So now, the guy who was the most heralded recruit Ohio State had landed in ages, and who was often touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate, has left the program in disgrace and, now, has been excommunicated. What’s next — declaring that no Ohio State player will ever again wear the forever tainted no. 2 jersey? How much has changed since Pryor led the Buckeyes to another victory over Michigan only 8 months ago!
What happened earlier today with the Tressel resignation is really no surprise to me, except that it took as long as it did for him to resign. As I mentioned in a previous post back in March, Coach lost my support when he signed the NCAA document on December 8th saying that he knew nothing about the tattoo parlor incident when he in fact had received details the prior April.
I can understand that initially Coach Tressel’s thoughts were that he wanted to protect the players and that there might have been an issue with confidentiality, but when you forward the e-mail about the incident to Pryor’s confidante in Pennsylvania and not to the athletic director of Ohio State, that’s a HUGE mistake in my humble opinion. Tressel should have come clean during the March press conference and he didn’t.
I am also bothered about the way athletic director Gene Smith and school president Gordon Gee handled the situation once they knew about it. When Ohio State held the press conference Gene Smith should have said that the university was going to conduct a more broad and comprehensive investigation to determine if there were more rules infractions that took place. Maybe then the details of car deals and living arrangement benefits might have been uncovered.
For Gee to say to the media, I have no intention of firing Coach Tressel, I only hope he doesn’t fire me has to be one of the dumbest statements I have ever heard ! Has college athletics gotten so big that the president of a major university is afraid to reprimand his own coach ? I think that Gee was treating Tressel as if he was above the NCAA rules that every other school has to follow and I think this is inexcusable.
I hope I am wrong, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the NCAA decides to open up a second investigation into the new allegations that have recently come out. I wonder how Buckeye fans are going to react when we are slapped with NCAA sanctions of one, two or three years of probation not to mention the loss of numerous scholarships. I am as big a Buckeye fan as the next person, but the next few years are going to be very tough for Buckeye Nation.
Tonight’s disclosure about Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel is disappointing news, indeed, for Ohio State fans. Tressel failed to promptly report information about potential NCAA violations to institutional officials. As a result, Ohio State has self-reported an NCAA violation, has suspended Coach Tressel for two games, has fined him $250,000, and will issue a public reprimand and require Coach Tressel to make a public apology. The NCAA, of course, may impose additional sanctions or require additional actions.
I’ve read the Ohio State letter self-reporting the violations and listened to parts of tonight’s press conference about the matter, in which OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith, Coach Tressel, and OSU President E. Gordon Gee spoke. I have some questions about what happened, but I’d prefer to reserve judgment until more information comes out. I think a big part of the puzzle will be the e-mails between Coach Tressel and the attorney who advised Tressel of the potential NCAA violations — and who apparently requested confidentiality because the information was obtained in the context of a federal drug trafficking investigation. How were the e-mails phrased? Did their contents reasonably suggest that Coach Tressel should be concerned about the safety of the unnamed players who allegedly were involved?
Sometimes I think we expect public figures — and in Ohio, the head football coach at Ohio State obviously is a public figure — to make snap judgments that stand up to the most rigorous 20-20 hindsight examination. In life, it rarely works out that way. For all of Ohio State’s focus on NCAA rules compliance, I doubt that Coach Tressel or anyone else has received training on what to do if they receive an email from an attorney reporting on potential rules violation information obtained during a federal criminal investigation, when the attorney requests strict confidentiality. Let’s at least wait until more information becomes available before we reach ultimate conclusions on the propriety of Coach Tressel’s conduct.