Winning cures all — even if you cheat
Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 16:04
Confetti swirled down and around two men in the middle of their own violations and scandals, as Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith handed Jim Calhoun his trophy. It was an apt scene during the celebration of UConn's victory over Butler.
Winning cures everything.
A doctor among nurses, a miracle worker among common men, winning has the unique ability to make us forget, forgive and feel better. UConn's Jim Calhoun is winning's latest patient. Winning is Ohio State University's Jim Tressel's biggest supporter.
As Americans, we love winners. If you're not first, you're last, right? And if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying.
Calhoun and Tressel can certainly attest to that.
Earlier this season, allegations of recruiting violations fell down on the 68-year-old Calhoun's shoulders and questions about his return began. He apparently condoned the paying of players by agents in the recruiting process.
After defeating Butler 53-41 in the National Championship, he now has the green light to return next season.
The punishment for his actions is laughable. Calhoun is banned for the first three Big East games next season if he returns and incurs a reduction in scholarships.
According to The New York Times, Jeff Hathaway, UConn's athletic director said, "I don't know whether it's his last [championship] or not … he is what we all knew he was, a great basketball coach."
Thank goodness he won. Thank goodness the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, Kemba Walker, took the team on his back, because if they didn't win, maybe Calhoun's future would not be so comfortable.
Jim Tressel's story is similar, yet even more disturbing. He clearly violated NCAA rules by covering up a scandal dealing with five of his star players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Tressel did not make his players sit in the Sugar Bowl. In fact, according to Fox Sports, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan even lobbied to have them play.
After failing to address the players himself, Tressel covered up the violations from Smith and University President Gordon Gee and lied to NCAA investigators.
He received a meager five-game suspension next season from the university.
Neither Smith nor Gee have taken any further action to punish him, and it does not seem as if they will. The NCAA has not taken action either.
In a sports landscape where coaches are fired all the time for losing, coaches who cheat and win are retained and even rewarded. Fourteen football coaches were fired after this past season, 13 for losing (one for legal troubles). Tressel has a nice job and a nicer pay check (about $3.5 million a year).
It is time that coaches are held to a proper standard. Both coaches overlooked obvious violations in the name of winning. It is apparent that their respective universities will not fire them, so it is up to the NCAA to do the right thing and punish these coaches properly.
If they give them a pass, they will be sending a message to everyone, including other coaches and athletic directors, that if you cheat and win, you're clear.