Everyone knows a Buckeye. They’re hard to miss. Their scarlet and grey jerseys, their love for all things Columbus and their unwavering pride for their football program.
Well, these days, their pride is wavering.
Ohio State football is, to put it politely, a mess. With head coach Jim Tressel stepping down, multiple players suspended for trading school paraphernalia for tattoos, and their star quarterback skipping town in his brand new Nissan, it’s hard for any Buckeye fan to turn on Sportscenter without wincing.
As a result, I thought it might be interesting to pick the brain of one of the biggest Buckeye fans I know. You guys know him as Croshere.
Croshere and I have been friends for about fifteen years. Thanksgivings past, we’d commiserate over turkey and bourbon as Steve Spurrier would lose to the Seminoles and John Cooper would lose to the Wolverines.
For years, we wondered how our two, storied football programs never met in a game of any consequence. We all know how that turned out. Croshere and I even traveled to Atlanta to see the Buckeyes play the Gators in the 2007 National Championship game, with passersby looking at us aghast, wondering how a Gator and a Buckeye could be such close friends under the circumstances.
This interview is not to suggest that Croshere has his finger on the pulse of Buckeye Nation, but as an alumnus of the university, I’m guessing his disappointment over the current state of his program pretty well encapsulates the feelings of millions of Buckeye fans nationwide.
So without further ado, I give to you Croshere, bewildered Buckeye.
SportsChump: Before we begin, Croshere, please give our readers a bit of your background so they know you’re not just some fair-weather Buckeye fan.
Croshere: I must say my Buckeye/Tressel credentials are fairly impeccable. I say this as I set my cocktail down on my Ohio State coaster, set my Buckeye key chain down on the counter, and alas, put on my Buckeye slippers to have a smoke and prepare this response.
I am a 1994 graduate of Thee Ohio State University, having grown up in Youngstown. My sister stayed at home and went to YSU. Football seasons for me at that time were a combination of attending Jimmy T’s 1AA titles and lamenting disappointing John Cooper losses. When I found out the sweater vest was going to be taking over the ‘big program,’ it was unspeakable joy! Ten years later, we have reached this moment, and I am more than happy to share my thoughts.
SportsChump: By ‘impeccable credentials,’ I’m assuming you mean cleaner than the way your head coach, athletic director and quarterback have run your program into the ground.
You know I love you, man, and mean to cast no aspersions. This sort of thing could happen to any school where college football brings in countless millions of dollars. But since you’re in the midst of it, I wanted to get your thoughts while this was all fresh… and stinging.
Every morning I turn on ESPN, there’s footage of Terrelle Pryor driving around town in a car which we know he can’t afford. How much of this do you lay on Tressel? How much on the AD? How much on the players or boosters?
With all the pressure that’s put on schools to win and win now, how surprising is it that any of this has happened, quite unfortunately to your alma mater?
Croshere: I think everyone who made a bad choice to hurt Buckeye Nation has their own separate level of accountability. Most responsibility is with Jimmy T. When you take over a program, you become the face of it, good or bad. Having knowledge of violations and not reporting them is similar to driving home drunk. Most people do it, it goes undetected 99% of the time. When you do get pulled over, you can’t act like you don’t deserve the DUI.
The players, ah… the players. 18-22 year old demigod’s handed some trinkets (or Porsches) for the millions they bring to the university. I would love to get on my high horse and say that if they saw the big picture, they would want to have the memorabilia they sold for themselves when they were older. Then I harkened back to the days at Drackett Tower on north campus. The days of Ramen noodles and Keystone Light, and the constant struggle to keep enough of both. It would be hard to think I would have passed on $1000 for a ring of any sort. That is, after all, a ton of noodles and beer. The players are the easiest to understand, but still they know the risks when they decide to break the rules, and have to accept the consequences.
The AD goes under the Tressel rule as well. Knowing what is going on and doing nothing is playing with fire. Even knowing your coach knows about violations puts you in danger.
College sports have gotten to a difficult point. What started out decades ago as intercollegiate extra-curricular activity, has now become a billion dollar industry. Asking the players who put on the whole show to not get a cut somehow has become virtually impossible. There will always be players who refused to be sold on the morality of performing for free. These will also be the most talented players in a lot of cases, so coaches that don’t recruit them will miss out on this talent. These coaches will more than likely be less successful than those who do get the player on the take.
SUCKS WE GOT CAUGHT!!!!!!!!
SportsChump: Well, one question I had planned on asking you was “Do you think Pryor will return to Columbus?” Obviously a lot can happen in a week. Pryor left school, issued a half-assed apology, hired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent and has declared for the supplemental draft.
How do you think he’ll fare as a pro, do you even care and where does he rank on your Maurice Clarett scale?
Croshere: Let’s take a couple steps back.
Clarett committed armed robbery. TP’s not even on the Clarett radar.
We all know what the apology does from a tactical media perspective. I will not pretend that I know what level of remorse is in his heart for Jimmy T. I don’t. Could he and Rosenhaus be sitting in front of a laptop with Monty Burns-like evil grins? Yes. Could I see him teary-eyed, hugging the sweater-vest eyeing the samurai sword? Yes. I just don’t know the guy personally.
When Clarett terrorizes another human being at gunpoint, that says, I will pull a Costanza, and step on kids if I think there is a fire. (Hope everyone remembers that episode). When Pryor sells some memorabilia or takes the borrowed cars he is offered, it’s irresponsible, but not the same as robbing someone for them.
All of that said, the extent to which I care what happens to him is minimal. I wouldn’t spite him, and in fact, would lean towards supporting his potential NFL career. By supporting, I mean, still thinking it’s cool when he says ‘THEE’ Ohio State University before Sunday Night Football.
How he does depends a lot on where he ends up and how hard he works. I don’t see him as too much more of a crapshoot than Cam Newton, and some bright franchise that shall remain nameless decided to spend their number one pick on him. That pick ignited a QB draft panic that suddenly made Christian Ponder elite NFL material. I think someone will give him a shot, just a matter of what he does with it really.
SportsChump: One could argue that Pryor held Buckeye Nation at gunpoint, but we’ll leave it at that. So Luke Fickell is now your man, huh? Are you okay with that selection? And what was your take on all the bogus Urban Meyer rumors? Wouldn’t that eerily be like dating an ex-girlfriend of mine?
Croshere: I would say Meyer would be more like marrying your ex-wife at my house of worship.
As far as the coach, I think a young guy who came from the program is a great direction. Once again with Pryor, do I wish we were heading in to fall with no scandal, Tressel and Pryor? Of course. Do I wish Pryor was an emotional leader who feared God and refused to screw coed’s? Can’t all be Tebow, brotha!
Figured I would let that marinate and add, I really don’t care if Pryor was an active atheist who bedded every girl on north campus. A Heisman and a couple BCS title’s would be great, as I am sure you know.
Oh yeah, am I ‘Bash’ on the website now? Food for thought.
Speaking of impending lawsuits, what’s your take on college athletes getting paid? You hinted earlier that it’s an unjust system. Certainly I don’t mean for the two of us to knock out some diabolical, twenty-two step plan wherein we reimburse the student athlete for his efforts, but it seems like if we maintain the status quo, we’ll continue to have athletes on the take and programs that take the hit.
Bash aka Croshere: The problem is who gets what?
“Student athlete” ranges from captain of the water polo team to star QB of the BCS championship team that makes the school ten million dollars. Trying to have the institutions compensate athletes directly is a logistical nightmare.
If you used a ‘socialist’ structure where all athlete’s got a flat compensation, the corruption would continue for sure. I think an elite football player is still looking to boosters if he knows he is getting the same $142 a semester as the backup forward on the women’s basketball team. The ‘corporate reward’ model offers just as many, if not more pitfalls.
The question of should we, is a maybe. The elite athletes that make the school millions certainly deserve something. The question of ‘how’ is incredibly complicated.
SportsChump: Well, sir, I’ll leave you with this and again, thanks for taking the time to hopefully find some closure, Croshere, with these words.
Obviously, we’re nowhere near resolving the institution of college football as it currently stands and it’s those Saturdays so many of us live for.
Since you’re a betting man, I’ll put you on the spot. Does Tressel coach again? And how many wins do you give your Buckeyes this season?
P.S. I’m secretly hoping enough depressed Buckeye fans skew the line and that taking the over might be the smart play.
CroshereBash: The Buckeyes go undefeated and win the BCS title next year. As far as Jim T, we are a society that forgets. If he says and does the right things, he will be forgiven, assuming he wants to come back. He will just have to convince some AD that he is a ‘changed man’.
And there you have it, sports fans. I told you he was committed.
CroshereBash is not the most internet savvy person in the world so he may, or may not, be fielding questions from the audience.
Pingback: Conversation with a Buckeye: The biggest Ohio State fan I know talks Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor and the current state of his football program, NCAA Football | BallHyped Sports Blogs
The only people holding Ohio State at gunpoint were the idiots E Gordon Gee (university President) and his erstwhile sidekick Gene Smith (AD) . What that duo did to overlook what was taking place was inexcusable but somehow both will somehow keep their jobs . Collegiate athletics now makes the operations of the drug cartels seem all the more appealing and amenable in terms of the money to be made .
Does Gruden have to kiss that much #ss now that he’s an analyst for ESPN?
I guess Gee was too blasting smaller schools like Boise State.
And we all know Gruden doesn’t have anything bad to say about anyone.
I only wish all my trips to the principal’s office were as gentle.
“Fortunately, I have a good attorney in the family. What good Jewish boy doesn’t?”
I gotta ex-wife(with the guilt powers) that you might be interested in. LOL
I figured if anyone knows Ohio State football, it’s Croshere.
If anyone feels the pain of what’s going on in Columbus, combined with the unsure feeling of what’s to come, it’s Croshere.
If anyone here in this room is getting the shaft for not trademarking Franklin and Bash, it’s Croshere.
It’s been a rough summer for the kid.
Just couldn’t get Austin Croshere out of my head while I read this interview. Am I the only one?
Screw OSU. Tell your buddy to hop aboard the Badger Bandwagon. There is plenty of room in Madison…
Um, don’t think that’s gonna happen, Drew.
Oh, and the reason he’s called Croshere is that he, but more importantly his game, bear striking resemblance to the aforementioned Austin Croshere.
His real name has been changed to protect his innocence, or lack thereof.
Great interview…..and you know who I would pick as new head coach!!!
Nice insights from the enemy camp. Bash, it’s gonna be awful damn hard to go undefeated after y’all leave South Beach in September crushed like a red pepper.
TP did himself no favors with that tude of his on the Jon Gruden joints from ESPN. He seems to think that he already knows it all… Gruden does, TP doesn’t.
Leave it a Hurricane to pile on a Buckeye while he’s down.
C’mon now, children, play nice.
Or does that just mean football season is slowly approaching.
As a Penn State guy, all I have to say about Ohio State’s situation…
(Deep, lung-reloading gasp)
And to think, Dub.
Pryor was THIS close to wearing a Penn State uniform.
Could it be that Ohio State ponied up more at the outset?
Gruden is simply like the Swiss nation non- aligned and wouldn’t know how to be objective even when something has been so egregious in terms of violations .
So now that McCourt has brought the ballclub to the brink of bankruptcy I wonder what those who opined that it could never happen will have to say ? Chapter 11 and reorganizing isn’t the easiest thing to come out of at all . I can attest to that having worked in reorganization companies after such an instance .
Now idiots out there are preening for Cuban to buy the team . What idiot goes after a ballclub amassed with so much debt without there being any guarantee that the debt will be completely paid off ? That’s unless you happen to be a complete dumb #ss like David Einhorn (hedge fund manager my a#s ! ) who plowed $200 million into the Mets and that damn mess !.
I seriously doubt that Cuban would be willing to buy the team on the cheap and then assume over $600 million in debt even if he’s worth in excess of $2.5 billion .
I have a hard time believing Tressel is that stupid. Those emails originated with a lawyer and he expected them not to be leaked. He should know that the only thing lawyers are good for is to make used car salesman look respectable.
Well, the ponying up came at the end of the process…Pryor had already made a verbal commitment, then he switched. Usually, that means the school that got him to break the commitment came across with something, then the kid went to the original school and said “well, what you got?” (See Cam Newton/Auburn/Mississppi State)
That’s a great point. For the longest time, Jimmy T was untouchable. Sure, you’d have the Buckeye fans occasionally who would bitch about his play-calling but for the most part, he was the man they wanted at the helm with nobody else coming a close second.
He was, in essence, un-criticizable.
Well, it’ll be a while before he lands on his feet. As you read above, regardless of his level of involvement, this whole thing fell on his head and now he’s having to pay the price.
Should make for a damn good autobiography if he’s man enough to tell the truth about everything.
Kind of how Kev and I persuaded you to do the podcast, with secret handshakes.
Wait until it comes out that you’ve been on the take.
Your reputation will be sullied.
Don’t mention McCourt to Dub today. He started out having such a peaceful morning.
Maybe once Cuban buys it, he can hire Dub to be his assistant to the traveling secretary.
Like Cuban is dumb enough to buy a team whose value is almost on par with its debt ? Someone needs to wise up concerning the Dodgers and their situation at present ….. all these people out there opining on the fact that because a potential owner in Cuban has money he’ll buy team. He’s been stiffed once already by Selig when he originally bade higher than the Nolan Ryan consortium for the Rangers only to see the league hierarchy then go with a bid of almost $ 600 million for the team .
So why would anyone now believe that Cuban would want to step back into that morass once again ? Let’s see how things play out now with the Dodgers when the owners then begin to realize that should the league take over the team full time after forcing McCourt to relinquish full control whether or not they’ll be amenable to pay for the day to day operations of the team . After all these idiots ( league hierarchy ) have done it twice before with the Nationals and Marlins .
Consider this the Dodgers still owe six former players in excess of $25 million in salary as well as broadcaster Vin Scully owed $150,000 .
I hope that you and J Dub can opine on this ?
Something Else That The State of California Is Well Known For Accepting Mediocrity While Trying To Assuage Us With Their Greatness & Narcissism .
good stuff. I haven’t really kept in touch with my buddy who’s a big Buckeye’s fan… I think I’m rooting for Calipari’s idea of having the big programs leave the NCAA and start their own league so they can give the players some kind of compensation…
Calipari typically would say something like that given his own proclivity for shaping certain programs by skirting the rules .
How it no one mentions that NCAA President Mark Emmert has a proposal on the table to pay student athletes a stipend but already two major college commissioners ( Mike Tranghese and Mike Slive )
have opposed the idea ?
Well JW was down with my most recent piece on the Dodgers and we’re in accord on the mess there . Consider this , Vin Scully is still owed money as well as six former players no longer with the team ( in excess of $30 million ) . Never mind the fact that the city of LA is owed $500,000 by the Dodgers’ organization .
All I can say, Al, about the Dodgers is that I’m glad I’m not a fan.
I’ve stopped paying attention to that mess and have opted to let you and Dub obsess about it.
I hadn’t heard Calipari suggest that. That’s either incredibly sacrilegious or incredibly forward-thinking, I’m not sure which.
We’ve always considered the NCAA, both football and basketball, a farm system for the pros. But for some reason, I’m still in the old school.
The kids are getting a free education, if they choose to go to class, of course. That’s more than I ever got.
I’m not sure those are the guys we want handling revising the system. They’re barely competent enough to run their own conferences.
So, Al, is Dub currently taking up a collection for Scully?
I think it’s forward thinking.
I think the thing I have the hardest time with is the millions these kids are making for the schools, and they ARE the reason they make the money. You can’t say that for all the sports, track and field, water polo, volleyball, etc. all don’t bring in money, and you don’t ever see those teams on Sportscenter. Also a lot of kids are forced to go to college that just want to play in the pros anyway. I mean would you rather play in college or the CFL or Euro leagues? Since it is a farm system for the pros why are the universities the only ones that make a profit? In basseball at least they get paid in the farm system!
Also the “good” college players that become stars in college make enough money for the school to pay for their entire rosters worth of scholarships…
I seriously doubt that Scully needs the money but what does it tell you when Man Ram is still owed in excess of $20 million ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!
I wouldn’t trust Mike Slive or Mike Tranghese to run a kid’s lemonade stand ! That duo are about as dumb and as corrupt as they come !
Who would ever have accused John Calipari of doing anything cutting edge other than perhaps destroying every college basketball program he’s ever been a part of?
Here’s what I think is one of the biggest problems with paying athletes.
If a school like Florida seats 90,000+ fans and a school in a smaller conference seats half that, the bigger school, Florida in this case, will have greater means to recruit athletes.
I mean, they do now anyway, so in reality, all that much might not change, huh?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t see the NCAA changing anything in our lifetime.
The NCAA is archaic much like the think of the major BCS conferences and in fact the whole of collegiate athletics as a whole ! . Simply look at the way they conduct business without there being little if any transparency at all !
You can pay the athletes as long as everything is done above board and not completely shrouded in secrecy . And that is what the NCAA and collegiate athletics has been all about , way to much secrecy and clandestine activity .
You’re simply being naive in thinking that the system ought to remain as is ! It has to change or things are going to get simply much worse than it already is .
Cuban tried to buy the Cubs too, and was blocked. I don’t think getting denied twice will stop him from trying to get something he really wants, a baseball team…
Exactly, I don’t think much will change, it will just be legal and then we won’t have to waste time doing all these investigations, and can spend time improving the game instead! Paying players won’t be the end of the world. It’s not like we see programs come out of nowhere. It’s always the same teams winning, and those teams are paying players, so not much would change imo…
I never said the NCAA ‘ought to’ remain as it is.
But with no higher authority governing it, I don’t see how any positive changes will come about.
I nominate Dub to fix the NCAA.
Maybe eventually he can put on his payroll.
Oh wait, that’d just lead to more corruption.