Jim Tressel Resigns – Ohio Adds Sweater Vests to LeBron Jersey Bonfires

So he’s out. After many months of speculation dating from the Tat Five and the bowl game to the avalanche of evidence edging closer to the dreaded “lack of institutional control”, Jim Tressel has finally did what should have happened months ago, he left his dream job at Ohio State and will hang his head in shame. Okay, he probably won’t. He won bunches of games, established Ohio State as the annual BCS representative and destroyed Michigan so really, it’s about the same as when he left Youngstown State 11 years ago: Amid NCAA infractions, a title-winning coach leaves and does not take consequences for his actions (or lack thereof). So here’s the question: Who’s the loser?

We must look at the future of this program. It’s not so much a program in turmoil (hard to be when you’re considered a top-5 in the preseason polls) but one in dire need of a moral compass. It is safe to assume that Tressel left, not because of mounting pressure (while there were some, even the President was scared that Tressel would fire him, not the other way around), but the media kept on finding more inexcusable garbage surrounding him and his players that this was going to get a lot worse than it was better. Who knows how many more of these student-athletes took shortcuts just by being a Buckeye? We’ll probably find out soon once the NCAA finishes its investigation into this nonsense. Once the NCAA decides how to punish this program, and believe me, this resignation means they absolutely WILL get more sanctions, what does it mean to the beloved scarlet and gray? Recruiting will open up again, commits will go different ways because let’s face it, who knows if OSU will go to bowl games or have their scholarships dwindle. Now, I’m not saying they will get the death penalty like the infamous Baylor football team but I want to see some sort of punishment. If you have issues dating back to his previous tenure as a coach in D-II Youngstown State, where was the follow-up on that? This was an obvious pattern for him but it was ignored because he fooled us with his “Senator Tressel” shtick. Shake every hand, countdown to the big day, beat Michigan, he had Buckeye fans at hello. Little did we know was once he had the power of everyone, we saw his winning and ignored his ever-expanding ego and growing immunity. He knew he could get away with letting his players do as they wish because they were celebrities and no one ever turns away a winner. On the field, he was one of the best coaches in the country. He always fielded the best teams, tops in the Big Ten, and destroys the Wolverines on a yearly basis. However, no one will remember those wins and the national championship without Tressel’s now tarnished legacy.

There’s a lot of blame to go around really. The university is just as to blame to let one man gain so much power and the money aspect of the game blind them into giving him a free pass to do as he wishes, or really the idea that because he is who he is, he can come and go as he please without repercussions. The president, athletic director, and compliance department oversees Tressel and they all deserve the chance to resign to save face. This is too big for them to continue to defend his actions and call it okay. It was under their watch and it will be know that they let this happen. The players responsible need blame too. I get that being a celebrity on campus must be some exhilarating ride, but you come to school as a student-athlete who pretty much knows that any benefit you take is going to be looked at as a violation. But the power got to their heads too, they thought they could get away from it because no one cares as long as you beat Michigan, or win Big Ten championships. You’re the heroes of the town and “deserve” to be celebrated and sometimes paid as such. I get some of them might not know any better and the guidance of Tressel should have shown them the right direction but please, they are at least 18-year-old adults.

You can’t turn on ESPN without seeing some program having issues with boosters or NCAA infractions. Tressel obviously deserves the most blame. He thought he could hide one e-mail that would damn his season to hell (read: no BCS shot) and just handle it without it getting worse. He might have had the best intentions to help these kids, give them a shot, make sure they learned their lesson but instead we have what we see today. Apparently if no one hears about it, then it never happened. To sweep such crap under the rug is insulting to anyone. Maybe more so to blame is us fans. We treat the idea of winning at all costs with rewards of merchandise royalties, stupidly defending them by insulting other teams, and just passing the blame. I am not going to be the naive one to say that this does not happen at other universities. It’s probably safe bet to say it’s a lot more common than one would suspect. But I hear Buckeye fans just brushing this off as at least he beat Michigan. I get that I don’t see an actual competitive advantage (unless you see a used luxury car burst through the line to tackle Denard Robinson) but c’mon now. Let’s just take our lumps and admit this blows.

I wish I knew the direction this program will take and how this will shape the Buckeyes into the next decade. I find it interesting to see that the last decade began with promise and this one begins with shame. I do know Ohio State will rebound but it should interesting to see how quickly and who will be at the helm in 2012. Urban Meyer? John Gruden? Bob Stoops? I could care less at this point. Just make sure he doesn’t write a book on integrity and responsibility only to become the poster boy for hypocrisy.

John Gruden

One thought on “Jim Tressel Resigns – Ohio Adds Sweater Vests to LeBron Jersey Bonfires”

  1. Tressel will go down in Buckeye history as a winning coach and a legend. I wish this scandal would tarnish him, but it won’t. Look at Woody Hayes. Do people talk about how he lost it and punched a guy? No. He’s a freaking GOD in Columbus. Tressel will be no different, though it would be nice if the fans could come to grips with reality.

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