Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor
I’m tired of hearing, “They didn’t know,” “We weren’t explicit
enough,” “These are tough times,” and “We intend to appeal.”
Enough already! At what point does my university do the right thing
and insist on even tougher standards than the NCAA?
Who at Ohio State finally has the guts to hold student-athletes
personally accountable for their actions? I want my alma mater to set a
lasting example. Acquiescing to an NCAA ruling then filing an appeal is
way too wimpy. OSU can and should do much better.
Specifically, kick the tattoo crew off the team now, before the Sugar
Bowl. They’ve broken the rules and dishonored the university. They
should forfeit their scholarships. Team members who think only about
themselves should be on their own — just like regular students.
To deter similar incidents in the future, the athletic department
1. Give parents and prospective athletes a legally prepared list of
OSU do’s and don’ts that reflect or exceed NCAA standards. Clearly
state disciplinary policy for violators. No signatures, no scholarship.
2. Quiz students-athletes repeatedly on rules during preseason
practice. No pass, no play.
3. Establish OSU standards for player punishment independent of
NCAA regulations. Don’t wait to see if the NCAA will let an infraction
4. Initiate a scholarship forfeiture-repayment plan to deter future
It should incorporate the following:
A. If an athlete leaves OSU for pro sports before eligibility expires,
the scholarship becomes a student loan and must be repaid.
B. If an athlete is dismissed from the team for OSU or NCAA viola-
tions, the scholarship becomes a loan that must be repaid.
C. The university should put money from repaid loans from No.
1 and No. 2 above in a scholarship fund. If athletes won’t value their
scholarships, give the money to deserving students who will.
An athletic scholarship is an honor, not an entitlement. As such,
the university should demand rule compliance in writing. Quit making
specious excuses for rule breakers. Put some teeth into every athletic
scholarship/contract by spelling out real penalties — financial conse-
quences to benefit those who appreciate an OSU education.
This year’s tattoo crew didn’t learn much from Maurice Clarett’s
bad example. Apparently, Troy Smith’s Alamo Bowl suspension didn’t
send them a meaningful message either. Collectively, they spat on team
honoraria. It’s time for all loyal Buckeyes to demand their university
take charge with bold, principled policies that will shape future athlete
behavior in ways we can all admire.
To the OSU Department of Athletics: Don’t pass the buck. Here’s
your chance to make us proud of more than just stats and rankings.
Boot the tattoo crew now and demand higher standards for all who
wear scarlet and gray.