Earlier this week, the NCAA defended its decision to allow several members of the Ohio State football team to participate in the Sugar Bowl despite being found guilty of NCAA violations. Those five players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, have been suspended for the first five games of next season.In fact, it turned out that the CEO of the Sugar Bowl, Paul Hoolahan, wanted to “preserve the integrity” of the Sugar Bowl and admits to pressuring Ohio State to postpone the suspensions until next year.
But when the NCAA defended their decision, they should have just cited the precedent established by Major League Baseball prior to the 2008 World Series.
Back in 2008, JC Romero, a relief pitcher for the Phillies, tested positive (twice) for a banned substance. Rather than suspend Romero and then wait for his appeal, Miraculously, Major League Baseball was unable to find a single arbitrator to rule on Romero’s appeal prior to the World Series. As a result, Romero’s suspension did not begin until the start of the 2009 season.
Meanwhile, Romero would pitch in four of the five World Series games and was the winning pitcher in two games, including the decisive game 5*.
If Major League Baseball doesn’t have the cojones to enforce a suspension on their biggest stage, why would anybody think the NCAA would behave any differently?
*Full disclosure, I am a die hard Rays fan (yes, we do exist), and yes, I might still be a little bitter about this.
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