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Notre Dame AD Swarbrick on Ohio State, college football

May 31, 2011 |  4:05 pm

Before Jim Tressel’s resignation at Ohio State on Monday, the Buckeyes' strategy seemed simple: Deny, deny, deny and hope what the media reported was false.

Fabforum This is a familiar strategy in the culture of college football, taken both by those being scrutinized and their peers on standby. Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick spoke of a general ignorance of the situation in Columbus, Ohio, during a sit-down with Notre Dame’s student newspaper, The Observer, earlier in May.

“The one thing you learn in this job when you read about yourself is don’t believe what you read,” Swarbrick said. “So I don’t presume to know anything about Ohio State’s circumstance. They’ll work their way through that … I hope it resolves itself well for Ohio State.”

So far, it seems Swarbrick was very much wrong about things resolving well for the Buckeyes. In one area though, he was right: Tattoo-gate is far from an isolated incident.

“It’s been a bad year for the ethics of college athletics,” Swarbrick said. “It’s been a bad year for the industry. I mean, just the discussion of these things: the Cam Newton situation, the Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State. We’ve just had far too much of that.”

Swarbrick doesn't mention the 14 players North Carolina lost for all or part of its season, A.J. Green’s four-game suspension at Georgia and, perhaps most notably, the conclusion of the USC and Reggie Bush investigation.

Don’t think Auburn and Oregon, the two teams who squared off for the BCS championship in January, are crystal clean either. Auburn suspended its quarterback, Newton –- the eventual Heisman Trophy winner –- briefly during the season amid allegations his father essentially sold him to the highest bidder. Furthermore, four former Tigers told HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” they received thousands of dollars while being recruited or playing for Auburn.

Meanwhile Oregon played its entire season sans the quarterback many expected in early August after Ducks Coach Chip Kelly kicked Heisman contender Jeremiah Masoli off the team for repeated offenses, including theft. Now, the NCAA has contacted Oregon concerning the recruitment of a few players, including star running back LaMichael James.

“I think it’s really important to us as an industry, as the NCAA, to figure out how to be more effective in keeping negative events from happening in our sport, at least the ones we can control,” Swarbrick said. “I hope the NCAA and the industry can come up with better ways to ensure ethical conduct, because it really hurts us when we fall short of that.”

-- Douglas Farmer

Photo: Jack Swarbrick. Credit: Associated Press.