Let's first get this out of the way, the NCAA is fundamentally flawed. I'm not exactly breaking news here, but the Ohio State, USC, Auburn and Tennessee issues are a small bit of a much bigger problem of a machine that uses athletes as free marketing workhorses to generate millions of dollars for universities and the NCAA itself while handcuffing them and questioning every dime in the kid's pockets. Yes, I know that most athletes get a paid education, but if a Division II school like the one I attended can find a way to pay me $450 a month to be the Sports Editor, a position that I promise generated no revenue for the university, then there has to be a way to compensate athletes for their dedication, work and profitability. I'll get off that soapbox now and move on to the topic at hand.
Terrelle Pryor is leaving Ohio State. He's not going to stick it out. He's not going to see this adversity through. He's not going to try to bring glory back to his university and prove that he and he teammates can come out of this winners. He's not saying I'm going to take my lumps and stay loyal. He's running ... but to what exactly?
Sure he'll be available for the National Football Leagues supplemental draft, but who's making that phone call. Who is sticking their neck out to say we want a quitter and a habitual line crosser. We want a guy who throws his fellow athletes and coaches under the bus for a few bucks and a handful of nice cars. We want a guy who hasn't ever won a game that has really meant anything. Blasphemy, you say? Let's review.
Pryor was brought into Ohio State to win a national championship. Period. Three years later, Cam Newton has one, in one season with Auburn. Thing is, the 2010 was tailor made for the Buckeyes to win it all. Ohio State was supposed to win last year. Anything else has to be considered a failure.
After a Marshall stomping, they had to get by a then-ranked No. 12 Miami team that turned out to be a fraud, then danced their way through a bunch of Big Ten sugar plums before Wisconsin, the only decent team Ohio State would play last year, sent their title hopes packing. The two years prior (pun intended) Pryor couldn't over come USC, once getting outclassed, at home mind you, by a freshman, Matt Barkley.
But being outclassed should be familiar to Pryor at this point. What exactly does he bring to an NFL team? He's Tommie Frazier without the elusiveness. He's JaMarcus Russell without the arm strength. He's Vince Young without the big game mentality. He's Matt Leinart without the cool. He's Cam Newton without the ability to carry a team on his back (and the ring). He's Ryan Leaf without the maturity.
Okay, that one was a joke, but the point is, what do all those college all-star quarterbacks have in common? None have made it in the NFL, and Pryor has less up side. What does he have to offer a team other than liabilities in talent, as well as character. Who gets a team in this much hot water, is largely responsible for backing a legendary coach into a corner, which led to him lying to defend Pryor, which got him fired (sorry, forced him to resign), and then says sayonara? I wouldn't ask Pryor to play for my flag football team, and we only won one game last year!
The worst tragedy in all of this is how the Pryor and his boys tore down decades of legacy of their head coach Jim Tressel. Maybe he wasn't the perfectly clean white linen cloth we thought he was, and sure, he could have handled the situation different. Tressel was backed into a corner by Pryor's minions and he did what he could to protect them. He fell on his own sword. However Pryor could not have cared, or at least had no forethought about that when he was exchanging ink for cash, in the various forms.
There is a certain sports radio host that thinks Pryor is a phenomenal prospect (JT the Brick from Fox Sports). I believe, however that its entirely possible that Terrell Pryor has played his last meaningful down of football. If Pryor doesn't bounce back to make something of himself as an athlete, history will not be kind to him. Nor does he deserve it to be kind. Nice career, sir. Well played.