The Tattooed Five will be back in Columbus next year, per an agreement with Jim Tressel, who will teach the players a hard lesson about not paying for stuff by bringing them back for another year of unpaid football.
I really can't think of a better way for this dumb saga to end than with Tressel's demanding this pledge as a condition of their appearing in the Sugar Bowl — in effect, extorting another season out of Terrelle Pryor and his pals.
Tressel said he wanted to make sure that the players wouldn't "skirt the consequences" by playing in the Sugar Bowl, then declaring for the NFL draft and avoiding any punishment.
Aside from the fact that punishing a college athlete who took stuff by returning him to school is like punishing Willie Sutton by returning him to the Corn Exchange, and aside from the fact that Ohio State is sparing Terrelle Pryor the far-crueler fate of his declaring and then going undrafted with an ESPN camera in his den, and aside from the fact that the players' promise is pretty obviously meaningless, as it should be — aside from that, this is all very sound thinking. Especially this part:
"A number of people reached out as we've been dealing with this thing maybe to calm my thinking or whatever, and one thing said was, 'Keep in mind, Coach, you're dealing with a different generation. Back when you were growing up one guy got a trophy, maybe, and now you're dealing with a generation that if you were on the team and you were 7 years old, everyone got a trophy. Maybe this generation doesn't understand the value of awards like we did,' " Tressel said.
Yes, the current generation's distaste for bling and other tokens of individual achievement has been well documented. Also? DeVier Posey somehow sold his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,200. If there's anyone in this transaction who doesn't understand the value of awards, it's the guy who paid more than a grand for tacky used jewelry.