I have defended my Buckeyes against attacks before, usually against haters who believe we're not a legitimate powerhouse because we won't run up the score against our opponents. (They're not defensively minded and don't appreciate the intricacies of ball-control offense.) I have spent hours pulling up facts, figures, and statistics refuting those who, year in and year out, use two high profile losses to call us "overrated", when our BCS appearances and wins should put that question to rest. I haven't had reason to question my football program or my coach, because whatever faults you may have, above all else, honesty and integrity have been your hallmark. Needless to say, I am completely stunned by the revelations of this week, and questioning whether or not I should try to defend what is, in my mind, indefensible.
After watching your prepared comments, I understand the issue is more complicated than it was presented by the media to be. (No big shock there-- the media guys hate us. When you run a clean program, graduate your players, and still manage to remain relevant in the big picture every year, you're going to have a bullseye on your back.) Nonetheless, a lie of omission is still a lie, and I am having a hard time reconciling this situation with the image I have of you. You show humility. Your concern is for the boys and not your own interests. You are not just a coach, you are a teacher and a mentor. At least, in my head you are all these things. You're not like the others I despise; at least, in my head you're not. But maybe I'm saying that because you are my coach and someone I've admired, someone above the fray.
Maybe the fault is mine-- I've made you into something superhuman, a god-like figure. But you are not a knight in bright, shiny armor; you are just a man and subject to the same flaws, faults, and foibles as every other man.
So, no-- I will not defend what you did. Regardless of your motives, what you did was wrong, and whatever punishment you receive you deserve. And as painful as it will be, I will accept the NCAA decision. I will not call it unfair and try to justify an appeal; I will take it like a big girl, just as I did with the decision about boys' case.
I usually talk about how much I love you and the program. When the story broke, I was asked if I still love you. The answer is yes-- you and the boys gave me a reason to smile during the toughest year of my life when all I was doing was crying. Your armor shows some tarnish now that I didn't see before, and your pedestal is not nearly as high off the ground, but yes, I still love you. I'm angry, frustrated, disappointed, and hurt, but I still love you and my team.