TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher shakes hands with Sean Spence #31 of the Miami Hurricanes after a game at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
On paper, it may not look good. The Steelers selected two players involved with two of the three major scandals in college football over the past 18 months.
Pittsburgh's second round pick, Ohio State OT Mike Adams was one of the infamous "Tattoo Five" in Columbus; a group of players who exchanged Buckeyes merchandise for tattoos while on the Ohio State football team. It was quite the scandal, and eventually led to Jim Tressel's ouster.
Miami LB Sean Spence was one of several players on the Hurricanes football team suspended for accepting improper benefits from imprisoned booster Nevin Shapiro. Spence was one of the five suspended for just one game, as opposed to three players who missed significant time.
It's almost as if the Steelers are quietly thumbing their noses at those violations. And perhaps they should be.
Adams tested positive for marijuana at the Combine, and it can safely be said there's more concern around that. The scandal cost him five games after an All-Big 10 season the prior year. According to a report, Adams sold his 2008 Big 10 championship ring, and was ordered to re-pay $1,000.
As far as the scandal itself goes, the issue is in the lack of admittance to the issue when it surfaces. That was Tressel's major downfall. Just my opinion, but if you can sell a Big 10 championship ring for a grand, more power to you. I probably couldn't get a grand for my car, but it's mine. The ring was Adams'. It shouldn't be different.
As for Spence, the extent of the benefits he took obviously pales in comparison to some of his teammates. Shapiro, a convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind, tossed all of the players he used to support under the bus last summer, including Spence:
Sean Spence was one of the regular guys at my house. [He] came in same time as Marcus Forston and his teammate, Jacory Harris. Met him at Benihana for the first time at a dinner I've mentioned already. From there we went to The Cheetah. I also gave him money during some of our bowling outings.
Simply put, Shapiro footed the bill at a steakhouse and a strip club, and somehow, managed to rack up a tab of over $2,100 at a bowling alley. As easy as it is to mock the "seriousness" of these offenses, the fact is, they're violations. There's no way each player could feign ignorance, either.
If the allegations Spence and Adams found themselves involved in hurt their draft stock, that seems more of the appropriate punishment. Adams could have been a first round pick. Spence perhaps wouldn't have gone that high, but it still may have affected his position.
Either way, both of them can go to a bowling alley and have someone else pay a tab of several thousand dollars if they so choose. One just has to hope there is someone reminding them the most important lesson here is simply not to be stupid.