bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: How exactly does college football put Jim Tressel in its Hall of Fame?

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Hall of Fames (Halls of Fame?) are kind of silly if you think about it. Similar to the Oscars and other awards shows, HoFs are ways for different sports to congratulate themselves. We are a society that likes lists, though, so we appreciate the fact that they tell us which players and coaches are worthy of this high honor.  The choices that are made can be perplexing sometimes, of course. A good example happened this week when Jim Tressel was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

You remember Jim Tressel, right? He was the head coach at Ohio State from 2001 to 2011. He won a national championship in 2002 and won six Big Ten titles during his time there. He also resigned in 2011 in disgrace after a scandal involving his players trading team memorabilia for tattoos. His real error was that he lied to the NCAA about his knowledge of the infractions. Reports showed that the stuff had been going on during his entire tenure at Ohio State, along with numerous other violations. The team was put on probation and was banned from postseason play for a year. Tressel was given a five year show-cause penalty, which essentially banned him from coaching a college team for that length of time.

The violations at Ohio State were nothing new for Tressel. Youngstown State, where he coached for 15 years before heading to Columbus, got in a lot of trouble during his stint there as well. Sure, he won four Division 1-AA championships with the Penguins, compiling a record of 135-57-2 between 1986 and 2000. He also saw the program sanctioned for a lack of institutional control after several scandals, the biggest one of which involved a quarterback taking money and cars from a booster, as well as jury tampering and other illegal activities.

Does this sound like someone that should be in the Hall of Fame? Was Tressel, now the president of Youngstown State, a great coach? Sure. I get that the Hall should be for people who excelled at their jobs and that off-the-field infractions should not necessarily preclude them from enshrinement. I think Pete Rose should be in baseball’s Hall of Fame, as he was one of the greatest players ever, and his gambling had nothing to do with that. However, Tressel is a different story. That five year show cause penalty is still in effect! It’s not like this is ancient history here.

I am not sure who makes these decisions, but someone should explain this. I’m baffled.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington and special teams player Ayele Forde were suspended from the National Championship game this week for failing a drug test. The drug was apparently marijuana. I personally think pot should be legal, but these guys had to know the NCAA rules and were wildly irresponsible for doing this now, at such a huge moment for their team.

3) The Bad News Bears, I mean the Cleveland Browns, are in the news for the wrong reasons yet again this week. This time, they are apparently being looked at for violating the NFL’s rules on electronic communication to the sidelines during games. No solid details have yet emerged, but it seems there was some texting going on that should not have been happening. I am interested to see what comes of this.

4) The passage of time and the changes in culture that happen regularly just seem to bypass some people. Karl Hess, an NCAA basketball referee, was fired by the ACC last week after he snarked back at a fan sitting courtside at the game between Wake Forest and Louisville last Sunday. The fan, an Atlanta CEO of Indian descent who was born in this country, was told, “When I’m older I want to sit in your seat & watch your Egyptian ass ref a game.” Classy.

5) Trent Richardson was a hell of a college football player, but he sure has been a mess in the pros. He was drafted third overall in the 2012 draft by the…wait for it…Cleveland Browns. After one decent, but not great, season in Cleveland, he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round draft pick. The trade was widely panned at the time, as Richardson had been fairly disappointing for the Browns, particularly since he was drafted with such a high pick. He has been even worse with the Colts, with his downward trend bottoming out this week, as he was deactivated for his team’s playoff game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

6) Tim Jennings, a cornerback for the Chicago Bears, was arrested for DUI on Wednesday in Georgia. I really wish the penalties for that would become more severe.

7) Last week, the Dallas Cowboys were recipients of a fabulously terrible call at the end of their game with the Detroit Lions, allowing them to move on in this year’s NFL playoffs. This week, a controversial call went the other way on them, removing what appeared to be a good chance at a late victory against the Green Bay Packers. The difference this time is that the call was correct, even if the actual rule itself is a very questionable one. Facing a fourth-and-two with under five minutes to play and down by five points, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw a pass on which Dez Bryant appeared to make an amazing play, catching it and falling down just shy of the goal line. A review showed that he did not “complete the process of the catch,” as he did not retain a grip on the ball once it hit the ground. He claimed he was reaching for the goal line, having already taken some steps, but those steps were ruled to be part of the catch-and-fall thing that was going on, as opposed to steps that came after a completed catch. Green Bay took over and was able to run out the remaining time on the clock.

Bonus) Watch this minor league hockey player clothesline himself coming off the ice. Priceless.

Good sports:

1) The North Dakota State football team won its fourth consecutive championship in Division 1-AA (FCS). This time, they beat Illinois State by a score of 29-27.

2) Buffalo Sabres goalie Michael Neuvirth made an unbelievable save against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. Check it out.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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