"I love Ohio State. You know, I learned a lot and I had a lot of fun there and I met a lot of friends there. I love the place. It's unfortunate that I let the fans down for making the dumb mistake I made when I was 18. "
All week long Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises has been releasing a series of interviews related to the "Tatgate" scandal. He has spoken with Gordon Gee, Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, and more. Today it was Terrelle Pryor's turn. Pryor talked at length about the scandal, the fallout, his life since, and his desire to get back in the good graces of the University and its fans.
Though five players (and one head coach) were implicated in the scandal, Pryor was its face. It was still a year or two before public sentiment would swing from "How could he do that?" to "Why is the NCAA allowed to prevent him from doing that?" and the outspoken Pryor was an easy target. Fans who had spent the last three years cheering him pivoted so fast that even Pryor must have had trouble keeping up. Still, if he harbors any bitterness, Pryor isn't showing it, instead using the article to take responsibility for his actions and reaffirm his love for Ohio State (Pryor mentions funding a scholarship when his 5-year "disassociation" is up).
Pryor is and will remain one of the more complicated figures in the history of Ohio State football, and time will tell if the university and its fans will ever welcome him back into the fold. However, if history is any indication, I wouldn't bet against it. Cris Carter hired an agent a year early causing his dismissal. Ohio State went 6-4-1 that season and Earle Bruce was fired. Now it's almost as if nobody remembers that it happened. He's the Hall-of-Fame ESPN personality who never did a single thing but catch touchdown passes. We all know Maurice Clarett's story. He went from a blue-chip, sure-thing prospect and national champion to a traitor and a punch-line. Now, almost a decade after committing NCAA violations that resulted in a suspension that may have cost Ohio State a national championship, publicly accusing Ohio State of NCAA violations, and spending several years in prison, he's an in-demand public speaker and Buckeye fans are paying him for his autograph. It may take time, but Buckeye fans have proven willing to forgive and forget, especially if you've beaten Michigan.
"O'Bannon and his attorneys aren't just trying to prove that pay is irrelevant; they're arguing that even under the NCAA's current model, academics are not prioritized."
In what is sure to be one of the biggest off-the-field stories in the history of college sports, the O'Bannon v. NCAA trial began today. According to Trahan, in their opening arguments, "O'Bannon and his legal team set out to prove that the NCAA is illegally profiting off of athletes' likenesses without giving the athletes a fair cut of the profits."
This is a complicated case and the judge will be weighing a variety of different factors. Trahan's article does an excellent job of laying them out. It's a must-read for anyone who wants a good, solid overview of the cases that both the plaintiff and the defendant's lawyers will be arguing.
For the better part of the last few years, we've heard rumblings that change is coming to the NCAA. Depending on the outcome of this lawsuit, the change could be imminent and it could be seismic. Only time will tell.
"Discover and Tostitos have told ESPN that they are ending their title sponsorship of playoff bowl games."
Never again will two college football teams play for "all of the Tostitos." The chip maker and long-time sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl has decided to end its sponsorship deal. Discover, sponsor of the Orange Bowl, has decided to do the same.
Capital One is expected to take over sponsorship of the Orange Bowl, but the Fiesta Bowl has yet to snag a new advertising partner. Sponsorship rates, which were raised from the $15-20 million range to $25 million, may have been behind Tostitos' departure, but the company won't say.
Add to these two departures Vizio's decision to stop sponsoring the Rose Bowl (Northwestern Mutual will take over) and three of the four "BCS" bowls will have new sponsors when the College Football Playoff begins.
"After having to replace all four starters on the defensive line last season, Ohio State may have the top defensive line in the country."
It's been an off-season of accolades for the Ohio State defensive line. This weekend, it received another as BTN's Sean Merriman named the group the "Big Ten's Best Unit." Just behind the Buckeye linemen were the Nebraska running backs and Michigan State's defensive line.
Ohio State's defensive line was the school's only unit to make the top ten list.
STICK TO SPORTS
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- This is how you properly deal with defeat.