A few weeks ago I was of the opinion that with all that kept popping up with the Buckeyes that the university would be lucky to get off with the same punishment as USC. With all of the reports piling up it was almost inevitable that the damn was about to bust and an enormous flood of violations were about to rush over the program. Opinions can be funny though. They can be ever changing, they can be irrational, and as the old saying goes, they’re like a**holes, everyone’s got one.
As sports fans I feel like opinions can come in two forms. Those that are built upon our fandem, such as “the Browns have a shot this year” which is what the diehard Browns fan in me wants to believe every year. Then there are the opinions that are built upon information and facts, like “the Browns will be lucky to be a .500 team this year”.
When it comes to the Buckeyes I have been caught in a battle between these two types of opinions over the last few months. At my core, the same as many Buckeye fans, I wanted to be angry. I wanted to have someone to blame for the bad press and accusations being thrown at my school. Most have resorted to focusing that anger towards ESPN, Sports Illustrated’s George Dohrmann, or just recently Pat Forde. The fandem opinion, that the national media has it out for Ohio State was created. This is really difficult to blame anyone for because when something you care about is being attacked coming to its defense is only natural. And if you focus on it enough I can see why. However, once I got passed the initial anger the opinion built upon information and fact started to form. Was Ohio State some grand evil empire of college sports? Of course not, but they also weren’t innocent. Did we do anything that just about every other major program isn’t also guilty of, no, but we got caught and we have to own it and move forward.
As I mentioned earlier opinions can be ever changing, especially if you’re basing them off of information and facts. A few weeks ago, with the information at hand, it looked like the program was about to drown, with the information present today it appears as though the damn may have held. With each new story or breaking news headline the last few weeks it became increasingly obvious that while more and more digging was being done by multiple news outlets, they really weren’t finding anything new. The initial reports were damaging and by all accounts accurate but they also hinted at more to come, but so far that hasn’t happened. Even with the recent Pat Forde report, which again appears to be accurate but doesn’t call for any new violations, just simply brings to light that the NCAA’s investigation isn’t done, which I would again point out simply means that nothing further has been found.
So I guess the question is where my opinion lies now. Currently I’m of the opinion that enduring all of the garbage the last few months was a good thing for Ohio State. While it’s unlikely the NCAA is going to take any news outlets reporting as gospel when it comes to doling out punishment, it is pretty safe to assume that they aren’t devoting the same amount of man hours either. So if ESPN, SI, YAHOO, and every other new source in the land can’t find more than a few tattoos, some fishy but not illegal cars, and no evidence that any of it goes beyond the already dismissed head coach then odds are the NCAA isn’t finding it either, because in actuality they’re not an organization built for law enforcement.
Now tomorrow morning Ohio State will face the NCAA Infractions Committee in Indianapolis. The NCAA will present its case against the university, ask some questions and provide the school the opportunity to defend itself. By the end of the day there will likely be information leaked, and we’ll have a better idea of what our final punishment will be. As it stands, the schools current self imposed punishment was forfeiture of all 2010 wins. The guess or opinion of this writer is that 2-3 years of probation will be added or the NCAA will extend their ruling date until very early September. But again, they’re the NCAA not the CIA, so if they haven’t been able to find anything additional by now I’m not too worried about a few more weeks, and nothing more than probation will be the end result.
With all that said, tomorrow is a big day for Buckeye Nation and who knows maybe by the end of the day my opinion will make me look like an a**hole.
Like it? Hate it? What’s your opinion? Find me on twitter and let me know @hewls