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Problems are affecting Buckeyes’ lineup

October 7, 2011
By BETTY POKAS - Buckeye Blitz ( , Times Leader

THE ABSENCES of running back Dan Herron and wide receiver DeVier Posey from the Buckeye line-up for Saturday's game with the Nebraska Cornhuskers led OSU head football coach Luke Fickell to quote three points of wisdom from legendary basketball coach John Wooden - "Don't whine, don't complain and don't make excuses."

In my opinion, OSU athletic director Gene Smith should follow Wooden's advice about excuses.

During a news conference Monday about the recent problems involving overpayment for summer work by Herron, Posey and Marcus Hall, Smith blamed it all on the athletes, former head football coach Jim Tressel and major booster Bobby DiGeronimo of the Cleveland area.

Regardless of all Smith's finger-pointing now as well as previously, I still contend that Tressel, who admitted some wrongdoing, was sacrificed as a scapegoat for all of OSU's football irregularity woes.

In an address to the faculty this week, OSU President E. Gordon Gee reported the university is "the poster child for compliances, and whenever we discover a possible infraction, we resolve and report it to the NCAA, no matter how minor the violation."

Smith also has Gee's backing. As reported in The Columbus Dispatch, Gee said, "I think we are blessed to have an extraordinarily talented athletic director who has proven his mettle through an extraordinarily tough time."

Gee also noted there have been growing calls for Smith's firing, but he doesn't blame the athletic director for what happened.

(Wonder if Smith recalls his and Gee's support of Tressel in the March press conference this year? To hear them talk at that time, the coach was headed for sainthood or, at least, was more powerful than the OSU board of trustees who had the power to fire Gee. In March, Gee said that he'd be lucky if the coach didn't fire him.)

Smith's and Gee's comments indicate the compliance office is as virtuous as "Little Goody Two-Shoes." Smith said the recent incidents are "not a systemic failure of compliance."

Regarding the compliance office's activity or lack thereof, one would think that Smith would do well to recall the words of Jesus: "And why behold the mote (speck) that is in thy brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

After all, The Associated Press reported, "Smith (during Monday's press conference) declined to answer a question about why Ohio State has not looked closer at DiGeronimo and his relationship with players." Because of the recent happenings, DiGeronimo has been disassociated from OSU's athletic program after years of being a friend of the Buckeyes and a major OSU fan.

The players involved in the latest irregularity didn't register the jobs with the university. (Undoubtedly, they didn't let Tressel know about them either. Did they obtain the jobs before or after he was forced out?)

In June, The Columbus Dispatch reported Ohio State withheld records of about 5,000 phone calls and text messages made by Tressel and Smith between April 2010 and March 2011 on the grounds those records were personal. On April 2, 2010, Tressel received the first email about the potential NCAA violations.

The two men were permitted to identify the personal calls. According to the newspaper article, a Cleveland attorney, specializing in public-access law, said it's questionable for government officials to allow employees to determine which information will be kept from the public.

In my opinion, it's questionable that we'll ever know the whole story about the seemingly never-ending problems, which unfortunately included the retirement of one of OSU's greatest coaches.


FICKELL is taking a positive attitude regarding Posey's and Herron's absences from the game Saturday.

He commented, "How many times have we said, we are going to focus on what we have, not what we don't have and focus on moving forward. So that's what we have to do."...

NEBRASKA, which is new to the Big Ten, has a 0-1 record in the Big Ten, and its overall record this year is 4-1.

Its wins were over Chattanooga, 40-7; Fresno State, 42-29; Washington, 51-38; and Wyoming, 38-14.

The Cornhuskers were defeated last week when the Wisconsin Badgers won 48-17...

THE CORNHUSKERS' head football coach Bo Pelini is an OSU graduate, who was a four-year letter winner for the Buckeyes from 1987-90 and a two-year starter at free safety for OSU.

He served as team co-captain in 1990. His assistant coaching experience includes work at one high school, four universities and with three NFL teams.

He served as interim head coach at Nebraska in 2003 when the Cornhuskers defeated Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl.

During his work as head coach, Nebraska beat Clemson 26-21 in the Gator Bowl and defeated Arizona in the 2009 Holiday Bowl, but lost to Washington, 10-4, last year in the Holiday Bowl...

OSU REMAINS unranked, but Nebraska currently is 14th in The Associated Press poll and 15th in the USA Today rankings...

THIS MARKS the third time that the two teams have played, and OSU has been victorious both times. Both were season-openers and occurred during the Woody Hayes years...

SATURDAY'S game, which will be in Lincoln, Neb., will be televised by ABC and is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., ET.



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