Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jim Tressel & OSU Mess

I posted this article shortly after OSU was caught in a scandal.  At the time, I thought Jim Tressel would keep his job and this mess would all blow over.  I was wrong, today Jim Tressel resigned as head coach at OSU, a resigning that seems to be in lieu of a firing.  With that, I thought this article needed to be revisited.

I recently posted about BYU and their situation with Brandon Davies.  Although I felt that BYU was harsh in their penalty, I applauded them for standing up for their morals and their way of life.  BYU chose to suspend a player that was their third leading scorer and leading rebounder knowing that it may effect their chances of winning and therefore bringing an influx of money to the university.  Teams like Ohio State are the complete opposite.  They choose to bend and break the rules when it involves starters and star players.  Jim Tressel chose not to report his players to the NCAA for one reason, it would have effected a possible shot at a national title.

Ohio state had violated NCAA rule 10.1 which bans unethical conduct.  It was originally thought that only two players had sold team memorabilia; rings, jerseys etc... to a local tattoo parlor owner in exchange for cash and tattoos.  Upon further investigation it now seems as though there is a total of six players, that had done the same.  OSU head coach Jim Tressel was notified via e-mail from a Columbus, OH attorney, that ESPN is reporting today, is ex-OSU player Christopher T. Cicero, of memorabilia that was found in a raid of the home of tattoo parlor owner Edward Rife on April 2.   Tressel did not report it to his athletic director, the university or the NCAA.  He chose to sit on his hands and do nothing.  It wasn't until December 7th when federal investigators contacted the athletic department at OSU to see if the memorabilia was stolen, that the university was made aware of the situation.  Even then OSU did not notify the NCAA of possible violations until February 3rd.

OSU's internal penalties for Tressel are somewhat of a joke.  They suspended him for the first two games of the 2011 season, home games against Akron and Toledo and fined him $250,000.  Big deal!  Those home games should be winnable with me coaching them, and for a coach that makes a little over three million dollars a year just in salary, $250,000 might as well be a couple of hundred dollars.  The NCAA, now aware of all of this can and I believe will step in and put in place much harsher penalties. 

Five players have been suspend for the first five games of  the 2011 season when it was revealed that they had sold memorabilia to Rife, Terrelle Pryor (QB), Dan Herron (RB), DeVier Posey (WR), Mike Adams (OT) and Solomon Thomas (DE).  One other player, Jordan Whiting (LB) has been suspended for one game.  All of  the above players were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl, in which OSU won over Arkansas.  This is what amazes me, OSU learns of this and allows these players to participate in the Sugar Bowl for one reason, they wanted to win.  Upon learning of the violations of the players and Tressell OSU should have come forward to the NCAA and suspended these players  and head coach pending an investigation, instead they chose to try and win the Sugar Bowl and bring more money into the university.

For the record, Pryor started at QB in the Sugar Bowl, going 14/25 for 221 yards and 2 TD's, no interceptions.  He also ran 15 times for 115 yards.  Herron also started, carried the ball 24 times for 87 yeards and a TD.  Posey started, caught 3 passes for 70 yards and 1 TD.   Solomon Thomas added an interception.  I would say that the five players that are now suspended and should have been suspended for the Sugar Bowl had a major impact on the outcome of that game.  This just adds fuel to fire that Tressel and OSU put winning and money above personal conduct and responsibility.

OSU's excuse for not suspending players for the Sugar Bowl was that they felt as though the university and athletic department had not properly educated their players on the selling of memorabilia.  HA!  Tressel made the excuse that he was thinking about the individual players and he did not want their names being involved in a federal drug ring investigation, which is what the authorities were looking at in the raid of the tattoo parlor.  Again, LOL, Tressel was thinking about the players involved only because they were starters and suspending them or coming forward would have a negative impact on Ohio States Season. 

In big time college sports, winning isn't everything, money is.  Winning usually equals money though.  Tressel has gone 106-22, won one national title and seven Big Ten championships.  Eventually this will all blow over and things at Ohio State will be business as usual.  OSU will not fire Tressel over these violations and new recruits will come in.  But OSU should look to BYU in the future if any violations are found regarding their players and coaches and maybe act in a more proper manor.  All of those wins last season along with that sugar Bowl win may not be OSU's for much longer.  Jim Tressel and Ohio State thought that they would get away with it, now that their hands are in the cookie jar, they are forced to own up to their missteps and ask themselves was it worth it.  "The" Ohio State University is now "The" poster child for what is wrong in major college sports today.

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