A Matter of Priorities


Two scandals have blackened the eye of college football this summer. In the first, as many as thirteen University of North Carolina football players were caught selling limited edition shoes gifted to them by Nike and the school. For the egregious violation of NCAA rules and basically trying to make a little bit of money — since they don’t get PAID for putting their bodies on the line for UNC — these thirteen young men received punishments ranging from one to four game suspensions. They’ll have to sit on the sidelines for up to four games for selling their personal property.

The second scandal involved Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer III. A full explanation of the case involving Meyer is beyond the scope of my posting but here are the salient details. Basically, a guy named Zach Smith coached wide receivers for Ohio State. He also has a record of domestic violence towards his wife. After one episode, his wife told Meyer’s wife about the abuse and offered pictures. The upshot is Smith ended up fired from Ohio State and the question came up “what did Coach Meyer know and when did he know it?” He claimed he knew nothing about Smith’s past. An investigation by Ohio State took two weeks during which Meyer was suspended without pay. The investigation found something rotten in the state of Ohio and determined Meyer should be punished. For ignoring a man on his staff beating his wife, Meyer will be suspended for the first three games of this football season.

Let’s review. Young men in their late teens and early twenties who are football players sold their OWN stuff to a third party and some of them will be suspended FOUR games as punishment. A head football coach in his middle fifties ignored an assistant coach’s history of domestic violence and lied about it and he will be suspended THREE games as punishment.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but THREE is LESS than FOUR, I think. Math was never my best subject, but I’m pretty sure of this one. I’m also pretty sure criminal domestic violence is a more serious offense than selling one’s own property through legal channels.

In the parlance of this latest generation — WTF?

Sell your shoes and get suspended four games; ignore a man beating his wife and get suspended three games.

I’m gobsmacked by the complete failure of the system in this case, and lately, it takes A LOT to even mildly surprise me. My questions are why are the boys even being investigated and why isn’t Urban Meyer being fired as head coach?

In the name of full disclosure, let me just go on record as admitting I pretty much hate football. I went to a high school where football players were treated as demigods then I went to a college where they dropped the “demi” and just treated them like gods. It’s always turned my stomach. I don’t hate the players; I hate the game, just like the man said to do. Football players and coaches are just taking what life gives them; it’s the schools and the fans that are crazy.

Ohio State has a slogan painted on the wall of its practice facility for football. It says:




Is domestic violence treating women with respect? If you are the head coach of a multimillion dollar a year football team do you not have a responsibility to know what’s going on with your players AND YOUR COACHES? What good does it do to paint a slogan on the wall if, by your actions, you demean everything it stands for?

Let’s review, again. If you risk permanent physical or mental damage for your school twelve times in a year for three or four years, BUT someone else can take your place on the depth chart, you get a FOUR game suspension for selling your own shoes. On the other hand, if you get paid $38 MILLION to help your school bring in nearly $1 BILLION in sports revenue AND you’re considered the second or third greatest college football coach in the game, you can ignore your responsibility and LIE about it and you will only get suspended THREE games.

Something is broken in our country when our priorities are so distorted.

Love y’all and keep your feet clean.

PS: for much better explanations of what is going on at both schools, I’ve got three really good articles I’d suggest you read, if you can stand it. They explain things in much better detail.

Shoe Deals and Double Standards at North Carolina

Urban Meyer stays as Ohio State football coach, but he is diminished after investigation

Why Didn’t Ohio State Fire Urban Meyer?

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