Jim Tressel has plenty of accomplishments. He has a National Championship, he has 7 Big Ten titles, he has a winning percentage better than .800 and he’s got a 9-1 record against Michigan. Yet, with all of that under his belt, Tressel risked his job (maybe), his reputation (definitely) and the program’s future in order to lock up a couple wins during the 2010 campaign.
Yep, the Sweater Vest himself traded on his own pristine reputation to make a play at the 2010 National Title (failed) at the cost of potential program reparations in the years to come. The worst part about it is that he could have prevented it.
By Peter Christian
Tuesday’s news of Tressel’s prior knowledge of his players bartering of memorabilia for services rendered (i.e. tattoos) is extremely disconcerting because he was supposed to be one of the “good guys.” His appearance and demeanor was one that just made you think you were watching and listening to an ethical man. I mean, he wore a sweater vest for crying out loud. Unethical men don’t wear sweater vests (unless their name is Brad and they went to Yale and he’s trying to steal your girlfriend by constantly dropping anecdotes about his family’s vacation home in The Hamptons).
The point is that maybe Tressel isn’t the man we thought he is. Maybe he’s just as sleazy and shady as the other prominent NCAA coaches that are seemingly constantly surrounded by scandal. Maybe this was the beginning of the end for Tressel. Maybe this was a one time lapse in judgment. The fact is we don’t know anymore. We just don’t know why Tressel would allow his previously squeaky clean reputation to be tarnished by such a silly infraction.
What we do know is that Tressel used up every inch of his credibility on this one incident and now he’s facing the wrath of his Ohio State’s administration and the NCAA because he either turned a blind eye or attempted to cover it up. Logically, he should face the same punishment that the rule breaking athletes got (5 game suspension to begin 2011 season), but then again this is the NCAA and logic holds as much water as a brand new colander from Crate & Barrel.
Or…. (this is where you thought the article was going to end and I add one last morsel of thought to make you go, “hmmmmm?”) maybe this part of the story was known all along by the Ohio State brass and maybe even the NCAA?
Maybe, just maybe, when this story was about to break back in December the folks at the Ohio State, the NCAA and the Sugar Bowl got together to spin the story so only the info about the student athletes was released and it was agreed that the violating athletes would be able to play in the bowl game (so as to not make all three entities lose money on the game). All the while, they knew that eventually it would come out about Tressel knowing last Spring and that Ohio State would have to retroactively forfeit all of the 2010 wins and their subsequent Sugar Bowl victory.
However, by waiting to release the most damaging information until now means that it didn’t throw a wrench in the bowl system, it didn’t cause fans to re-think buying tickets to the bowl game and it didn’t have an effect on the most important part of the college football season (the money part).
Or maybe not. It’s all conjecture. But it makes sense. A ton of it.Follow paulmbanks