Under most circumstances, after six straight outright or shared Big Ten titles since 2005, the arrival of shiny things at Ohio State would be old news. In light of the unfolding headlines since last December, though, these are hardly normal times in Columbus. So just in case you were wondering: Yes, for now, they're still handing out shiny things at Ohio State. As proof, starting offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts posted a picture of his 2010 conference championship ring on Twitter after picking it up this morning, noting for followers, "Ayyyyyyye!! hard work pays off, one more to go."
For once, the mementos weren't a given, thanks to the four veterans who found themselves benched for the first five games this fall for selling off their 2008 championship rings along with other memorabilia, a serious breach of sporting etiquette as well as the NCAA's moldy definition of "amateurism." Only one of those players, for example — quarterback Terrelle Pryor — was accused of selling his "gold pants," the traditional token commemorating wins over Michigan since 1934. But with last November's victory officially in jeopardy due to the participation of ineligible players, the Columbus Dispatch noted Sunday that the rest of the team is going to be waiting for a while to get their pants, too:
The members and associates of the 2010 Ohio State football team, which beat Michigan for the Buckeyes' seventh straight win in the series, have yet to receive their traditional gold pants charms, but it's not because they are lost in the mail.
"If they vacate the win, it makes no sense to award the gold pants, at least in our minds," [Gold Pants Club president Jim] 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."
That's an interesting distinction, considering the entire 2010 season — and therefore the Big Ten title — is in the NCAA's sights, not just the win over Michigan, which would technically make the rings idols to an (officially) empty achievement, as well. Is anyone prepared to ask for the conference championship rings back? Or comfortable seeing one turn up on the market? I suppose there are some trophies you just can't bring yourself to deny.
On a similar note, for the record, Ohio State's official online shop is still selling replicas Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron and DeVier Posey jerseys for $60 a pop after those players were put on ice, in part, for selling jerseys. I assume it's crossed their mind at some point to offer replica gold pants, too, but that would just be in bad taste.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.