Doing the right thing is a simple enough concept. People are raised to know the difference between right or wrong. Yet more often than not people will decide to do what benefits them the best whether it’s the right thing or not.
The NCAA recently suspended five players from The Ohio State University football team amongst allegations of selling awards they received as players.
According to the NCAA, players are not allowed to do this. These players claimed they were not aware of such rules but it’s their responsibility to know and follow the rules.
The NCAA while trying to do “the right thing” seems to have tried to put what’s best for them into the mix. The ruling against the players was that they could play in their upcoming bowl game but would be suspended the first five games of the following season.
A major bowl game brings in millions of dollars for the teams and the NCAA. Four of the players suspended were offensive starters so keeping them out of the game would have definitely affected the outcome (Ohio State won with the game coming down to the wire.).
Ratings and attendance might have gone down and the NCAA wanted no part of that. So instead they levied a suspension of almost half the season for the crime of selling their own property.
This is ridiculous. In 2005 a player was suspended two games for taking $500 from a booster which is not allowed and is a far better known rule in college athletics.
The current players are suffering harsher punishment for a rule most people didn’t know existed. The Ohio State players were definitely wrong for what they did but the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
The NCAA is trying to make up for their selfishness by imposing a punishment that is way to harsh.
The shining light in this mess is Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Tressel could have done what was best for him and just let the players play and if they wanted to leave for the NFL draft and skip their suspensions next year he could let them.
But Jim Tressel is known not just for his ability to coach football but for his integrity and passion for the development of young minds.
So instead of doing what was easy, he did what was right. Tressel demanded that if his players were not going to face the consequences of their actions then they couldn’t play in the bowl game. And those players took a page out their coach’s book and all committed to come back next year.
Most people would take the easy way out but these kids did the right thing and that is commendable.
The right thing is not always the easy thing but it’s the right thing and while people make mistakes it’s a good sign that there are still people out there that will own up to them and face the consequences of their actions head on.
What a game it would be if all coaches coached with the same integrity.