Note that the sextet will not miss the Sugar Bowl, because "the student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred" – even though the NCAA decided to dock a fifth game on top of the standard four-game suspension because the players "did not immediately disclose the violations when presented with the appropriate rules education."
— Whatever shred of credibility the NCAA had left after the Cam Newton saga is gone now, in the wake of the suspension of several key Ohio State players for games occurring after the Sugar Bowl
The alleged lack of "adequate rules education" (about which more anon) is an aggravating factor, not a mitigating one; if they didn't know, they should have known. Isn't that the precedent the NCAA set with A.J. Green and the other athletes who were sidelined earlier this season?
Regarding the absence of "adequate rules education," I'm sorry, but I call BS on that. In this environment, a student-athlete who says he didn't know not to sell his stuff is like a suspect in police custody who says he wasn't told his Miranda
rights. Dude, do you own a television? Every American who's watched a cop show in the last 30 years can recite the Miranda
warnings by heart, and every NCAA football player who's watched ESPN in the last six months knows you're not allowed to do this sort of thing.
This isn't baseball, where postseason games are treated as entirely different entities. Bowl games no longer are treated as exhibitions; bowl numbers count toward season statistics and bowl outcomes affect rankings and determine national championships. If I were an Ohio State fan preparing to watch the Buckeyes take on an SEC team in a bowl game, I might like to believe that bowl games aren't "real" games, but they are.
Athletes were declared ineligible and were given suspensions. Those suspensions ought to run from the point at which ineligibility was determined; if you're not eligible, and you must serve a suspension before becoming eligible again, you can't play a game prior to serving the suspension. The NCAA's excuse is totally bogus; ignorance of the law is no excuse, and, if it is, then why are they being suspended at all? The NCAA's cockamamie explanation reads like something out of Kafka or Lewis Carroll; all that is required to refute the Association's position is to state it aloud and stand back to watch it collapse under the weight of its own implausibility.
This is complete crap, and, if Ohio State wins the Sugar Bowl, there needs to be a great big asterisk next to the Buckeyes' glittering 1-9 record against the SEC in bowl games.
. . . and go Hogs!