Bowl Ban Spin

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Last updated: 12/07/2012 3:31 PM
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If Bowl Ban Was Inevitable, Why Were So Many Surprised?
By Tony Gerdeman

In case you missed it, OSU president Dr. E. Gordon Gee has been on a run this week speaking with various media outlets about many things, but always managing to mention that a bowl ban for the football team was inevitable this season, even with a self-imposed bowl ban last year.

I'm calling it the "It's Not Our Fault Tour".

While at the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday, Gee told The Columbus Dispatch there was basically nothing that the university could do to avoid a bowl ban this season.

"We were caught in the tsunami of all the things that were going on and we were the big fish on the line, and the NCAA was under great pressure to impose sanctions and my strong belief is … if we would have self imposed we still would’ve had a bowl ban."

Speaking to 700 WLW the same day, Gee again used the tsunami reference and also said that even if Ohio State would have self-imposed a five-year bowl ban, the NCAA was still going to add on to it.

The assertion that the NCAA would have handed a sixth-year of bowl bans to Ohio State is ridiculous and intellectually dishonest, assuming we are to take Gee's comment seriously. If this is his actual thought process, then how are we supposed to believe anything else that he says on the topic?

This is nothing new for Gee, because he told The Lantern the same thing back in February.

"First of all, the NCAA — if we would have given up five bowl games, they would have imposed the sixth on us because they were going to impose a bowl ban. This was Ohio State. This was (the NCAA's) moment in time, and they were going to impose a bowl ban no matter what we did."

He said that he knows a bowl ban was inevitable because three of the "major guys who were in charge at the NCAA" worked under him at one time.

Is he saying that these men are vindictive people? Predictable drones? I'm still not sure the point of that one, but he's brought it up more than once, so it must mean something significant.

Still, all of Gee's prescience doesn't explain why his athletic director, his football coaches and his football players were all shocked and disappointed when they received the news of the bowl ban.

You would think that had Gee known it was coming, he would have let his athletic director know, but he didn't.

"I was pretty confident, frankly, when you look at the way we looked at the facts and considered things. That's why I'm so surprised and disappointed. But when you looked at it the way we did, we didn't think it was possible."

That was Gene Smith the day Ohio State's bowl ban was announced. This is Gene Smith yesterday in a text to the Dispatch.

"I was still surprised, but as we evaluated it, not just amongst ourselves but with input from others, it was clear what Gordon said is accurate."

Hindsight is the best, especially when it helps cover your asterisk.

Many believe that had Ohio State imposed their own bowl ban last year, they would now be facing Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game.

That belief, however, does absolutely zero good for the Ohio State administration, and so they are now in full-fledged attack mode to kill that way of thinking.

I get it. I understand what Dr. Gee is doing. He's just trying to protect his athletic director who has come under fire following the football team's undefeated season.

I generally side with Dr. Gee when he says things that get labeled as "gaffes". Telling the AP that TCU or Boise State didn't deserve to play for a national championship because of their schedules was absolutely correct. Just look at the backlash that Northern Illinois has received from ESPN this past week, and they're only playing in the Orange Bowl.

The question that lingers longest and loudest, however, is that if Gee knew a bowl ban was coming, why did it hit the players so hard when it was announced? Why did Urban Meyer describe it as a "sucker punch"?

For many of the players, this was a "JFK moment", recalling visiting a hospital when they were given the news from nurses and television before ever hearing it from their athletic director or coach.

Obviously, even though Gee was "expecting" it, the players and coaches were not. Nor was Gene Smith, clearly, because he told the football team on several occasions that there would be no bowl ban.

Which is worse, an administration not knowing what it should have known, or knowing it and repeatedly and consistently lying to a hundred 18-22 year olds who are learning to become leaders themselves?

Is it better to teach a young person to accept responsibility, or to blame others when things go south?

This bowl ban happened because of Ohio State's lack of foresight, and Gee is trying to cite his own heightened foresight as the reason a self-imposed bowl ban would have never worked.

Sometimes circular logic circles all the way down the drain.

In the end, the only thing missing from this propaganda blitz is pamphlets dropped from the sky.

And maybe a few thousand "It's Not Our Fault Tour" concert tees.

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