The epic began modestly enough by today's porous standards. Some first teamers, including the team's ballyhooed quarterback, were outed for selling off some of their collectibles to a tattoo parlor owner in returned for tattoos. What followed was a frantic goal line stand by the team's iconic freshly-groomed coach, Jim Tressel - a prayerful Mr. Clean - who had been respectfully esteemed as a Michigan beater as well as the way his teams clobbered a lot of other opponents.
It's a messy departure from the standard press box image that has led to player suspensions, reports of Tressel's use of ineligible players and a lot of seesawing by OSU President G. Gordon Gee, who couldn't quite find the proper words to make the issue go away. To make matters worse, OSU agreed to convert the $3.5 million coach's resignation into a normal retirement and drop Gee's avowed plan for a $250,000 fine while setting up a $50,000-plus retirement "bonus" for the besieged coach - the last month of his base pay. .
The current fallout will leave lengthy scars. Last season's winning season, including its Sugar Bowl victory, will be purged from the record books. There there will be other penalties when the NCAA issues its verdict in August. But that may be a good thing. It would be a healthy improvement, not only for Big Daddy OSU, which dominates all of Ohio's collegiate sports, but for other schools where sports have taken over the campus brand, by hook or crook.
That's probably wishing too much. But it's a thought that a few schools may try to live by to avoid the disgrace that attends Scarlet and Gray. How easy it would have been for the OSU front office to escape the worst consequences if Gee, Tressel and their enablers would have honestly taken charge of the situation at the outset instead of trying to run out the clock. After all, real pros don't panic.