Here’s Gene Smith 3 weeks ago mentioning that he intends to assign private investigators to start following his FB players around. Then look at their filing here: with a straight face, they actually tell the NCAA that they have determined that “no other players” were selling memorabilia. And here’s their (absurd) supporting evidence: THEY SENT OUT A QUESTIONAIRE TO ALL FB PLAYERS IN FEB ’11. Absurd. A written questionaire gives each player plenty of time to think VERY carefully about this spreading scandal which makes EVERY single person at OSU nervous. What that Questionnaire is guaranteed to get is almost all self-defensive, self-protective lies. It was at this juncture, in Feb ’11, that Gene Smith should have hired investigators, even lawyers or whoever, to go out and interview, one on on,e each player, and also each non-player (staffers, any others with any potential knowledge) who might give background. THAT’s how you get to the truth of the matter. OSU, however, obviously didn’t want to, and hasn’t, gotten to the truth of it all. Smith is a buffoon, and so is Gee — no, I take that back, they’re not buffoons, they are cowards who are self-interested and desperate to save their own jobs and a system at OSU which is out of control.
But the NCAA is just an old boy Inter Frat Council investigating one of its (very lucrative) members. This phony OSU Player Questionaaire is just the kind of stuff that that the member-run NCAA, and its’ million-dollar-a-year Chair Emmert love. It gives them cover in propping up a system which is now fueled by a tsunami of money and no morality.
Everyone is overlooking OSU’s biggest fear here, which those of us who have been around know is what most likely happened at the Tat Parlor. First the background: Tat Parlor owner pleads guilty to money laundering and selling drugs. By pleading, he’s spared a trial – AND SO IS OSU. A trial could have involved testimony by players. About what exactly was given the players IN RETURN for memorabilia. Naturally, right now, everyone has their hair combed and their shirt tucked in, and are hemming and hawing , and saying “Oh all I ever got for the Gold Pants was some cash, or maybe one or two tattoos.” Does anyone else raise any eyebrow at those kinds of demure statements? Here’s what went down: They were (I am guessing) getting pot (or whatever) from the Tat guy in exchange for memorabilia. And OSU is scared to death of that. And so was Tressel.
What Tressel did, when he received Cicero’s email “tips” was very cagey, very planned, and very deliberate. That deliberate decision, reached in the dark of night by JT was: 1) Don’t report this to OSU or NCAA — and this clearly was a KNOWING decisioon, he didn’t “forget” or “not know how” to report. ; 2) Email and call Pryor’s “mentor” Sarniak repeatedly, to tip him off to get Pryor and others to “behave.” What exactly he said in those phone calls, we don’t know. But he was working hard, and was brazenly tipping off , indirectly, a fact witness (Terrelle Pryor) concerning a federal drug and money laundering investigation. VERY VERY dicey stuff.
And OSU’s lawyers know that they very desperately need this Tat Parlor federal investigation NOT to rear its’ ugly head any more, by discovering that there was a much broader number of OSU players who were doing ANY kind of Tat Parlor deals. Which is why all that OSU does to investigate that issue is send out some zany written questionaire to all FB players, effectively inviting them to lie and return to them the canned, “clean” answers that OSU wants (ie, Oh, NO of course I NEVER sold anything to Tat Parlor guy.)
So OSU is STILL taking a big gamble; the Tat Parlor thing could still blow up on them.
One final point: OSU’s defense of JT’s “character” is indefensible and unconscionable. He did what he did; character is defined by performance under stress, when no one is looking. OSU’s statements about JT’s “fine” character appear ill-advised, until one recalls: admitting that JT was corrupt for years would INVITE the NCAA to find “lack of institutional control.” So the blather about JT being a fine person is all OSU could say to the NCAA. JT led them all down a primrose path, and did a Faustian deal with the devil.