In the calm before the storm… it’s midweek mayhem.
The rest of the week will be dedicated to hoops, particularly the matchup with folks from Cincy, but I thought I’d drop a little mascot knowledge on you. While that thing above may technically be a “bearcat”, I’m still convinced that the official team name should be “UChickFilAs.” According to some, it’s a version of a wolverine found in Asia, so strike two. And finally, the pajamas… with stripes… like the Bengals, but not like a bearcat. Ah well- if you want good UC coverage, you’ll need to go to the source.
The Scoops In Hoops
All of this pain, it multiples by 50 when you see a player like Robbie Hummel break down.
His career, his unbelievable and shining career at Purdue has come to an end. All of those clutch shots, all of those hustle plays, they’re all memories from now on.
But those memories have left a legacy on a program that needed something. Purdue Basketball NEEDED something to re-energize it.We were blessed to have #4 for FIVE years. We didn’t make it to any Final Fours, we didn’t win any National Championships…but we didn’t have to.
We won SO MUCH more than a trophy in the last five years at Purdue. We won excitement, memories, moments. Those stand the test of time, you can’t put that on a trophy.
We’ve received numerous reports today that the NCAA and the Ohio State Athletic department are in the midst of a collaborative investigation regarding the allegations involved in yesterday’s Sports Illustrated piece.
Speculation is that the investigation continues to center on current Buckeye QB Terrelle Pryor; particularly his usage of various automobiles from local vendors. NBC4 is also reporting that Pryor is currently driving on a suspended license.
Given that the University began looking into arrangements with auto dealers several weeks ago, it would not be surprising that their discoveries, combined with the SI article, have led to this current exploration of the automotive situation. In addition, last week’s article in the Lantern had Ray Small discussing automotive issues, as did a post several weeks ago from Buckeye alumni Mark Titus.
It should be noted that the Ohio BMV has reviewed the sales involving Aaron Kiffin and Ohio State players, and has determined that these were legitimate (that the dealership made money on each transaction). Left to be determined is the use of “loaner” cars; something that was a part of the Maurice Clarett investigation, but was not deemed inappropriate at that time by the NCAA.
In addition, several sports media personalities, including Buckeye legend Chris Spielman, have indicated that they believe that Terrelle will enter the NFL Supplemental Draft in June. To do so, his status with the University and the team will have to have changed; it’s been speculated since yesterday that he has effectively played his last game at Ohio State based on concerns that have led to this investigation.
More on this as it develops.
After much speculation and rumors, the article that possibly expedited the end of the Ohio State careers of Jim Tressel (and Terrelle Pryor?) went online at Sports Illustrated this evening.
In it, author George Dohrmann raps up a six week investigation into Ohio State football and other aspects of life in the WHAC. As you can imagine, it’s not flattering.
Sports Illustrated is alleging that the number of student athletes who have exchanged memorabilia for tattoos is actually 28, and not the 6 that were originally named. After interviewing former employees at two Columbus area tattoo parlors, this number also includes nine Buckeyes currently with the program- Jamaal Berry, C.J. Barnett, Bo DeLande, Dorian Bell, Zach Domicone, John Simon, Storm Klein, Etienne Sabino, and Nathan Williams
Also in the piece, SI alleges that some of the exchanges of memorabilia was for marijuana, and that players often partook while they were at the various tattoo establishments.
Look to the past and remember no empire rises that sooner or later won’t fall.- Al Stewart
This is the summer of our discontent- the dreaded “off season” that brings with it a lack of coverage for stories about life on the field, and instead finds the 24 hour news cycle filled with rumor, speculation, innuendo rather than stats or previews of upcoming contests. When it’s good, it’s good (see last year’s expansion excitement) and when it’s bad, it’s awful… mostly because it seems to be ever present.
Before we get any further, I need to clarify that yes, there is a question mark in this post’s title. I am not suggesting that Buckeye Nation has ended; as loudly as those in the media and other fan bases and even some of those on campus are calling for scorched earth along the Olentangy, THE Ohio State University has and will survive whatever will come from the current trials and investigations.
However, it would also be naive to believe that the state of things is not going to change. The Buckeyes have enjoyed a lengthy period of success, have weathered more than a few storms (Clarett saga, 2006, ’07 Bowl games; basketball issues in the 90′s), and currently find themselves at the top of the heap, both in the Conference and nationally. Ohio State fans have enjoyed almost unprecedented success over our arch rival; enough that we are able to overlook some of the struggles against big game opposition. Even without the things that I hope to address, it’s unlikely that this would continue forever- there’s a season for everything, and all that.
Just look at the landscape of college sports- Army used to be a national football power. Indiana and UCLA were at one time the pinnacles of college basketball. The programs that I grew up seeing on the cover of Sports Illustrated (Miami, Florida State, UNLV, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma) have all gone through (or are going through) falls from the grace and glory that they once held. Heck, even the mighty Longhorns just went from a National Title berth to their worst record in memory. Nothing gold can stay.
Some of this is a sign of the times- once you’re at the top of the heap, there are those who revel in bringing you down. And, it’s quite possible that their zenith was due to false foundations; that it was only a moment in time before the house of cards crumbled (think UNLV basketball). However, it’s also possible that we live in a time where it’s more “newsworthy” to see something destroyed than it is to see something established and tended- look no further than every teen pop “idol” that is force fed to us by the very media that then devotes time to covering (creating?) their collapse.
In college football, the current teams under investigation, probation, or allegations reads like a “who’s who” of the BCS: Ohio State, USC, Alabama, Auburn, Oregon, LSU, Boise State, Michigan, Texas A&M. If you include other programs making “news” for the wrong reasons, then the list grows to include Florida, Penn State, and Notre Dame.
For some fans, this is indicative of the entire system being broken. Honestly, there are times that I fall firmly in this camp, particularly from the standpoint of “how does this all fit into a culture that’s supposed to be about academic excellence and education?” For others, this is nothing more than “outsiders” and people who just don’t “get it”. And another group of people has learned to deal with the fact that this comes with the territory- It is what it is, so just roll with it. Celebrate your favorite squadron’s successes, mock others’ failures, and pray that it doesn’t happen too close to you.
I believe, though, that there are a multiplicity of factors that may be signaling that the change we dread is on the way sooner rather than later, and I believe that it’s as important to think about those as it is to follow the “future” of the program while they’re still playing high school sports. So over the next few posts, I want to look at three of the things that I believe will change the place and status of “The Empire”, beginning with the most obvious one. Read More
The Buckeye Battle Cry will be counting down the Top 25 players of the past decade all spring/summer. Every Monday through May and June, Jim will be announcing a new player. Starting in July, we will be announcing new additions on Monday and Thursday. Our #1 player will be presented on Monday, August 30th. Three days later, the 2010 season officially begins. For a look at the rest of the Top 25, click here.
What can you say about Maurice Clarett? Few players have had such an impact on Ohio State football after spending so short an amount of time with the program. And no player can induce such a mixed range of emotional responses from Ohio State fans. Joy, anger, frustration, pity… Clarett has brought a lot of things to the table.
On one hand, you have his freshman season and Clarett’s work on the field, which was a thing of beauty and was an incalculable factor in Ohio State’s first National Championship since 1968.
On the other hand, you have the off field… issues, that not only destroyed Clarett’s personal life, but created a media firestorm that damaged Ohio State’s reputation and negatively impacted recruiting (go back and look at the 2003 recruiting class, it was bad… really bad) and the national perception of the program for years.
Based on talent alone, Clarett could rightfully be placed in the top three on this list easily, and based on everything else, he could just as easily be left off the list entirely.
I personally voted him at #13, which I think fits him for many different reasons, but ultimately he ended up at #18 after all of the votes were tabulated.
So, think fondly of the 2002 season and the National Championship that Mr. Clarett helped bring to Ohio State, marvel at what could have been, and shake your head at what actually happened.
The saga of Maurice Clarett is certainly one of the most drama filled chapters in Ohio State’s history, for both good and bad reasons, and one that will certainly not be forgotten anytime soon, once again, for both good and bad reasons.