I’ve spent the better part of the last two years listening to fans from other schools lambaste John Calipari as a “scumbag,” a “cheater,” and other words not fit to print. Since I also follow Ohio State football and interact with Buckeye fans quite a bit, those epithets have been especially forthcoming from that sector.
Like all fans of high profile programs, OSU fans are a different breed. Similar to UK basketball, Notre Dame football, and Yankee fans, they recognize the special place the Buckeyes hold in the history of the sport. They are college football’s “old money” and look down their noses at those teams they consider “beneath” them. Fair enough, I say. It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true. But like so many Kennedys or Hearsts, they also have a tendency to sit in their ivory towers and pretend nothing could possibly be wrong with their program. I’m sure I’ll take some heat for writing this, but…
Guess what, Buckeye fans. All the windows in your glass houses are broken.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Jim Tressel. I’ve had the opportunity to meet him and his staff and watch them work on the recruiting trail. He’s the real deal. The “sweatervest” persona is genuine, as are the principles Tressel lays out in his “Winner’s Manual.” If my son were a football player, I’d want him to play for a man like Jim Tressel. I could be sure that his best interests were being followed and that the staff would make him not just a better player, but a better person. That being said, Jim Tressel is a big time college football coach. He works in a cesspool of corruption. One doesn’t work in a cesspool without coming home with some stink. Now, I don’t know how this is going to end for OSU and Coach Tressel. I hope it goes well, but I fear it won’t. The fact is, for whatever reason, Coach Tressel has “looked the other way” on at least one occasion and that’s against the rules. He would be the first to tell us that he deserves whatever consequence he receives from the NCAA, and wouldn’t expect anyone whining on his behalf.
And as far as Coach Calipari is concerned, I was one of the more vocal critics of his hire! I read the stories about the vacated Final Four appearances. As we’ve seen, however, reading journalists’ reports on situations, particularly when they involve high profile coaches and their programs, doesn’t necessarily guarantee we’re getting the whole story. As I’ve catalogued on this blog already, Coach Cal is hardly a saint. He too works in the same cesspool and has taken on the smell of Marcus Camby and Derrick Rose. But guess what, Buckeye fans: he’s never been found to have broken any rules.
So the point of this rant is this: Fellow Buckeye fans, shut your pieholes! You embarrass yourselves and the university. Whether it’s Calipari or some other target (usually from the SEC…we all know Big 10 teams don’t cheat, right?), you’ve got no room to talk. If you want to discuss the scummier parts of college athletics, go right ahead. I’m there with you in disgust. But don’t pretend the Buckeyes smell any rosier than the rest of big time college sports.