Monday, May 23, 2011

Less Than A Week Away

I gotta be perfectly honest with you and admit up front that this blog post is basically just a filler one, primarily because it’s late May, which is another way of saying that the Indy 500 is right around the corner and I’m so excited for it that just about every body part I have is fully erect (including – but not limited to – my penis) and I can’t even think straight.  Every year at about this time, I mentally zone out and focus solely on the race and everything that comes with it.  What will I wear this year? What hairstyle am I going to go with? What is going to be my strategy to get a white trash chick to flash her boobs to my group of friends? When she inevitably does flash, will I even want to look? And when I inevitably do look, how will I explain to my fiancée that I was completely justified because getting a trashy chick to show her nips is an Indy 500 tradition as old as the race itself? Ah yes, it’s late May in the Midwest alright.  And I couldn’t be more excited about it.

(By the way, the best example of me zoning out in May came almost exactly one year ago, when I flew out to LA and met Jimmy Kimmel, Bill Simmons, and Adam Carolla.  While we were all at dinner, Simmons asked me what my favorite network comedy was for whatever reason and I froze and told him How I Met Your Mother because all my favorite comedies are on cable and it was the only one that I watch and could think of on the spot, which was an answer that prompted Carolla to playfully make fun of my terrible taste in TV for the rest of the night.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think How I Met Your Mother is an awful show necessarily, but it certainly isn’t even in my top five favorite network comedies, so for me to claim that it was #1 and then fail to even provide a #2 was a monumental brain fart for me and sent a message to everyone at the table that I never intended to be sent. There aren’t many moments in my life that I wish I could do over, but my answer at that dinner was certainly something I will always regret.

Also, while I have you, the second best example of me mentally checking out in May is the fact that I just inexcusably told an irrelevant story with the sole purpose of name dropping, which is something that will surely lead to many of you calling me out for being a doucher.  But I’m too distracted to care, so I’m just going to leave it. Besides, Zach Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were also at the same restaurant on that night, but you don’t see me dropping their names do you? Exactly.)

Since I’m focusing all my energy towards the race at this point and I’m therefore too lazy to think of anything to write about, I figured I’d just tackle an issue that I’ve gotten a few emails and tweets about.  A handful of you have been asking about my take on the whole Jim Tressel/OSU football saga, either because you value my opinion or, more likely, because you want to know if I have any inside information.  While I know this story seems to be yesterday’s news, it’s far from being settled so I figured I’d address it real quick.  As always, if you don’t like it, you can firmly press your tongue to my buttcrack.

First of all, I don’t have any “inside information”, mostly because I didn’t play football and therefore have no idea how their program is run.  I’ve never been to any of their practices, I never once hung out with any of the players, I went to completely different tattoo parlors and car dealerships when I was at OSU than they did, and the envelopes full of cash I received always came from a different booster than their cash came from (I had a class with Ross Homan one quarter, and we worked on group projects together and usually sat by each other, but I wouldn’t exactly say we “hung out” really).  Also, I’ve only ever talked to Jim Tressel twice in my life, with the first of these occasions being when he came to one of our practices during my sophomore year, and before he started the speech he had prepared for our team, he asked, “Where is #34? He can really shoot.” (I replied, “That’s nothing. You should see me punt a football. Most scouts had me as the 7th ranked punter in all of Brownsburg High during my senior year.”  He had no response to this, which leads me to believe that hearing about my punting prowess left him speechless.)  The second time I talked to him was during the spring football game a couple years later, when he shook hands with all the basketball players who were standing on the sideline for the game and said to me, “You must be the benchwarming blogger.”  So yeah, I don’t really have much perspective considering I didn’t really know any of the players and I’ve only talked to the head coach for a grand total of 30 seconds (strangely enough, in those 30 seconds he managed to pinpoint my entire identity on the basketball team – “the benchwarming blogger who can shoot well”).

Having said all of that, I frequently crossed paths with a bunch of the football guys for a variety of reasons (stayed in the same dorm as some of them during my freshman year, went to same place for our training table meals, had a bunch of mandatory athlete meetings with them, some of them hung out with my teammates, etc.). And in crossing paths with them so frequently, I can offer this analysis: While I don’t really know anything about the whole tattoo ordeal, I’m almost certain that there was something shady going on with the car dealer.  In fact, as the news of the free tattoos and sold merchandise or whatever came out, I kept telling my family how funny it was that they were getting busted for tattoos and gold pants when I was pretty sure they had been getting serious discounts on cars for years. Again, I have no “inside information” and really only know what the general public knows.  But it doesn’t exactly take top notch detective skills to figure this one out.  Anyone who spent any time on Ohio State’s campus while I was there could tell you that there were an unusually high volume of brand new Dodge Chargers driving around on campus, and just about all of them had tinted windows and rims on the outside with Ohio State football players behind the wheel on the inside. 

Now, I understand that there’s a chance these guys all paid the same price for their cars that normal citizens like you and I would pay, and I honestly hope that they did.  But my intuition has told me for years that something is off.  I’m not sure how much the monthly scholarship checks the football team got were for, but when I was on my basketball scholarship for my first two years at Ohio State, I was only given $1,100 a month.  That might sound like a lot of money at first thought, but you have to realize that these checks had to cover the monthly cost of rent, utilities, food, gas, entertainment, tattoos, trips to the strip club, bottles off the top shelf, weed, hookers, blow, and – on top of all of that – child support.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I struggled to pay all my monthly bills, but as you can imagine, I sure as hell never had enough of a cushion to afford a $400 monthly car payment either.

The fact of the matter is that I’m sure there are ways for football players to buy new cars and still obey NCAA rules.  From what I can remember, there are all sorts of other forms of financial aid other than just the scholarship checks that the players could be eligible for, so there’s a good chance they got more than the $1,100 a month that I got.  But even so, I seriously doubt that the extra aid was enough for them to take on a hefty car payment on top of all their other expenses.  Especially when you consider that most of these guys lived lavish lifestyles when compared to your average college student.  Sure they theoretically could have probably afforded a new car if they would have lived modestly in an average sized apartment with a few roommates, didn’t go out much, and didn’t spend a lot of money on things like phones, TVs, iPods, etc.  But does anyone seriously believe that these guys lived modestly?  If you were to play a word association game and were given the phrase “big time college athlete”, the word “modest” wouldn’t even be on the list of the first 100,000 words that come to mind.

In the end, I’m too lazy to formulate a legitimate argument as to why I think guys on the football team got discounted and/or free cars.  That would involve way too much research on how the system works, way too much investigating on what actually transpired in the last few years, and – most importantly – way too much effort on my part.  And I really don’t care that much. So please don’t take this the wrong way.  I’m not trying to say that I know certain things and I’m certainly not trying to play the role of insider informant. The truth is that I have no facts, and God knows that if I’m entirely wrong it would be far from the first time (hell, I hope I am wrong).  I’m just saying that I was always under the impression that the scholarships the football guys got were close to (if not exactly) the same as the basketball guys, yet in my four years of playing basketball at Ohio State, my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee was consistently one of nicest cars on the team because none of us could afford anything better. Meanwhile, it seemed like everyone on the football team had either a new Charger or a new Chrysler 300.  From this, I am deducing that either the football guys were paid a considerably larger stipend than we were (in all honesty, that could be the case – I really don’t know), were excellent at managing their money, came from financially well off families, or received discounted and/or free cars.   I really can’t see how any of them could’ve had the cars they did without at least one of those four things applying.

So to recap, I have no facts, I don’t know what I’m talking about, and in no way should I be taken seriously.  All I’m saying is that I won’t be surprised in the slightest if the NCAA digs up some serious dirt on the Ohio State football team (especially the stuff surrounding the discounted and/or free cars) because it’s something I’ve been scratching my head over for years.  So if you’re an OSU football fan, I’d suggest not getting your hopes up.  There’s a solid chance that this won’t end well.

As for the allegations that Will Buford was included in the same group of guys who got free/discounted tattoos and cars, and the news that Jon Diebler’s parents bought a car from the same guy who sold cars to all the football players, well, I honestly don’t know what to say.  As hard as it may be to believe, I never talk to any of those guys about any stuff like that, mostly because I’m of the opinion that ignorance is bliss (I’ve watched way too many mob movies where the guy who knows too much information gets bin Laden’d).  What I can tell you is that when I was teammates with him, Will only had a couple of tattoos and didn’t even own a car, so if anything did go down, it had to have happened after I left.  In fact, I had to give Will rides to and from practice all the time, so I’ll be pissed if I find out that all that time he not only had a car, but his car was much better than mine and he got it for free.  I know it might seem like I’m withholding information to protect the basketball program, but you’re just going to have to trust me when I say that I really don’t know anything about those guys (it will be easier to trust me on this when my book comes out next year and you realize that I’m of the opinion that protecting the basketball program should never get in the way of a good story).

So that’s my take on the whole issue.  I’m essentially in the same boat as all of you in that I don’t exactly have inside information or anything and I’m just anxiously waiting to see how everything unfolds.  I’ll be shocked if the NCAA doesn’t find anything when they look into this car scandal, but again I feel like I need to stress that I’m only basing this viewpoint off of information that every OSU student from 2006-2010 should have (after all, the football players weren’t exactly discreet with their cars).  In other words, to summarize this entire blog post, I don’t really know what happened and I don’t really have any idea what’s going to happen from here.  Glad I could help.

I apologize for this blog post to all the non-OSU people who I’m sure are sick of hearing about Tressel and/or just Ohio State in general.  But I’m not that sorry because I told you in the first sentence that this was just a filler post, so it’s your fault for reading the whole thing.  Nonetheless, to make it up to you, I plan on doing a retroactive running diary of my experience at the Indy 500 this upcoming weekend for my next blog post, which has the potential to be my favorite piece of writing ever.  Get excited.

By the way, I feel like I should use this last paragraph to try to convince you to go to the Indy 500 if you live within driving distance of the track.  It is not only my single favorite sporting event in the world, but it’s my single favorite anything in the world, and travel expenses aside, it’s actually pretty cheap (you can get an infield ticket for $20 and bring your own cooler full of food and drinks into the track).  So if you live in the Midwest and have never been to the race, do yourself a favor and make the trip.  If you do end up making it over to Indy, find me in the turn 3 infield and I’ll spot you a beer or two and try to get a trashy chick to show her goods so you can get the complete Indy 500 experience.  It’s the least I could do.

Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder