After an offseason tainted with scandal, the Buckeyes from The Ohio State University finished the regular season a perfect 12-0. Yes, the Buckeyes held off teams eager to end their undefeated streak in a few very close games, but their most impressive feat was finding a way to finish every game knowing that there was no hope for an offseason. It’s safe to say that no one, even Ohio State fans, expected for the Buckeyes to finish undefeated let alone be at the top of the Big 10. A new coaching staff always brings uncertainties for the future, even if that coach is as heralded as Urban Meyer. The team showed those who watched the true meaning of what it means to be a collegiate athlete, at least what some think the NCAA thinks it means to be a collegiate athlete; work really hard and overcome adversity to not get anything in return.
Is it right that certain players broke the rules and got money and free tattoos? No, college athletes should know the rules that govern them and their sport. However, the real problem is with the NCAA rules themselves and how the NCAA enforces them. Every game, big name schools make mind-boggling amounts of money off of their football programs and, besides scholarships, the players see none of it. When is the last time you have heard someone say, “Man, I could watch that coach call plays all day, what a performance”? Probably never, because fans go to games to watch their schools best athletes compete against the opposing schools best athletes. These players are adults and should be getting some sort of compensation besides scholarships when they are bringing in so much money. Lets take a step back and talk about the Ohio State situation. A few players took advantage of their own popularity for a few freebies. This is against the rules so the NCAA to takes action… in arguably one of the most clear examples of “cruel and unusual punishment” collegiate athletics has seen in the past few years. Really? The loss of scholarships and a post-season ban for a few tattoos? The only example the NCAA made is one that shows how badly their policies regarding student athlete compensation should be changed. It was, however, fantastic to see a program bounce back after such an unfair punishment.
This is why the Buckeyes completing their undefeated season in Columbus was the best moment in college football this year. It showed all of us that a team can overcome brutal hits by the NCAA, and take adversity head on and come out on top. We will never know if Ohio State would have won the title game, but we do know that they will be a team to watch for next season. That is why Ohio State beating Michigan and ending their season 12-0 was the most significant moment of the season.