Given the “situation” a handful of Ohio State players found themselves in last year, and the ongoing brouhaha involving their head coach, the entity charged with handing out the Buckeyes’ iconic “gold pants” appears set on changing the way they do business.
The gold pants charm has been a storied tradition at OSU since the thirties, handed out to, at first, players who played in wins over rival Michigan, and eventually evolved into including coaches and others connected to the football program. Six players were found by the NCAA to have sold memorabilia, including pairs of gold pants, to the owner of a Columbus tattoo parlor, with five of them receiving five-game suspensions to start the 2011 season for receiving what the NCAA deemed to be impermissible benefits.
Due to the fact that the football program is “dealing with some outstanding issues that we’ve never had to deal with before,” as Gold Pants Club president and former OSU offensive lineman Jim Lachey put it, the gold pants that would normally already be in the players’ possession for what was their seventh straight win over the Wolverines last year have not yet been handed out. And, it appears, may not be handed out at all.
Lachey told the Columbus Dispatch that, due to the possibility of wins in 2010 being vacated because Jim Tressel failed to notify — i.e. covered up — anyone of players committing NCAA violations, thus committing his own major violation, the club charged with handing out the gold pants will keep the 2010 version in their pockets until that situation is resolved.
“If they vacate the win, it makes no sense to award the gold pants, at least in our minds,” Lachey said. “And if you hand them out and say, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll need to get them back if the win is vacated’ – I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be a smart way to go.
“And I’ll be honest: We don’t want to see any 2010 gold pants on the market right now.”
Additionally, Lachey said that the club is looking into taking steps that would take away the temptation a player with eligibility remaining may have to sell the gold pants, thus avoiding a similar situation in the future.
“I think we’re going to start banking them and hand them out to the players after their eligibility has run out,” Lachey said.