Sunday, October 23, 2011

Katy Hanratty Multimodal Essay Ohio State Football Scandal

Katy Hanratty 
Professor Lutz
English 151
October 31, 2011

Ohio State Football:  History, Tradition…Scandal

History of Ohio State Football
Ohio State football.  What do most people think when they hear about Ohio State football: history, tradition, and legacy, to name a few.  There is a long history of winning and tradition at Ohio State.  "Since 1890, the Buckeyes have claimed 7 National Championships and have had nine undefeated seasons" (History of Ohio State Football). “Ohio State has won 35 Big Ten Championships, which is the second most in the Big Ten and the third most conference titles of any conference” (Howell).   In 2010, “Ohio State became the first team in Big Ten history to win at least 10 games in six consecutive seasons en route to a 12-1 record, a sixth consecutive Big Ten championship, a seven straight win over rival Michigan and its second straight BCS bowl victory with a 31-26 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl" (Wikipedia).  The players have become role models and almost like celebrities to young Ohio State football fans.  The players are expected to uphold the traditions and standards of not only The Ohio State University, but also the Ohio State football program.  As of late, when people think of Ohio State football not only do they think winning and tradition, but they also may be thinking scandal. 

The Scandal
By now any football fan on the planet has probably heard about the scandal going on at Ohio State involving their football team.  To provide a breakdown:  on December 23, 2010, Ohio State suspended five of its players, Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas for NCAA violations.  This news came as a shock to Ohio State fans around the country.  The players were found guilty of the following: 

Selling jerseys
Big Ten championship rings 
Other memorabilia
Accepting extra money from working during the offseason
Receiving cash benefits from an event that occurred in Cleveland. 

The first question that came in my mind is why would the players do this.  They let down the whole city of Columbus and Buckeye fans around the world. You would think that they would know there would be consequences to their actions.  With an investigation going on during the season, luckily these players were still able to play in the Sugar Bowl and lead us to a 31-26 victory over Arkansas.  Each of these five players all made huge game changing plays for Ohio State to get the win.  The win was the fifth BCS title for coach Jim Tressel.  After all the excitement of the BCS win for the Buckeyes, devastating news appeared on Yahoo Sports.  

The Article
Ohio State Football Coach Jim Tressel

In March of 2011, Yahoo Sports published an article reporting that coach Jim Tressel knew what his players had done.  Right here is when we see the biggest problem.  How are we able to trust our coach, who has been lying to NCAA officials?  There was proof of e-mails from Jim Tressel proving he knew that his players had sold their valuable memorabilia for money and tattoos.  Jim Tressel is said to have known what his players had done several months before Ohio State school officials even knew about the situation, so why would he go so far to protect his players knowing that there would be serious consequences?  Tressel was informed of what his players were doing from a lawyer named Christopher Cicero, who happened to be a former walk on football player at Ohio State.  "When the NCAA found out about coach Tressel’s actions, they decided to suspend him for the first two games of the 2011 season.  Along with the suspension, Jim Tressel was fined for $250,000 (Bender)."  Coach Tressel claimed to have kept his knowledge a secret because he wanted to keep his information kept confidential for the safety of his players and the investigation.  "Coach Tressel then asked to have his two game suspension lifted to a five game suspension to equal the suspensions of his players" (Bender).  In late March, it was proven that Tressel forwarded the e-mails to a businessman named Ted Sarniak, who just so happened to be a mentor to Terrelle Pryor.  In mid April, Ohio State was notified by the NCAA about Tressel’s actions.  "In early May, it was reported that Ohio State’s director of compliance was researching a minimum of 50 car sales to Ohio State athletes and their families to see if they complied with NCAA regulations" (Smith).  This article put a sword through any Ohio State fan's heart.  It was bad enough hearing about what are players had done, but then we had to hear that our beloved coach lied to NCAA officials.  This leaves me to think, what was coach Jim Tressel supposed to do?  “The investigations into the players’ actions and those of Tressel have cost Ohio State’s athletic department about $800,000 so far.  
           Ohio State paid $270,000 to a New York PR firm to help it manage publicly stemming from the scandal, plus another $162,000 to a Kansas firm specializing in NCAA compliance consulting” (Associated Press).  Tressel had already cost the University money, reputation and a football season.  He was protecting his players and has taken a lot of heat, especially for Terrelle Pryor.  Tressel had no other choice but to resign as the head coach.  And because Tressel decided to stick out his neck out so far for Pryor, it is highly likely that Jim Tressel will never coach football again. 

This video talks about how there was no other option for Tressel but to resign, because he knew of some activity that his players were doing.  The video discusses an article that Sports Illustrated was writing about the Ohio State football Scandal.

Terrelle Pryor
Former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor

I believe the biggest reason Ohio State is in the predicament there in is largely in part because of Terrelle Pryor.  Pryor played a huge role in this scandal because his teammates looked up to him.  He is the one who got his teammates to follow him and he is the one now being investigated for the cars he decided to drive to school.  Pryor clearly doesn't care about Ohio State or the Buckeye football team.  While Pryor is off to the NFL, he is leaving his teammates to have to deal with this mess.  What about all of the Buckeye players not involved in any of this scandal?  How do you think they feel?  Those players went from being on an amazing football team who had a shot at becoming National Champions (for the 2011 season), to having to deal with a new coach, their star quarterback leaving for the NFL and four of their key players having to sit out a couple games for NCAA violations.  Pryor didn't think about his team, the fans or the school, he was thinking only about himself.  Terrelle Pryor was able to get out of his suspension at Ohio State, but now he has to deal with the NFL suspension.  The NFL decided to suspend Pryor for the first five games of his NFL career for "receiving illegal benefits as a collegiate player" (Klemko).  According to USA Today, Pryor wants to get out of his suspension from the NFL.  Pryor has issued an appeal to try and get his suspension reduced to zero games.  Pryor's ban for the first five games isn't only costing him time to prove himself, but also costing him money.  "Pryor's likely first-year salary of $375,000 would be reduced by $110,000 after his ban" (Klemko).  This just proves to me that Terrelle Pryor is always making mistakes and never wants to deal with the consequences of his actions.  

The Timeline  

          On May 30, 2011 coach Jim Tressel, who was just one year short of his 10-year anniversary of being the Ohio State football coach, resigned. To follow such devastating news, that same night, allegations arose about how players were receiving benefits under coach Jim Tressel.  On June 7, in not so surprising news, Terrelle Pryor announced his decision to forgo his senior season and head to the NFL.  On July 8, 2011, devastating news came to all Buckeye football fans. “Ohio State reacted to the NCAA by relinquishing all 12 wins from the 2010 season, which includes the Buckeyes Sugar Bowl win against Arkansas” (Associated Press). Ohio State decided to "inflict it’s own punishment on the football program by imposing a two-year probation, with no scholarship losses or bowl bans" (Mandel).  On August 12th, Ohio State met with the NCAA to discuss all the infractions against Ohio State. "Ohio State announced that they would have to give back the profit they got from the Sugar Bowl win, which was about $338,000 "(Smith). By doing what these players did, they have cost the school money and possibly a tarnished reputation.  According to FoxNews, The NCAA could impose a harsher punishment on Ohio State. 

The five players that received suspensions for NCAA violations

Anger Towards the Players
Some people may look at this scandal and say that it was the players’ fault that Ohio State is in such a predicament.  If these players had gone to a different tattoo parlor, Ohio State wouldn’t be where they are now.  The owner of the tattoo parlor that the players went to was already being investigated.  When these investigators went in to search the house of the tattoo parlor owner, they found the Ohio State jerseys, pants, rings and other memorabilia that no person should have except the Ohio State football players.
       Some people may look at the situation and say that the players took advantage of their status.  The Ohio State football players are almost like celebrities down in Columbus because we look up to them so much.  There are several people who can look at this situation and think why would these players do this, they just let down a countless number of Buckeye fans all over the world.  It was the players who sold their personal memorabilia.  It is the players’ fault that Ohio State is in this mess.  It is the players’ fault that Jim Tressel resigned.  Many people say that it was Terrelle Pryor’s fault that all this happened.  In my opinion, I agree.  Terrelle Pryor took advantage of his quarterback fame and thought that he wouldn't get caught.  I also agree that the other four players, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas, were to blame.    However, looking at the situation, I can see why some of the players did what they did.  Some of the players needed the money to support themselves and their families.  

The Big Ten Championship ring the players sold for tattoos

Should Tressel be the One to Blame
One of the many things that have come to mind while doing research for this blog was that Tressel shouldn’t be the only one to blame.  Jim Tressel had been the head coach of Ohio State for nine years.  During his tenure, he has one a National Championship, countless Big Ten titles and has crushed rival Michigan year after year.  He appeared to be a good coach and an all around nice guy.  I do believe what he did was wrong, keeping the information from the NCAA and Ohio State.  Jim Tressel was looking out for his players as he kept this information to himself.  What makes me angry about this whole situation is that Tressel did most of this lying to cover up for his quarterback Terrelle Pryor.  He covered up texts that he had with Pryor, and he knew what Pryor was doing and didn’t say a word about it.  Why would he does this knowing that nothing good can come from it?                            
The Sports Illustrated Issue that covered the scandal
I have to look at the big picture and Tressel is a very good coach, and there have been a slew of player problems that he has had to deal with during his time at OSU, and I am sure that there are several instances in which he really didn’t know what was going on.  But why would he go so far as to protect someone like Terrelle Pryor?  Pryor clearly doesn’t care about Ohio State or any of the valuables he received from winning.  These players all made their choices and now they have to deal with the consequences.  For instance, instead of dealing with his suspension and staying in school, Terrelle Pryor decided to go pro and declare himself eligible for the 2011 NFL draft.  By doing this Pryor lost out on millions of dollars.  Instead of staying for his senior season and declaring for the 2012 NFL draft, Pryor was a third round draft pick rather than the first round pick he could of been if he had stayed in school.  Another instance of this is DeVier Posey.  "Posey was given over $700 for work over the summer that he had not done" (Associated Press).  Posey was already suspended for the first five games of the season and because of this recent news he was suspended for another five games which comes to a ten game suspension, leaving him with only two games to play in for his senior season.  Posey simply could have dismissed his senior season and declared for the draft with Pryor.  By deciding to stay in school, he lost out on millions of dollars because now his draft stock will be low, by hardly getting to play his senior season.  

   This video talks about the wrong doings of Jim Tressel and why he had to resign.  They also talk about how it would be easier for Jim Tressel to take the blame for everything versus Ohio State taking on responsibility and earning a bad reputation.     

         The NCAA is notorious for not being fair when handing out punishments to different schools and players.  For example, the scandal with Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton.  Cam Newton was caught by the NCAA for his pay-for-play deal.  According to the New York Times,  Newton's father accepted $200,000 for Cam to play at Mississippi State.  After an investigation, the NCAA decided there was not enough evidence for them to charge Cam Newton, and he was able to play in the SEC championship game.  How is this fair at all?  Why was Cam Newton still able to play with all of his prior infractions?  Why are the Ohio State football players being punished for accepting money, and Cam Newton wasn't?  The NCAA doesn't have that much evidence against DeVier Posey, saying that he didn't work some of the hours in which we was getting paid for.  There is no real way to prove this is true.  So why did Cam Newton get away with what he has done and Posey is serving a 10 game suspension in his senior year.   

       Will Ohio State football rebound?  Of course they will.  Every team at some point goes through a rebuilding period.  However, in order for the Buckeyes to do this, I think they need to start paying attention to the players and there actions a little bit more.  Who was monitoring the weight room when Terrelle Pryor took some of the equipment?  We need a coach who will be straight up with the team and not protect them when they violate NCAA rules.  If we had a coach who was honest, Ohio State would never be in this predicament.  Eventually, Ohio State will rebound from this.  They are thousands of supporters from all over the world that will allow the Buckeye’s to become the great football team we used to know.  

Works Cited
Associated Press.  "Jim Tressel, Ohio State Hearing Over."  12 August 2011.  Web.  2 November 2011.

Associated Press.  “DeVier Posey, Three Others Suspended.”  7 October 2011.  Web.  26 October 2011.

Bender, Bill.  "Ohio State's Scandal:  A Timeline."  8 July 2011.  Web.  2 November 2011.  

Howell, J.  “Ohio State Football History Database.”   15 January 2011.  Web.  26 October 2011. 

Klemko, Robert.  “Terrelle Pryor Plans to Appeal NFL Suspension.”  19 August 2011.  Web.  26 October 2011. 

Mandel, Stewart.  "Ohio State's Self-Imposed Penalties Seem Light, But are Reasonable."  8 July 2011.  Web.  2 November 2011.  

Smith, Erick.  “Jim Tressel, Ohio State Wrap Up NCAA Infractions Hearing.”  12 August 2011.  Web.  26 October 2011. 

Wikipedia.  “Ohio State Buckeyes Football.”  26 October 2011.  Web.  26 October 2011. 

“The History of Ohio State Football.”  August 2011.  Web.  26 October 2011. 

“The Ohio State University Band- “Hang on Sloopy.”  Online Posting.  Youtube, 15 November 2007.  Web.  26 October 2011.  

“Jim Tressel Scandal Goes Deeper.”  Online Posting.  Youtube, 5 June, 2011.  Web.  26 October 2011. 

“Jim Tressel Leaves Ohio State.”  Online Posting.  Youtube, 5 June 2011.  Web.  26 October 2011.  

FERRANTE, LAUREN. "Two For One: How The NCAA Rules Do Not Adequately Address Package Deals And A Proposed Rule To Prohibit Them." Texas Review Of Entertainment & Sports Law 12.1 (2010): 77-89. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Nov. 2011.

Potuto, Josephine (Jo) R. "The NCAA Rules Adoption, Interpretation, Enforcement, And Infractions Processes: The Laws That Regulate Them And The Nature Of Court Review." Vanderbilt Journal Of Entertainment & Technology Law 12.2 (2010): 257-332. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Nov. 2011.


  1. 1.) Does the essay make a clear argument? Yes___ No____ If so, what is the argument as you interpret it? If not, what is your best guess?

    I feel as though this essay makes a couple of arguments. The arguments are whether or not the players are to blame, that Tressel isn't the only one to blame, and will Ohio State rebound from this controversy? I feel like for a topic like this you can have multiple arguments (believing & doubting).

    2.) Find on sentence that you think best describes the thesis of the blog essay.

    On December 23, 2010, Ohio State suspended five players, Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas for NCAA violations.

    3.) Based upon questions one and two, what are the supporting points that your partner offers to support their argument?

    The supporting points that are offered to gain support, are "the article", which gives good details on what happened, and the timeline. I also have the timeline on my blog, and I think it is a good support because it gives good details and dates.

    4.) Does the article provide plenty of level-1 abstractions (examples) to support their argument? If so, please list at your favorites.

    Yes, the videos that she has help her blog, and provides support to her argument. The video is in a good spot, and it helps seeing visuals to help support the argument.

    5.) Does the article provide a detailed history of the problem so that the reader clearly understands who was involved, what happened, where it happened, when and why?

    Yes, the timeline provides great detail, just make sure that you site it correctly.

    6.) Is the significance of all videos and images clearly explained in the essay? If not, make note of some examples.

    The videos aren't really explained, but they fit in good spots. For example, toward the bottom the video on Tressel is right after she writes about him, and helps give her writing some support.

    7.) Are their any claims in the essay that you are skeptical of? If so, why?

    No, I don't think any claims are skeptical.

    8.) Are there points in the essay that you found to be particularly persuasive? If so, why?

    I like the last paragraph, because it talks about rebuilding, but I think you could add more to the conclusion, and maybe talk about the team this year, and what's going on with their season. It is a blog, so it should be up to date.

  2. I definitely agree with my partner’s interpretation about my argument. I don’t think that he overlooked anything. It really helped a lot that we wrote about the same topic because it helped knowing that a lot of our information was the same, and we both highlighted the main points of the Ohio State scandal. What I need to revise is making my argument more blog like and less like an article.

    I really found my partner’s feedback helpful. It helped because he would have let me know if any of my information was wrong because we wrote about the same topic. Any type of feedback is always helpful; especially when you have someone giving you feedback on a topic you’re both interested in. It also helped when I was reading his blog because we had a lot of the same information, so it was good to know that I didn’t miss any of the main points for my argument.

    The first thing to revise in my essay is making sure I have everything cited correctly. I need to work on how to cite everything correctly for my blog, which I am a little confused on. The other thing I need to revise is trying to get more information about my topic and make sure that all the information matches up with other articles correctly. Also, I think it may help if I add an explanation of each video.

    My argument as I would define it would be did Jim Tressel get the punishment that he deserved. I have a few different smaller arguments, like should the players be the ones to blame and will Ohio State rebound from such a big scandal. However, the biggest argument I tried to focus on was Jim Tressel and how I think his punishment was too harsh.