Man, the drama surrounding Ohio State is starting to play out like a plot from The Young & the Restless.
It truly is sad to see the legacy at Ohio State become tarnished by a few individuals. Since December, we watched the NCAA suspend the “Tat Five” for the first 5 games of next season; Jim Tressel came under intense scrutiny and eventually resigned, and now OSU’s star quarterback Terrelle Pryor has apparently decided to forgo his senior season down in Columbus. Rumors are circulating around that former players, dating all the way back to 2002 (during OSU’s BCS Championship season), were also involved with selling memorabilia for tattoos. However at this moment all of that is just hearsay; though what we do know is that Terrelle Pryor is a guilty party and he’s come under a lot of heat recently; especially considering the fact that his poor off-the-field decision-making ultimately led to Coach Tressel’s resignation.
And if you weren’t already aware, Football in the state of Ohio is KING and Ohio State University is like a football MECCA to Ohioans. There’s a lot of history and tradition in Columbus. Some of the greatest athletes to ever play the game wore an OSU jersey at one point in time. It’s the same place where Woody Hayes became an iconic figure…
Even before all this mess hit the fan, Jim Tressel was regarded as one of the elite coaches in college football. Tressel was a respected leader who seemed to do everything by the books. Hell, I doubt if the man has ever cursed in his life. Anyway, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Pryor and his knucklehead teammates messed up big-time and I’m sure he lost some support from OSU fans as a result.
Can you imagine if OSU had headed into the offseason with a Sugar Bowl loss? I’m sure people would blame the “Tat Five” situation for the defeat. I just think it would be an even bigger distraction heading into next season. But again, I completely understand why Pryor decided not to come back next season, and I actually think it was one of the most selfless things he could have ever done. It definitely would have been a huge distraction, not only for him, but also for his teammates if he decided to play out his senior season. Assuming he’d be named the starter after his suspension was served, Pryor would be under extreme pressure from the fans. I’m also sure the media would over-analyze his every move and put him under intense microscope. I just can’t see any college athlete succeeding in that sort of environment, even if he considered himself a “PRO.”
Now while I think it’s a good idea for him to leave (for his team’s sake), I don’t know how successful he’ll be at the next level. At about 6’6” and 240 pounds, Pryor is a strong, athletic quarterback. He seemed to improve after each season at Ohio State and completed 65% of his passes in 2010. However, doubts still remain about his ability to be effective at the next level. Many analysts feel Pryor will have to change positions in order to make an NFL roster (that is, if we ever have an NFL again). But I’m not so quick to rule out Pryor as a QB however his journey certainly won’t be an easy one. Again, I applaud Pryor for doing the right thing and leaving Columbus but at the end of the day I just wonder if receiving those free tattoos was truly worth it?