Here we are, at the nexus of Midwestern values and the insatiable desire to win a football game.
Last week Ohio State suspended five of its best players – quarterback Terrelle Pryor, wide receiver DeVier Posey, running back Dan Herron, offensive tackle Mike Adams, and defensive end Solomon Thomas – for selling memorabilia earned by their relationship with Ohio State’s football program for their own personal profit.
Before you get started… this is not a debate about paying college kids for their services. It can’t be, because when you study the facts you realize between free education, books, housing, meals, and a stipend… they DO get paid. So let’s dispense with that business right now.
This debate is about whether the players – who will sit out the first five games of NEXT season – still be allowed to play in the bowl game for this season. Knowing the players each have the opportunity to turn pro rather than receive their punishment, should Ohio State or the NCAA force the players to begin their suspensions now?
Any BCS football program relies on national exposure to retain strong recruiting and earn a financial payout that helps to foot the bill for the school and the conference every season. Is it worth it to sacrifice integrity on the altar of winning?
Yes, this debate is about more than just “should the five Ohio State players play in a bowl game.” It is about the integrity of coaches, players, and college football as a whole.
This should be simple.
Today’s question for our resident debaters is: Should Ohio State allow the five suspended players to play in the 2011 Sugar Bowl?
Loyal Homer will argue that integrity matters and the players should begin their suspensions immediately while Babe Ruthless argues the stakes of this game are too high to sit players when the NCAA and the schools are dependent upon the payday from national advertisers.
I am on the fence on this – push me off.