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Five Ohio State Players Suspended... But Not Right Now

The rumblings regarding several Ohio State players has indeed come to pass, and it involves several star players. Per ESPN:

Five Ohio State football players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, must sit out the first five games of the 2011 season for accepting improper benefits, the NCAA ruled Thursday.

A sixth football player must sit out the first game in 2011 for receiving discounted services in violation of NCAA rules.

All of the players be eligible for the Jan. 4 Allstate Sugar Bowl, however.

The benefits they received largely stem from the sale of memorabilia, specifically:

Pryor is the team's star, while Herron is the leading rusher and Posey is the second-leading receiver. Adams is a starter at left tackle and Thomas a top sub on the defensive line.

Pryor must repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, a 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants, a gift from the university.

Herron must repay $1,150 for selling his football jersey, pants and shoes for $1,000 and receiving discounted services worth $150.

Posey must repay $1,250 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,200 and receiving discounted services worth $50.

Adams must repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring.

Thomas must repay $1,505 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,000, his 2008 Gold Pants for $350 and receiving discounted services worth $155.

Once again, the NCAA is at its finest. The players allegedly did not receive adequate education, so they allow them to remain eligible for the biggest game of the year, but apparently the violations were so severe that they justified suspensions for the first five games of the 2011 season. In case you were wondering, Ohio State starts with an easy slate next season, as expected, that includes games against Akron, Toledo, Miami, Colorado, and closes with Michigan State, so the absolute worst case scenario probably puts them at 4-1.

Making matters even more absurd is that three of the players involved -- Pryor, Herron, and Posey -- are eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft, so they may just declare early for the Draft and never get punished in any way whatsoever for their violations. As you might expect, this decision and the continued leniency given to the "I didn't know" crowd by the NCAA has caused quite a bit of outrage. After all, why didn't they just delay A.J. Green's suspension to the 2011 season for committing the exact same violation? And, hell, why even punish 'Bama at all for Textbookgate? After all, none of those involved knew it was an NCAA violation, right? And we self-reported immediately just like Ohio State, so shouldn't we get a free pass as an institution just like they did?

Moral of the story: the NCAA has never made a whole hell of a lot of sense, and that is certainly not changing now.

Addendum: Can someone logically explain to me why in the hell does being champions of the Big Ten deserve a ring commemorating that "achievement"? We may as well starting handing out rings to kids who make their way through fourth grade. That's even less deserving than all of that "SEC West Co-Champions" swagger Tuberville used to pass out at Auburn. At absolute most, winning the Big Ten is deserving of a crappy screen-printed t-shirt from Cafe Press with a price limit of about $6.99 per shirt. Bottom line: If you don't give a bunch of kids something worth approximately one thousand dollars for winning a glorified midget fight, none of this is ever an issue in the first place.