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Celebrating OSU's Scandal: An Ode To College Football

It is a celebration, right? Most people, at least in our corner of the Internet, are tipping their caps to Yahoo Sports. And why not? In exactly 24 hours, they broke the news of a major NCAA rules violation and forced the school into taking action. It's the kind of scoop we all hope for and strive to. They got rock solid information (possibly including those now-famous emails) and showed it to the school three hours before going with it. The school inevitably withheld comment, partly because that's not enough time to throw together a unified response, and partly because a hopeful little voice told them maybe it wouldn't turn out to be that big a deal.

Obviously it was. A two game suspension for Jim Tressel, plus the program throws him under the bus by releasing emails distancing themselves from the situation. And this isn't going away even with the self-imposed punishment: we get to spend days and weeks debating Tressel's future while the NCAA goes through its own re-investigation.


And no, it's not a black eye on the part of those investigators, not even when "the 12 man Yahoo Sports department is more effective at uncovering major violations than the entire NCAA." We shouldn't expect the NCAA to catch everyone, and besides: the entertainment value is supreme when they do. Admit it. We love this. College football, in March, on the front pages of the big news sites. (Not incidentally, for the last four months that honor belonged to Cam Newton.) Don't be afraid of ashamed to revel in it: Scandal!

For whatever the reasons — misguided morality, the can't-look-away car wreck factor, or just old-fashioned pleasure in the humiliation of other schools — scandals are a big part of the appeal of college sports. Arcane rules and inconsistent policing make for situations that just can't happen in a pro sport. Absurd scenes like a school president actually telling the assembled media that he would never think of dismissing his maverick coach: "Are you kidding me? I just hope the coach doesn't dismiss me."

Everyone will get over OSU's problems by the start of next season. We always do with these sorts of things, then move on to the next one. And if there's no pro football, especially if there's no pro football, we'll keep turning to college for year-round entertainment like this.

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