Tonight there is a profound sense of unease in Columbus. Republican and Democrat, old and young, Deadhead or Justin Bieber fan — it makes no difference. We all fret about what will happen tomorrow when the Ohio State University goes before the NCAA Committee on Infractions to address the issues with the football program.
The feeling of grim foreboding hangs over the city like a rancid fart in an elevator. The brooding paranoia has been stoked by our friends at ESPN — boy, they love the Buckeyes, don’t they? — who have issued a weird report about a second letter from the NCAA concerning potential additional areas to investigate. And so, people are wondering: what else could have happened? Were some of the Buckeye football players actually mutant genetic products created by crazed researchers in the Ohio State School of Biology? Did Terrelle Pryor secretly maintain a fleet of untaxed corporate jets in a locked hangar at Don Scott Field? Was Jim Tressel’s sweater vest actually made in Taiwan?
Sometime tomorrow people will appear before microphones at NCAA offices in headquarters and say that the hearing is over, and then we will wait. We will wait to see whether the NCAA accepts the retirement of our outstanding coach and OSU’s self-imposed punishments as sufficient penalties for the Buckeyes’ transgressions. Or, whether the NCAA cuts out our hearts, stomps on them, and then stuffs them down our throats by cutting scholarships, banning the Buckeyes from post-season play, or imposing other, even more draconian sanctions. Now we know how Anne Boleyn must have felt as she waited in the Tower of London for the capricious decision of her King.
We care because this is Columbus, and this is who we are and what we do.