No trouble spotting hypocrisy in college sports

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 9, 2011; 9:11 AM

-- For all the justifiable criticism of those who run big-time college athletics, you've got to give 'em this: They don't make much of an effort to hide the hypocrisy.

The bowl system is convoluted and unfair? Sure, but the major conferences couldn't care less since they're the ones benefiting at the expense of the little guys.

The student part of student-athlete is nothing but a ruse? Of course, but English 101 is irrelevant as long as they can dunk a basketball or throw a football like a laser.

And now, our latest offering from a septic tank of a system that's unlikely to be flushed out in our lifetime.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was suspended for two games Tuesday after it was learned he had been tipped off nearly a year ago about a federal investigation into questionable activities involving some of his players, including a memorabilia-for-tattoos arrangement with a very seedy parlor owner.

Problem is, Tressel didn't bother telling anyone about it, even though that very requirement is underlined in his contract. He'll also get a $250,000 fine, a public reprimand (whatever that means on top of a suspension and fine) and have to make a public apology, no doubt ghostwritten by some combination of lawyers and public-relations folks.

"I plan to grow from this. I'm sincerely saddened by the fact that I let some people down and didn't do things as well as I possibly could have," Tressel said, tears welling in his eyes.

Cry me a river.

This is nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Why did the school decide to sit Tressel for only two games, while the players involved in the illicit behavior, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, received a five-game ban from the NCAA? Why does the Ohio State coach serve a lighter sentence than former Georgia receiver A.J. Green, who got a four-game ban in a totally unrelated and seemingly more minor case - selling a bowl jersey to put a little cash in his pocket?

Because this is college athletics, where doing what's right is usually way down on that honey-do list, certainly far behind whatever it takes to keep the money rolling in to those school coffers. (Which, of course, is why the players must remain pure amateurs, or at least work out their own side deals without getting caught.)

The Ohio State players got caught bartering football memorabilia for money and tattoos. Their coach knew about it. Yet, the thing that surely took precedence over all that ugliness was Tressel's record on the field: 106-22 in a decade of coaching the Buckeyes, including a national championship back in 2002.

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