Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IF OSU WANTS TO TRULY SAVE FACE, PRYOR MUST BE SHOWN THE DOOR

Terrelle Pryor
(The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
COLUMBUS — The now infamous six Ohio State football players that were pointed out to the NCAA last winter for selling personal merchandise and memorabilia will always be linked to the university and its athletic department.

After Jim Tressel was shown the door by willfully resigning, it’s now an opportune time to save face with the public, and most importantly, Buckeye fans.

With Tressel axed and Luke Fickell taking over interim head coaching duties, the majority of Buckeye Nation is currently left with a sour taste in its mouth. Sure, the legendary coach that students, fans and alumni had grown so fond of has left in the worst way possible, but the true error in all of this is the newly fresh face of Ohio State football:

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Now that the Vest is terminated, Pryor is now undoubtedly the new image of the program. And that’s something that cannot be acceptable.

Pryor, one of the six players (and according to a Sports Illustrated investigative piece, much more) who swapped ‘graphs’ for ‘tats,’ is not exactly your model student-athlete. Reports have surfaced that Pryor received multiple cars and benefits during his time in Columbus and that the NCAA is in the process of
separately investigating these allegations.

Pryor has shown his immaturity in the past from his quotes on the Michael Vick situation to publically slamming former OSU quarterback Kirk Herbstreit.

With Pryor being suspended for the first five games of his senior season, it gives him a legitimate shot at becoming the program’s all-time leader in several statistical passing categories. The last thing Ohio State needs down the road is to look back and see Pryor’s name dominate both the school’s record books and the school’s history of NCAA violations.

I don’t want it to seem as though I’m targeting Pryor. It’s obvious to anybody who has followed this situation over the previous few months that dozens of people are at fault and to place the blame solely on one person is impossible.

Now the Buckeyes must look toward the future, both on and off the field. Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller looks to receive most of the snaps this fall, so giving Pryor the job back really doesn’t provide a positive outcome since his return to Ohio Stadium on October 29 will almost certainly be a shower of boos.

Cleaning house is exactly how it sounds. Tressel's departure has triggered an inevitable cleanup in Columbus. It’s come to a point where Ohio State has to disassociate with everybody connected with the scandel to save whatever face it has left, and with Tressel gone the next domino to fall should be Pryor.