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No one, even Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, was immune from offseason troubles

Issues involving Sooners and Cowboys were not good. But nothing in college football compared to the child-abuse scandal at Penn State
by Jenni Carlson Published: August 29, 2012
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photo - Workers handle the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno before removing the statue Sunday, July 22, 2012, in State College, Pa. The famed statue of Paterno was taken down from outside the Penn State football stadium Sunday, eliminating a key piece of the iconography surrounding the once-sainted football coach accused of burying child sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant. (AP Photo/John Beale) ORG XMIT: PAJL102
Workers handle the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno before removing the statue Sunday, July 22, 2012, in State College, Pa. The famed statue of Paterno was taken down from outside the Penn State football stadium Sunday, eliminating a key piece of the iconography surrounding the once-sainted football coach accused of burying child sex abuse allegations against a retired assistant. (AP Photo/John Beale) ORG XMIT: PAJL102

Heck, Dyer not only got booted at Auburn but also at Arkansas State, where he had transferred.

Remember, too, that the offseason had its not-so-good moments in our state. It wasn't just everyone else who was having problems.

Back in May, Oklahoma indefinitely suspended four players, including three wide receivers. Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Quentin Hayes have since been reinstated while Kameel Jackson has transferred, but don't expect the three remaining players to be let out of the doghouse any time soon.

Ditto for Stacy McGee. The starting defensive tackle was suspended indefinitely earlier this month for violating university policy.

Oh, and no Sooner fan could forget the one-two punch of losing Ben Habern and Tyler Evans. Both were starting offensive linemen, and within days of each other, we learned that neither will be able to play this season because of injury.

Yes, it's been a rough offseason for OU.

OSU hasn't been immune to this offseason tumult either.

In June, the weird story of Herschel Sims and Jeremiah Tshimaga surfaced. According to a police report, Tshimaga alleges that Sims accessed his bank account and took $700 without permission. According to those close to Sims, he says it was a misunderstanding.

What really happened is anyone's guess.

This much we do know — the Cowboys booted Sims, a highly touted running back.

Two months later, it was Michael Bowie on the way out. The offensive lineman was expected to protect Wes Lunt's blind side as the starting left tackle, but instead, he left the team after violating team rules.

Wow, listing all of those offseason problems and scandals smacks you in the face. It reminds you what a tough time these past few months have been for college football.

A bunch of games won't change what went wrong. Goodness knows the fallout from the Penn State scandal alone will be felt for decades. Here's hoping that the proper lessons have been learned and the needed changes have been made.

And yet, after this offseason, we need the frivolity of the games more than ever. We need to hear the bands and smell the tailgates and cheer the gridiron gladiators. We need to be reminded of why we love the sport.

Let the games begin.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125 or at jcarlson@opubco.com. You can also like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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