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Ohio State, Integrity & The Sugar Bowl CEO

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When the Colorado Buffaloes visit Columbus, Ohio on Sept. 24, 2011, the Ohio St. Buckeyes will be without five players due to suspension for preferential treatment. This, of course, is the story about quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four other players missing the first five games of the 2011 season. Pryor and the other four could all declare for the draft to escape this punishment.

Now, Ohio St. self-investigated and self-reported this violation, so I commend the school for having integrity in this matter. But why did the NCAA place these suspensions in 2011 instead of starting them in upcoming Sugar Bowl game against Arkansas? The bowl game's CEO, Paul Hoolahan, may have had a part in that decision. He lobbied the NCAA to keep the players eligible for the bowl game, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Hoolahan's remark?

"I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the integrity of this year's game, we would greatly appreciate it," Hoolahan said. "That appeal did not fall on deaf ears, and I'm extremely excited about it, that the Buckeyes are coming in at full strength and with no dilution."

Except these players already tarnished their integrity and that of college football. They violated NCAA rules and should be punished immediately. Even if one doesn't believe selling memorabilia is a big deal, rules were broken. And because there is the possibility of these players entering the NFL, these suspensions could mean little in the long run.

So when the Buckeyes and the Buffaloes clash on the gridiron in September, remember that Pryor and four others were suspended for these games to keep the "integrity" of the Sugar Bowl alive. Man, who doesn't want Arkansas to clobber the Buckeyes now?

But in the long run, maybe Brandon Lloyd has it right. As Lloyd told SB Nation Denver's Jon Woods recently:

My problem with NCAA sports right now is that we have to start compensating the players. They're [the NCAA] making all these moves, these political moves to position themselves to make a killing financially and the players are still stuck making nothing.

The NCAA is setting itself up for these types of situations.