OSU Helps Create, Can Change the System that Snagged Chase Young


As the status of Ohio State defensive end Chase Young moves closer to a resolution, the outrage is palpable toward the evil entity perceived as the source of his problem.

The minute OSU announced Young would remain inactive while circumstances of the loan he obtained to reportedly fly his girlfriend to the Rose Bowl get sorted out, the NCAA entered the crosshairs of every activist, reformer, athlete and fan.

The complaints are as predictable as they are passionate.

  • Why can't a system creating hundreds of millions make such allowance for players and their loved ones?
  • What business is it of anyone from whom Young borrows?
  • If Young is truthful in that he repaid the loan, why penalize him at all?

The complaining doesn't stop there, of course, because bitterness comes in a million flavors.

It's easy to criticize a board room full of bureaucrats holed up in their posh Indianapolis headquarters as the arbiters of unfairness, as corporate killjoys who delight in crushing the disadvantaged players whose blood and sweat prop up their empire.

But those who decry the NCAA's unfairness would be wise, if interested in extending some fairness of their own, to aim their vitriol at the actual source of the system in which Young is bound.

The problem in doing so, for athletes and fans in particular, is that the creator of the problem is the perceived victim of the problem.

The ex-Ohio State players and the aggrieved fan base that lashed out at the NCAA when word of Young's inactivity came down are less comfortable blaming the behemoth that is OSU and every other Power 5 power broker that creates the massive NCAA rule book everyone rails against.

Every year, there's a national convention at which Ohio State, Alabama, USC, Texas, Clemson, etc., etc make the rules that Young apparently violated.

Few schools wield the power of Ohio State in that process, just like few athletic directors have served on more prestigious NCAA committees than OSU athletic director Gene Smith.

Last month, when the NCAA announced it would pursue compensating athletes for their name and likeness, the co-chair of the committee who determined that course of action was Smith.

Likewise, the university president who took the lead on speaking for the committee's decision was none other than Ohio State's Michael Drake.

Since taking over at OSU in 2005, Smith has served on the College Football Playoff Committee and on the NCAA:

  • Basketball Tournament Selection Committee, as chair,
  • Infractions Committee,
  • Management Council,
  • Executive Committee,
  • Football Rules Committee,
  • Baseball Academic Enhancement Task Force,
  • President’s Commission Liaison Committee,
  • Division I-A Athletics Directors Association, and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, both as president.

It makes zero logical sense to complain about Young's status without blaming the schools who created and empowered the NCAA to police and enforce the rules the schools create for their own convenience.

If the schools who pay their football coaches multiple millions per-year, and their offensive and defensive coordinators and in some cases athletic directors $1 million a year or more want to reform that system and give some of that money to players to fly their girlfriends to watch them play, it is well within their power to do so.

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