth team, unbalanced, so adding a 14th would be difficult as well. Another sign that Florida State, Clemson and Missouri will not be on the move. In the future, Texas A&M will continue to flirt with the SEC, and the possibility of an offer is still out there.

We'll see how long the SEC drags them along

A&M has long wanted out of Texas’ shadow, and the money would have been right, if there was an offer, but nothing materialized. So they’re stuck. Good luck going back to the Big XII’s next meeting.

What does this mean for all involved?

TEXAS A&M: Back to the Big XII. They are still in the shadow of Texas and Oklahoma, and have angered them somewhat. UT coach Mack Brown said the conference would be fine without A&M, but now that the Aggies have come back with their tail between their legs, believe the big teams will want to lay a beat down on A&M. Despite the high rankings and hopes in College Station, they’re record hasn’t been great. But Mike Sherman finally has built the team he’s wanted. A&M has to walk the walk now. This is the second failure by A&M to move to the SEC, moving won’t get any easier. Thankfully for them the Big XII did want them to stay and showed a strong desire to make sure that happened. Hopefully A&M can benefit from the new Big XII conference network and earn some money, they have to find a way to compete consistently.

THE SEC: They have announced they are happy with 12 teams, they’ve been the dominant conference and who knows what the Aggies would bring. The conference remains stable, no shifting divisions around, or allocating more money. In the future they could always add more teams whenever they want, they are the SEC.They aren’t the biggest conference, but for the SEC it’s quality over quantity.

THE BIG XII: They remain at 10 programs, an even number, with no need to add another school to keep things balanced. A&M is their 2nd highest ranked team right now and the conference can only hope they succeed, bringing good press to the Big XII. It’s stability, after losing Colorado and Nebraska, a mini-victory to hold the strong conference together. The conference board wanted to retain A&M, and acknowledged their value to the conference. In the future they could add more teams and expand back to 12 (as they’re name suggests), or just fall apart as they almost have for the past two offseasons.

THE NCAA: No longer is there any real threat to a change in the college football picture. Radical conference changes could necessitate changes to the bowl system, the balance of top tier teams, and other collegiate sports.  It also is a sign of the Big XII’s strength, the conference once thought to be dissolving kept one of it’s best schools; they won’t be leaking programs for a while–unless Texas has a change of heart. Texas A&M was not offered a spot in the SEC, and the NCAA could use this example in the future in moderating the realignment of conferences.

So that big “if” for Texas A&M became a big no, marking another failed attempt to shift conferences. A&M has never ran with the Big XII pack, always overshadowed by the big dogs, and now they have to make peace again after some serious flirting with another conference. Texas A&M can only try to carry on its plans of internal growth and change in the Big XII, a conference with history and prestige of its own. College football isn’t ready for more realignment, and much to the pleasure of diehard fans, college football will only move at it’s own pace, further discussions pertaining only to the future (five to ten years from now).  Don’t be surprised if there is news in the future of A&M’s desire to leave the Big XII; be surprised if it actually happens.

Michael Schwartz is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage

The Ever-Changing Landscape of the NCAA

All signs point to Texas A&M leaving the Big XII for greener pastures. Last year conferences shifted as the Pac 10 grew to the Pac 12 (Colorado and Utah), the Big XII lost two (Colorado and Nebraska), the Big 10 gained one (Nebraska, making the Big 10 a twelve team conference–it had eleven before) and Texas A&M unsuccessfully tried to move. During the last offseason rumors floated that the Big XII would be swallowed by the Pac 10, but A&M wasn’t invited. That never happened, but now A&M is on the verge of moving to a more prestigious conference, the SEC.

The predicted crumbling of the Big XII is finally starting with the departure of the Aggies of Texas A&M. Texas is a blue blood in college football, however they went 5-7 in 2010. Mike Sherman is entering his third year at Texas A&M and has quietly built the best football team in Texas. The Longhorns have the prestige and flooded recruiting classes but on the field success has plummeted after QB Colt McCoy left for the NFL. Texas Tech gets press for their unorthodox ways and scandal, while SMU is a program reborn, looking to make the final push over the hump. Texas A&M finished 2010 ranked 19th in the AP poll, but lost  a close 24-21 battle royale with LSU. 2011 is almost a “contract” year for A&M as they begin the year ranked #9 in the nation, with a core group of established and talented athletes. Optimism and expectations are high in College Station, Texas; what does their move mean to the SEC and the NCAA?

For the past six seasons, a national champion of college football was crowned, and all six of them SEC programs. The Southeastern Conference is the toughest conference right now, with diverse style’s of play and exciting football. A move like this will bring wonderful results to the Aggies and the SEC, while potentially crushing the Big XII.

PROS FOR A&M: This is the SEC. No conference has been able to compete with the SEC on a consistent basis in quality of play. The schedule may be difficult, but A&M is ready for the challenge. Quality in the Big XII has fluctuated, something that is certain not to happen in the SEC. Recruiting could see a meteoric rise in interest from top prospects; A&M has always competed with its in-state rivals for commits. But now there is a new draw for high school athletes: come compete for a Texas school, against top programs in the SEC. The grandeur and luster of the SEC has provided the existing schools top talent for years; Texas A&M plays in one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the world. The potential results for A&M and this move are astronomical, brand new opportunities for this strong program lean toward future fortunes in College Station.

CONS FOR A&M: Tough, tough, tough SEC schedule, different style of play from the spread offenses of the Big XII. If they can’t stay afloat, losses will be a regular happening for the Aggies. Also they would be competing not only with Texas schools for recruits, but now SEC schools. In 2010 period of realignment had rumors that Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State leaving for the Pac 10 while Texas A&M flirted with the SEC. That never happened then, but word was that the Texas schools would excommunicate A&M for leaving them and breaking rivalries, something that would hurt scheduling in the future.

PROS FOR THE SEC: Expansion in to Texas is huge. Texas, as mentioned before, is probably one of the best recruiting hotbeds next to Florida and California. The SEC has Florida, and soon Texas will be in the loop. A&M gives off an SEC-type vibe, pro-style offense with some wrinkles in it, powerful defense and athletes all around. A&M is currently ranked top 10; if they keep it up through next year, just one more top ranked program for the already dominant conference. Diversity in cultures, schools and stadiums grow, along with added power in the BCS. Rivalries are also reborn such as A&M-LSU and A&M-Arkansas, creating more competition. Plus, A&M’s baseball team is pretty good.

CONS FOR THE SEC: If A&M stumbles and falls off as they did in the early 2000s, this could be a bust move. There’s also the possibility that A&M couldn’t compete in the SEC, and sits in the cellar with Vanderbilt. But Texas is still added as a recruiting spot, so not much harm to be had.

PROS FOR THE BIG XII: Not many, as they lose one of their better teams. A little less in-conference recruiting competition at best, and more justification for the individual school’s new broadcast networks, like Texas’.

CONS FOR THE BIG XII: Losing one of the better teams hurts. Rivalries are also lost, including Texas A&M versus: Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech. The Big XII drops to an uneven nine teams, their conference name becomes an even bigger misnomer and money is lost.

PROS FOR THE NCAA: The NCAA’s power conference becomes even stronger, with more teams, more money, and more wins. A&M brings class to a shady conference (some say the SEC stands for Somebody Else is Cheating), as they are not under investigation and they have a strong military program, with great presence at football games. The SEC network brings in more money, more money for the NCAA and greater competition and quality in the the NCAA’s top conference. And finally, with updated conferences, it could be a step away from the BCS system, a possible change towards a playoff.

CONS FOR THE NCAA: Conferences as we know it may be crumbling, as the Big XII is falling apart, and reports say the SEC is about to swallow Missouri and some of the ACC, schools like Florida State and Clemson. If that happens, the SEC will have a monopoly on college football, and other top teams are left in decimated conferences. The Pac 12 has solidified itself, and the Big 10 was never touched, but the ACC is dying as well as the Big XII. Schools like Texas, Oklahoma, Miami and Virginia Tech are in rather unknown territory. If the realignment happens, it will be twice in two years conferences have shifted, changing the BCS, the competition and the entire landscape of the NCAA. Who’s to say they’re done? Next year could bring even more change.

Over time, changes do happen. Schools move up and down, conferences have evolved over time and every year, each school has a shot at a national championship (just don’t schedule the SEC). And with most change, evaluation can only be done properly after everything has been put into effect and analyzed down the road. Initially, this is great for Texas A&M and the SEC, not so good for the Big XII, and it’s up in the air for the NCAA. The move is almost imminent, but is still in the works at this point. If the move happens, look for a scrambling of other conferences to make up by adding more teams. The true evidence of the fallout will be seen in its entirety in 2014 most likely. Realignment is a tricky thing as moving forward, college football is forever changed in some way. As for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, best of luck to everyone. SEC school, see you in the title game. Now we play the waiting game, will the move be finalized, or will it fall through, leaving a very angry Texas A&M squad?

Michael Schwartz is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage

What’s new in Butch Davis’ life? Updated!

Breaking news today shares that University of North Carolina head football coach Butch Davis has been fired. Now at 6:00 EST/3:00PST, the university will neither confirm, nor deny the firing UNC has announced that Butch Davis’ contracted has been terminated. Davis has completely turned around the UNC football program, churning out NFL prospects like Miami (something he did from 1995 to 2000), but also creating quite the laundry list of violations.

The 2010 season saw 13 players suspended, and 3 stars: DT Marvin Austin, WR Greg Little and DE Robert Quinn were ruled permanently ineligible after a scandal involving agents, passing off parking tickets and improper benefits. 5 more players were found guilty, leaving a heavily depleted team.

Sound familiar? Ohio State went through something similar, but only now is the NCAA conducting an investigation on UNC. Did the university fire Butch? We don’t know, (update: yes, we do know) although by the time you read this it could be clear (update: clear). But rumors like this rarely turn out to be false (update: bingo). Butch has had a lot of scrutiny concerning illegal benefits, set in motion by the investigation of star defensive tackle Marvin Austin before the season last year.

In his time as a Miami Hurricane, Butch was cleaning up a mess, coaching Miami through scholarship reductions and sanctions left be Dennis Erickson and the Pell Grant scandal. His tenure at Miami had a few watchful eyes after reports of some shady deals going down, but nothing was discovered. Butch jumped ship to the born-again Cleveland Browns in 2000, Larry Coker took over The U and went to consecutive National Championships with Davis’ players, winning the first and cheated out for the second (that was not pass interference).

Butch has always been able to reel in top high school prospects no matter where he was coaching, but recent stories have shed light on the fact that not all of it was legal. And then, Tarheel football players had free reign over the school, as a whopping 395 parking citations were filed over the past three and a half years, and all went unpaid by the players, totaling more than $13,000. Still unpaid to this day.

What is with college coaches these days? How can the NCAA prevent more coach scandals? The risk seems worth the reward, a shot at a national championship, but in the long run, it has tainted the coaches, players and the university involved. Blame the Big XII, or Big 8 retroactively, as they all competed with illegal benefits for recruits. Blame the SEC–Somebody Else is Cheating–as every school seems to be under investigation. Blame the ACC–the All Cupcake Conference–because it’s been a garbage conference and they want to get ahead (zero ACC conference championships, good try Butch). Blame sponsors or boosters or fans or greed. At this rate, college football will be a rotating landscape every 5 years as one team plunges into sanctions and another rises from hibernation, with more scholarships now available and bowl eligibility to coax high school stars.

Butch Davis is most likely gone, as the allegations are piling on, potential major violations to be uncovered, and ol’ Butch is a nomad, never staying too long. Multiple sources are reporting it, and it’s terrible timing 5 weeks before the season. But a university cannot condone these illegal actions coach Davis has taken, especially not a university like North Carolina.

It’s a shame to see so many scandals, however in hindsight, scandal has been a large part of college football for a long time. Does this make it right? Not at all. Give me a clean coach. Build a winning team with student-athletes who want to be there. Now that I can cheer for. Butch Davis is a good coach, but he made an incredibly bad decision in how to pursue prospects and control his players. 14 players suspended is disgraceful for any university, these next 48 hours we will most likely  and because of it we saw Butch Davis’ contract terminated due to the looming of two major violation allegations.

Michael Schwartz is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage

Into the Abyss

Nothing to see here

If I asked you what the main purpose that the NCAA served was, you really wouldn’t be able to give me an accurate answer. Do you know why? It is because there really is no accurate answer. The NCAA is a monster the likes of which Mary Shelley couldn’t even dream up. To make a long story short, the NCAA’s primitive beginnings came from Theodore Roosevelt wanting to develop a governing body that would keep the college football teams of the time from bringing in “ringers” and jeopardizing the health of everyone who was participating in the sport. He didn’t want anybody getting killed. That’s admirable. However, since then, the NCAA has become an organization that borders on (pardon another literary reference) 1984 territory. In 2003, Rick Reilly wrote an article that illustrated how the NCAA punished then Utah Utes Basketball coach Rick Majerus for silly things like buying bagels for players, and assistants buying players groceries when they didn’t have enough money to pay for them. Needless to say, those don’t seem like things that deserve to be punished. Most would agree there is nothing wrong with being a good Samaritan. The NCAA is not most. They were, however, most definitely on top of those infractions being committed. They acted swiftly, and that was that. That seems to beg the question, though: If they knew that Rick Majerus was doing things on that minor a level, does it not seem strange that it would take them so long to realize the large-scale infractions that have been headline-news recently, at USC and Ohio State? I mean, we all know the NCAA hates Utah, but I think this goes deeper than that.

Terrelle Pryor was driving cars that everybody knew he couldn’t afford. There have been numerous statements made on the fact that it seemed relatively obvious that Terrelle was driving something that was not within his means. It doesn’t seem as though anybody wanted to look into that; to maybe figure out how this was all happening. Instead, they were worried about bagels. Nobody seemed to mind that Reggie Bush had a HOUSE that was provided for him by an agent, until Yahoo! sports broke a story about it, and created enough noise to warrant the NCAA looking into it. They just now took away USC’s title. This happened more than 4 years ago. They were worried about Rick Majerus buying ham sandwiches, though. The biggest laugh came when the NCAA caught Ohio State red-handed, they still allowed the players who committed the infractions to participate in the Sugar Bowl, because of the ironclad alibi that Jim Tressel wasn’t properly taught the rules. Oh, really? After ten years, Jim didn’t know his players couldn’t trade signed goods for tats, cash, and pot? They heard that he didn’t know the rules, put their hands up, turned their backs, and sacrificed some regular season games for the ratings that a fully-charged Ohio State Buckeyes team vs Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas Razorbacks draws. Now that they have discovered the added depth to the problems at Ohio State, their Sugar Bowl victory will no doubt be vacated, as will all games that Terrelle Pryor or any of his cohorts played in. Because, after all, nothing proves a point like pretending games never happened and punishing people who had nothing to do with what happened.

I’ll ask a question: If Ohio State, and every other school who played with ineligible players (USC, Memphis, Michigan, etc) has to vacate wins, banners, and every other bell and whistle they won, why doesn’t the NCAA return a little of the $5.64 billion it has to work with, because networks like CBS, Fox, and ESPN pay it so handsomely for its content? It provided a tainted product to those networks, and if it is so concerned with operating from its moral high ground, then I think it owes the distributors their money back for any game that was aired with an ineligible player. It gives the NCAA a little incentive to take more preventative measures, instead of, winking, nodding, making money, and making examples of people like Rick Majerus, distracting everyone from the bigger problem.

What Rick Majerus did wasn’t wrong, primarily because giving a kid a full scholarship to play sports at school doesn’t give him any money to pay for a pizza, or to go on a date. It just means he’s not paying for something that would have otherwise put him in debt up to his eyeballs. It’s great, but for a kid with no money, he still has no money after he’s given a full ride to play football. They could get a job, if they weren’t a part of a program that makes it near impossible to get a job because of the amount of commitment that is necessary to be a part of the team. Not to mention the fact that these kids still have to go to class and get good enough grades to play in the games. That doesn’t really leave a lot of time to get a job, to pay for these things. When somebody suggests that these players should get a living stipend though, they immediately get shouted down about how other people pay $140,000 for college, and scholarships should be good enough. Let me just be perfectly honest here: the kids who get the athletic scholarships for sports, don’t usually come from the same socioeconomic backgrounds as the kids who are going to school without an athletic scholarship. That shouldn’t shock anybody.

It just seems like there’s no right answer to this. If you try to run an honest program, you still run the risk of getting caught for minor infractions that you might not even realize are against the rules (but hey, maybe since the excuse worked for Jim Tressel, it works for the little guy too.) If you want to attract blue chip prospects, you have to compete with programs who are offering him enough money to retire on. It’s no wonder coaches cheat, it becomes the nature of the game. Cheat, get away with it for a while, eventually get caught, and finally, have the NCAA say it never happened, but keep your championship rings, and the millions of dollars you made coaching a big time football program. I think you might find a couple hundred-dollar bills laying around that you can dry your eyes with. It honestly makes more sense to cheat in the NCAA now than it does to try and be honest, because, though you stand to lose much less from being honest, you stand to gain way less than you stand to lose. When nobody really knows the rules, why even try to abide by them? These are the types of questions that the NCAA has raised.

Steve Sabato is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage

Jim Tressel out as Ohio State Head Coach

Earlier today, Jim Tressel, head coach at Ohio State, tendered his resignation to the athletic director and school president (ESPN Link). Tressel had been previously suspended five games by the school in relation to player misconduct with a local tattoo parlor owner and a car dealership, and was under investigation by the NCAA for further violations.

In March, Tressel had issued an apology for not being forthcoming with all the evidence he had against some of his players, including the team’s starting quarterback Tyrelle Pryor. In 10 seasons as the Buckeyes head coach, Tressel posted a 106-22 record that included seven Big Ten championships, the 2002 National Championship and a 9-1 record against arch-rival Michigan. Prior to Ohio State, Tressel was a four-time Division 1-AA champion at Youngstown State.

The announcement this sudden was indeed a surprise, but the storms had been picking up in the direction of Tressel eventually getting fired. Tressel failed to report on any of his players misconducts and reportedly went as far to warn the handler for Pryor about a potential NCAA investigation and how to handle it. The five-game suspension for a head coach was enormous, especially considering the sanctions the NCAA had placed on another huge national program, University of Southern California, a year ago. But, it didn’t seem that the NCAA was going to stop with the sanctions there. They were prepared and, as we saw with USC, will probably continue to pile on the penalties regardless of who is the head coach next year.

For now, the head coaching duties will go to assistant coach Luke Fickell, who was going to coach Ohio State through the first five games this year anyway. As for who will be the long-term answer in Columbus, that is yet to be known. Regardless of the penalties that will be dulled out, Ohio State remains one of the premier coaching positions in the country. The long list of names is bound to include the likes of former NFL coach Jon Gruden and former Florida head coach Urban Meyer, among others.

However, as far as this year’s team goes, it’s going to be hard to predict. Ohio State is the six-time defending Big Ten regular season champion. Coming into this year, the conference has already added Nebraska to bring the total number of teams in the conference to 12, allowing them to host a championship game. With Pryor and five other starting players suspended for the first five games, another conference title seemed to be unlikely. Now with the coaching situation and the looming NCAA investigation hovering overhead like a dark, ominous cloud, it’s anyone’s guess to how well the Buckeyes will do this year.

Personally speaking, I figured Wisconsin to be the conference favorite entering the season. This news further backs up that assumption. Ohio State is in for a world of mess, a mess that I wouldn’t be surprised to be bigger than what transpired at USC. There, the school was given strict recruiting sanctions along with a two-year post-season ban. Ohio State, a school that appeared in eight BCS games in Jim Tressel’s 10 years as coach, is in a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately for them, this is only the beginning.

Greg Kaplan is a writer and co-founder of Home Field Advantage

Banhammer Looms Over Columbus

“After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach,” It’s over Ohio.

Jim Tressel has announced his resignation today, amid allegations of improper player benefits, and future NCAA violations. In that statement, one important word is “resign”; Tressel was not forced out. Tressel did not face a university board, or fight the Athletic Director for the chance to stay. He stepped away at his own discretion, and the university let him.

The Ohio State University has a mess to clean up, and within the next 24 hours, could have an apocalyptic mess on their hands. Kirk Herbstreit (former OSU quarterback) says Sports Illustrated has a big-time new report coming out later, and ongoing investigations by the NCAA could find more infractions. 5 players were already suspended for the first five games with more to possibly come. Now there’s no head coach and an ominous feeling of an actual judgement day in Columbus.

Jim Tressel’s resignation is the next sign in things to come for Ohio State football. Abandoning ship is a possible indication that, yes, more violations are to surface, and they are not good. Tressel has not bounced for another job elsewhere, as Dennis Erickson did in 1994, but because of the current infractions, and the possibility of more–who would have hired him yesterday, and who will hire him now? Him leaving in his own decision hurts the university, because now, the NCAA will show no mercy and come in swinging with the banhammer and take care of business. In investigations such as these, universities that self-report and self-enforce violations see some grace from the NCAA, but OSU has stepped way beyond that.

E-mails have been reported documenting Jim Tressel’s knowledge of player wrongdoing months before the allegations were even public. 5 Ohio State football players traded gear for tattoo’s and money, and to be revealed later, possibly a whole slew of more illegal activities. “Tat5”, as they are affectionately called, includes star quarterback Terrell Pryor, running back Noah Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, starting left tackle Mike Adams and backup defensive end Soloman Thomas. Tressel has also coached problems such as Maurice Clarett, Ray Small and Troy Smith. And that is only what has been uncovered in investigations so far. Tressel dug his own grave by not taking action after receiving those e-mail reports–evidence that he had knowledge of players receiving improper benefits. He took no action, and now the school will suffer from it.

So what’s in store for Ohio State now? The most intense, mind-numbing waiting game, as more and more reports will come out of violations, with serious penalties awaiting the program. Will OSU see the death penalty? There’s a chance; the penalties could be similar to USC’s two year postseason ban, vacated wins and one Heisman Trophy, and a loss of 30 scholarships, 10 per year over 3 years. But USC reported its infractions to the NCAA and put an initial ban on itself; the NCAA set a new sanction, and as harsh as it is, that was bestowed upon USC with mercy. The NCAA should not show any mercy to The Ohio State University.

This is also a chance for the NCAA to redeem themselves, after they suspended the Tat5 for only five games, yet suspended Dez Bryant for an entire season. Bryant spent a day with a non-Oklahoma State alumni, Deion Sanders. They worked out and talked, and nothing more came of it; only because Bryant didn’t report it, was it a violation. The Tat5 sold and traded championship rings, game used gear and even awards for tattoo’s. This has been clearly documented and is illegal in the fact that these players are receiving improper benefits, such as goods and services at a reduced price, against NCAA law. Wha-? How? C’mon NCAA. Terrell Pryor, the star Buckeye quarterback, elected to stay in school for his senior year by request of Tressel. Sweatervest is now gone, and Pryor has to spend the next year in Columbus in a suspension riddled disaster zone in Ohio. There is the NFL Supplemental Draft, but it’s not like there’s a season to be played there–but that’s a whole different topic. The fallout in Columbus should be extreme as some current players will transfer out, recent high school signings will opt out of their letters of intent. Were the tattoos worth it?

News coverage of Tressel’s resignation has shown there are plenty of supporters of Tressel and what he has done; albeit most are Ohio State people. Praise is dumped on the coach and people are acting shocked. But news of possible scandal has been out for a while. One could not ignore the fact that Tressel was soon to be on his way out. Newsflash: Jim Tressel is not squeaky clean. He isn’t very clean at all. Desmond Howard had a good point suggesting Tressel was not acting in the best interest of the school, he was out to protect his winning percentage. If he had done what was expected, what was right, what was logical to his job, he’d still be employed. Instead he’s hurting players, the university and himself. His ass-backward way of protecting himself with cover-ups and secrecy ended his reign at Ohio State.

For those calling Urban Meyer or any other successful coach to Columbus, Ohio, keep dreaming. Meyer likes to lay and spread the dirt, and the filth has already consumed the Buckeyes. But in the next 3-5 Meyer will be a coaching candidate, and start a brand new mess. Other coaches will laugh at the offer once NCAA sanctions come out. Luke Fickell was slated to be the acting head coach while Tressel served his five game ban, but looks like Fickell will be on top of a dying program as interim for a year. Good luck Luke. Bo Pelini of Nebraska is building something special in Lincoln, in Ohio State’s conference. Gary Patterson’s been running train on the country with TCU and his move was with his team–to the Big East, an automatic-qualifying BCS conference. His departure from Fort Worth is unlikely. And for these three, purely hypothetical candidates, NCAA sanctions are not a situation they want to be moving into; they’re doing quiet well at their own schools, and Meyer, well he’s already got one university wallowing in his wake as he praises Timmy Tebow on TV. If the penalties are as severe as predicted, it will be a few years before Ohio State can win again. Will Ohio State ever recover? Will their stuck up fans realize the Sweatervest has ruined their program?

Michael Schwartz is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage