Mailbox: Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher should know cheating in college football is not new

Brian White
The Columbus Dispatch
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, left, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban meet at midfield after their game in College Station, Texas, in 2019.

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On Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and cheating

To the editor: The recent flap between two high-profile college coaches is funny. Coaches Nick Saban of Alabama and Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M are now having a tiff over what all of the college coaches have been doing for a long time, and everyone knows it. For as long as I can remember, big-time college sports program boosters/recruiters/coaches have been giving “special” deals under the table to college athletes or their families to have them play for certain schools. This is no recent revelation. It’s been happening for decades. Only now they have just updated the special “no work” jobs (wink wink) with a new moniker, "Name, image, Likeness.”

These NIL deals and the money are now out in the open and can be talked about. Now the coach or school does not have to feign ignorance when it is revealed that the players at their school have been receiving money, cars, apartments, etc,, to play for their school. I’ve always had a good laugh when coaches have been interviewed on camera about the special deals their players have been getting and the acting job worthy of an Academy Award that the coaches give when they proclaim they had "absolutely no idea” this was happening. How they could keep a straight face has always been beyond me. 

Chet Ridenour

To Chet: As you note, there are always limits to exceed, rules to break. Finally allowing players to get paid only moved the line as to what is dirty and what isn't. There will always be plenty of coaches who believe that if you're not cheating, you're not trying.


To Brian: Something that concerns me about these NIL contracts is that they don't reveal any real details about exactly who is getting what. If everything is on the up-and-up, why all the secrecy, especially when a player transfers? There should be full disclosure of the numbers the IRS will see, and anything not reported publicly be an impermissible-benefit violation. Archie Griffin relates the story of being recruited by Woody Hayes and didn't think the coach was really interested in him because all he talked about was academics. My, have things changed.

Dennis Singleton, Dayton

Columbus Dispatch sports columnist Rob Oller

On the transfer portal

To the editor: I always enjoy reading Mr. Oller’s viewpoints on matters in the field of sports, and agree with him most of the time. I do question, though, his standpoint on athletes who enter the transfer portal who can immediately play at the new school. Mr. Oller feels they should sit out for a year.

I am wondering if he were to ever change jobs because he was not satisfied with the conditions of his current employment, would he be willing to sit out a year? Would the new employer have to pay him while he sat out? Hmmmm…

Jimmy Ryan, Canal Winchester

To Jimmy: So, are you telling me that Rob has entered the journalist transfer portal and hasn't told me?

Wendy Walton Reichenbach, left, shakes hands with Tom Beck, right, of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, after being presented with an American flag during a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Purple Heart Remembrance Day at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in 2019.

On the state track hall of fame

To the editor: The Hall of Fame branch of the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches could not have been more wrong when it came to the nomination of Tom Beck. Twice he was nominated – once by me and once by his son and wife – for the Hall and twice turned down. That he was qualified was never the question. The association has all of his accomplishments. I need not repeat them. They are more than enough to enshrine him in the Hall.

My beef is with the administrators of the association. After I nominated Tom, I heard nothing. Since the inductees are named in June, I waited to see if he had made it. After hearing nothing I called several officers and received nothing. I even called the president twice. Nothing!  All I wished to know was whether Tom had passed or failed.

A couple of years later his son, Tom, and wife, Nancy, nominated him. Icy silence!

In Korea on a night mine-sweeping soirée, Tom's squad was lit up by mortars. Two Marines were killed, several badly injured and Tom wore a band of shrapnel around his neck for a lifetime. That alone was enough to punch his ticket.

Roy E. Ault, Englewood, Fla.

Ohio State baseball coach Greg Beals

On Ohio State baseball

To the editor: Ohio State baseball has become an embarrassment under the leadership of Greg Beals. In 2022 they have hit rock bottom. A winning percentage of .400 and ninth in the Big Ten is simply unacceptable and not consistent with the expectations and performance of any other Ohio State athletic program. Gene Smith is an outstanding athletic director, but his reluctance to address the continual decline of the baseball program since 2010 (Bob Todd‘s retirement) may be his greatest oversight. It’s time to address this situation and raise the expectations of the baseball program to compete at a national level and to be a consistent top-25 program which is where almost every other OSU athletic program is.

Gary Kriechbaum

To Gary: This season's 21-30 record is disappointing, and I get that OSU fans believe their of teams all should be dominant every year, including in baseball with such an outstanding stadium. But it should be pointed out that the Buckeyes have made the NCAA Tournament three times since 2016 and have won the Big Ten tournament twice in that span.

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