Blame it on the Tigers
The Auburn football program should be first on the NCAA Infractions Committee's to-do list, although it's like trying to decide which is worse: Milli or Vanilli. History is against the Tigers. Auburn has been near the top of the list of schools with major NCAA infractions since the early 1950s.
The recent allegations by former Auburn players that they were paid to play just brings the program back into the spotlight. This comes right after the school spent most of last season vehemently denying allegations that its star quarterback, Cam Newton, had been involved in his version of a pay-for-play scandal involving Mississippi State.
While we live in a society in which you are innocent until proven guilty, it doesn't take Matlock to figure out that the facts are starting to stack against the school, its football program and its players.
Proof is out there
Both are potential felonies, so let's hope the investigators don't snooze on either case. But here's the difference: We think Auburn has misbehaved, while we know Ohio State has been up to no good.
Coach Jim Tressel still has failed to come clean, at least publicly, on many issues surrounding the email that alerted him to his players selling awards and gifts in exchange for cash and tattoo discounts. Instead, damaging details keep trickling out like a toxic leak.
And how about Terrelle Pryor's Hot Wheels? He has been pulled over three times for traffic violations in the last three years, according to the Columbus Dispatch, and each time with a loaner car registered to a car salesman or dealership.
Ohio State says it investigated and uncovered no wrongdoing. Given the school's credibility, that means nothing.
Why not go after both?
Los Angeles Times
This is not an either/or proposition. The NCAA should look at both programs. Here's hoping it takes fewer than the four years needed to investigate USC. With Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton scrambling off to the pros a la Reggie Bush, history says mining anything in that continuing probe could prove difficult. But the allegations that former players made on HBO's "Real Sports" last week obviously require follow-up.
Several of those players were on the team when Gene Chizik, the Tigers' current head coach, was a Tigers assistant. That might be a good place to start.
There doesn't appear to be a whole lot of guesswork involved with the Ohio State situation(s). A paper trail of emails has already come to light and Jim Tressel and all the other principals are still in Columbus. Tressel increased his self-imposed suspension from two to five games. Is the NCAA going to settle for that?
The Morning Call
The NCAA suits should take the first red-eye to Columbus. People I know and trust who've been involved in college sports for decades have been telling me for years about how Ohio State's most egregious violations never get exposed. No one is willing to go on the record, but deep down I suspect they're right and are not exaggerating.
This latest incident with coach Jim Tressel covering up illegal benefits to players is something Ohio State doesn't want anyone to poke with a stick. Yet Ohio State insulted everyone's intelligence by originally suspending Tressel only for nonleague games against Akron and Toledo — teams even I could coach the Buckeyes to wins over if I parachuted in on game day. That alone merits a full investigation.
Now excuse me while I get sick.