How Much Longer Will OSU Officials and Jim Tressel Prolong the Inevitable?
No beating around the bushes here: Even disregarding the recent OSU administration’s probe into automobile purchases made by current and former Ohio State athletes and their relatives, the allegations and penalties already on the table are more than enough for Ohio State officials to (1) fire Jim Tressel or (2) for Jim Tressel to gracefully submit his resignation. For neither one the aforementioned to occur would be a haughty affront to the sensibilities of rational thinking folks and a horrible reflection on Ohio State University’s commitment to honor NCAA bylaws and more importantly the principles of conduct by its employees.
Yet when we are talking about the fan base and administration of one of the most accomplished college football programs in the country—being rational and thus doing the right thing becomes a hard pill to swallow. But to those Buckeye loyalist who want to simply bury their heads in the sand and/or hope this thing just blows over—start preparing for the worst!
No doubt—Jim Tressel is a great college football coach who has consistently slain the hated Wolverines, produced 3 BCS championship game appearances, 1 national championship and a remarkable 7 Big Ten Conference titles during his ten year tenure—not to mention the 4 D-1AA national titles he delivered at Youngstown State.
Jim Tressel is not an evil man and he deserves the benefit of the doubt that his actions (or inaction) surrounding the eventual suspension of five of his players were done solely to protect them. Nonetheless, Jim Tressel failed to follow the NCAA bylaws by not immediately reporting these infractions when he first learned of them. Furthermore, the NCAA stated in its April 21 Notice of Allegations letter to OSU President E. Gordon Gee that they believe Tressel failed to act with “honesty and integrity”, “violated ethical-conduct legislation” and “withheld information” during the investigation.
2. [NCAA Bylaw 10.1]
It was reported that Jim Tressel, head football coach, failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics as required by NCAA legislation and violated ethical-conduct legislation when he failed to report information concerning violations of NCAA legislation and permitted football student-athletes to in intercollegiate athletics competition while ineligible. Specifically, in April of 2010 Tressel received email notification that football student-athletes, including XXXXXXXXX received preferential treatment from and sold athletics awards, apparel and/or equipment to Edward Rife, owner of a local tattoo parlor; however, Tressel failed to report the information to athletics administrators. Additionally, Tressel withheld the information from April 2010 until the institution discovered the emails in January 2011, including throughout the 2010 football season when he permitted football student-athletes to compete while ineligible and during the institution’s investigation of the violations in December 2010. Further, in September 2010, Tressel falsely attested that he reported to the institution any knowledge of NCAA violations when he signed the institution’s certification of compliance form, which is required under Bylaw 188.8.131.52. 1.4.
In my opinion, the media reported documented phone and email communications Tressel engaged in upon first learning about the infractions—which continued for nearly six moths prior to the revelation of the violations by the NCAA— and his alleged failure to not even notify his boss, OSU athletic director Gene Smith or anyone else within the administration, smell of an intentional long-term orchestrated cover-up. Even so, the biggest mistake that Tressel and the Ohio State athletic department made was to spit in the face of the NCAA by finding a loophole that allowed those suspended players to play in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.
It also doesn’t help Tressel’s case that he took advantage of the situation by making a public spectacle out of making those 5 players pledge to return the following season if they wanted to play in the Sugar Bowl—especially when we know, now, that he knew about the infractions way back in April of 2010.
The decision ignited the furnace and greased the wheels of the NCAA rules committee freight train that is, now, rolling—unrestrained—down the track in top gear and headed on a collision course bound for Columbus.
Reminiscent of the recent long running scandal at USC that led to a two year probation, forfeiture of games, reduction in scholarships and Reggie Bush returning his Heisman Trophy, the Buckeyes are facing a similar fate or maybe worse.
Presiding over the mess at USC were head football Coach Pete Carroll and athletic director Mike Garrett. Unlike Tressel, Carroll was not implicated by the NCAA as being involved with any of the discovered infractions. But Carroll saw the writing on the wall well before the NCAA concluded its investigation and handed down their sanctions. So he wisely chose to move on to the NFL to become head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Mike Garrett was fired by newly hired USC president Max Nikias.
- Will OSU coach Jim Tressel be as wise as Pete Carroll?
- Will OSU athletic director Gene Smith face the similar fate of Mike Garrett?
Look out Columbus! That NCAA freight train is still rolling—and with bad intentions for the Buckeye athletic program.
Ohio State to investigate players’ car deals