When the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Sugar Bowl, the game was surrounded by controversy.
In the weeks leading up to the big game, five key Ohio State Buckeyes were found to be selling memorabilia, which is in direct violation of the NCAA rules.
They weren’t just any Ohio State players, but five of the best on the team. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, wideout DeVier Posey, defensive end Solomon Thomas and offensive lineman Mike Adams were all suspended for the first five games of the 2011 upcoming season.
Big Ten commissioner and Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel urged the NCAA reinstatement staff to allow the five players to compete in the Sugar Bowl. The staff allowed the players to compete in the big game, striking up a firestorm of controversy over the decision.
The end result was a 31-26 Sugar Bowl victory for the Buckeyes. Many of the players that were allowed to play in the game were key components to the victory. Months later, the second chapter in the controversy begins and this time the target is Jim Tressel.
According to a two-month Yahoo! Sports investigation, Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months prior to the school’s admittance. According to the report if Tressel failed to inform the Ohio State compliance department about the infractions he could be charged with multiple NCAA violations including unethical conduct, failure to monitor and a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. In short he would be in some serious trouble.
If the report is accurate, the school could be forced to vacate the victories they obtained during the 2010 season to include their share of the Big Ten Championship and the Sugar Bowl.
Tressel should be held accountable for his actions and he should be charged with any infraction that he has incurred. Although he is one of the best coaches in the country, he is not above the law and in fact was in charge of enforcing it. Failing to do so cause for punishment and is a black eye on a proud institution.
However for the Arkansas Razorbacks, this is not the way they want to claim a Sugar Bowl title. The Hogs want to win it on the field fair and square.
Regardless of the infractions that the players committed or the fairness of the judgment that allowed them to play, the Razorbacks still lost that day in New Orleans.
Being awarded the game would not change the fact that the Hogs were beaten on the field. Arkansas is talented enough to win a BCS bowl game on the field and the program is headed in a positive direction. While Tressel is deserving of the punishment, the Razorbacks will get a BCS Bowl victory the old fashioned way, they will earn it.
Matt Regaw is a B/R Featured Columnist and the founder of BookieBlitz.com, your one-stop shop for sports articles, previews and predictions. Feel free to contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.