Pryor, four other suspended Buckeyes apologize for receiving illegal benefits

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The five Ohio State players, including Terrelle Pryor, who will be suspended for five games in 2011 for receiving impermissible benefits apologized to the public today.

Pryor, offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Boom Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas sat before the media in a press conference and remorsefully (or, at least, it would appear) explained their “embarrassment” and “immaturity” for selling autographed merchandise and receiving goods — tattoos — at a discounted rate.

“My selfish acts were very young and immature … And I’m deeply sorry about it … I didn’t mean to bring any embarrassment to this great university,” Pryor said.

Here’s a portion of the apologies issued, courtesy of ESPN.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-51KlV8qtLM&w=490]

Although suspended for 5 games next year (provided they’re not in the NFL), Pryor and his Buckeye brethren will be allowed to play in the upcoming Sugar Bowl against Arkansas so long as they repay the value of their benefits, which go upward of $2500. Additionally, the Buckeyes will be allowed to play in the bowl because, as the NCAA puts it, the “student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred.”

The apologies issued by Pryor and his teammates were fine. Whether or not they actually meant those words is irrelevant. On the contrary, it’s the NCAA who should be lamenting. Making the players repay the value of the memorabilia is appropriate, but it’s hypocritical for the NCAA to suspend a player for a bowl game due to academics and not due to receiving impermissible benefits.

Personally, if the players were underclassmen and had to come back the following year knowing they were suspended, I’d get it. If they were suspended for the bowl game and the 5 games next season, I’d understand.

Instead, the suspended juniors are getting an opt-out.

We know why the NCAA didn’t suspend Pryor and his teammates for the $ugar Bowl, but that doesn’t make it right.

Nor does it fit the crime.