Jerry Sandusky was the infamous creep of a man who’s in prison for sexually abusing hundreds of boys while coaching linebackers at Penn State University when legendary Head Coach Joe Paterno was in charge. Here in Minnesota, Jay Robinson, one of the greatest wrestling coaches in school history, allowed his wrestlers to sell pain pills – yes, drugs – for profit. He was forced out. At Michigan State University, hundreds of women athletes and others were sexually abused by Larry Nassars, the longtime monster head trainer at the BIG (i.e., Big Ten) school.
As if that weren’t enough trouble for the NCAA, its coaching scandals continue to spread.
Athletes, remember, have from the beginning generated millions of dollars for NCAA member schools’ athletic programs annually under the guise of amateurism. NCAA men’s basketball and the tournament are very popular and generates billions of dollars each year in revenue.
Each year the NCAA collects on the backs of basketball players’ talents. Same thing for the many college football players and the revenue-generating sacrifices they make for bowl games and college football season and playoffs and national championship games.
When athletes get in trouble they are usually abandoned and get suspended, but people like Sandusky, Nassars, and others just get replaced. No government relations – just get the athletes in, give them scholarships, and then let them play and charge the fans and sell the sponsors.
Ohio State – yes, another BIG school – is now in the spotlight for domestic abuse charges against Zach Smith, ex-wide receiver coach, fired by Urban Meyers last week. There was a long history of domestic abuse dating back to 2015, including domestic incidents and police reports and pleas for help.
If Meyer’s wife was told by Zach Smith’s ex-wife about the abuse, as has been reported, Meyer too could be fired if he covered up for his coach since 2015. So one of the game’s greatest head coaches, Meyer, is on the hot seat as well.
He’s been placed on paid administrative leave while the school investigates when Meyer knew and what he did or did not do once he was aware. Meyer claimed on Twitter he told his athletic director Gene Smith, but at the Big Ten meetings in Chicago last week he said on the record he did not know.
So many have just kept quiet while the heat boils over. The government has a responsibility to sanction and enforce guidelines for these schools and not to have two sets of rules, one for athletes and another for coaches and administrators. Again, this is another absolute mess, just like the others at BIG schools like Penn State, Michigan State and Minnesota.
Should the conference consider death penalties for these athletic programs?
In two weeks, Ohio State will select a committee to investigate the situation and will decide on the fate of Meyer, who for years, even when he was head coach at Florida, allowed many of his athletes to slide on wrongdoings.