There's a new book coming out that promises to shed some light on what things are really like behind the scenes of NCAA football. "The System: the Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football" will be released on September 17, 2013, and apparently includes a thorough revisit of Tattoo-gate, the scandal Ohio State fans remember all too well.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel, the book includes transcripts of the NCAA interviews with former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel which essentially sealed Tressel's fate. Also included are transcripts of NCAA interviews with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith regarding his handling of a situation involving student-athletes receiving overpayment for services rendered to an athletic booster's companies. Smith insists that he was forceful with the booster, Bobby DiGeronimo, about the overpayment, eventually banning DiGeronimo from any contact with student-athletes. DiGeronimo, for what it's worth, vehemently denies any such conversations occurred.
For Ohio State fans, perhaps the most interesting bit of information in Dan Wetzel's preview of the book is an indication that the NCAA may not have been entirely fair in their investigation and subsequent sanctions against Ohio State. For example, Wetzel says that the book suggests that the NCAA overlooked evidence that wide receiver DeVier Posey was overpaid by DiGeronimo, but only by $3.07. That's three dollars and seven cents. The decimal point is in the correct place. According to NCAA rules, that amount should not warrant a five game suspension, but that is what Posey received.
The NCAA publicly stated that Posey's five game suspension, which was imposed in addition to the five game suspension Posey received for his involvement in the infamous memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal, was for accepting overpayment in the amount of $728, not $3.07. At the time, Posey's attorney, Larry James, called the overpayment allegations "patently false," and insisted that he had hard evidence proving that Posey, as well as running back Dan Herron, offensive lineman Marcus Hall and defensive lineman Melvin Fellows, had worked the hours for which they had been paid. Per ESPN.com, James said at the time the suspension was issued, "Even if we were to concede where there might be holes, less than five hours are in dispute. That takes them under 100 bucks. In DeVier Posey's situation, (the NCAA) just absolutely disregarded evidence that any person with common sense would accept. Why they did it, I do not know."
The book, written by noted author and Sports Illustrated.com contributor Jeff Benedict, and current lead reporter for "60 Minutes Sports" Armen Keteyian, also includes in-depth looks at some other scandalous situations within the NCAA, such as Tennessee's "hostess" system, in which pretty co-eds were encouraged to flirt with recruits to convince them to commit to the program; the University of Missouri's practice of pairing football and basketball student-athletes with pretty college girls for tutoring, which led to, in one case, a sexual assault; and some firsthand perspective on the Texas Tech/Mike Leach drama.
It's not all scandal and intrigue, either. There is reportedly a fun look behind the scenes of ESPN's College GameDay, and much more in this comprehensive look at NCAA football from two fans of the game.
It may not be fun for Buckeye fans to relive the dark days of Tattoo-Gate and everything that came after, but an in-depth look at how the investigation and subsequent sanctions imposed on Ohio State football were handled by the NCAA may be worth a read. After we get our hands on it, we'll have more on this for certain.