Blog Entry

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

Posted on: May 7, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 1:06 pm

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Over the last decade he's gone 106-22 with seven Big Ten titles and a national championship. Against Michigan, he's led his team to a 9-1 record, and has sent countless players from his school on to the NFL. All are wonderful accomplishments that make sure his name belongs beside the great Woody Hayes as one of the best football coaches in Ohio State history.

Unfortunately that name, Jim Tressel, will likely evoke some other images besides on field success years from now. Much like so many people remember Woody Hayes' name for the time he punched a player to put an end to his career, Jim Tressel's legacy could face the same kind of fate.

Now a lot of people will remember Tressel for his seeming lack of control or his flaunting the rules over the last year. First there were the revelations that Tressel's players had been selling and trading merchandise for discounts at a tattoo parlor, which was only made worse when we found out that Tressel knew about it months before Ohio State reported it to the NCAA.

That story, deservingly, put a huge target on Jim Tressel. It was a blatant and unacceptable skirting of the rules by the head coach. One, that if done by any other college football coach in the country without the accomplishments of Tressel, would have resulted in that coach being fired. But not at Ohio State where the school's president, E. Gordon Gee, was too busy making jokes about whether or not Tressel would fire him.

I don't think Gee or many others at Ohio State are still laughing.

Not with the story that broke on Saturday morning involving a couple of Columbus-area car dealerships, one salesman and a lot of Ohio State players and family members buying cars. Now, this isn't a situation that can be placed solely on the shoulders of Jim Tressel, but the entire compliance department of the Ohio State University. I mean, it's possible that the Committee on Infractions could find out that Ohio State players received discounts on numerous cars, and that Ohio State's compliance department approved of the purchases. That is the kind of thing that happens before the NCAA says those words that no school in this country ever wants to hear.

Lack of institutional control.

While it may not be fair to pin the blame for this latest Buckeye mishap squarely on Tressel's sweatervest, the fact is that right now, the best thing for Ohio State to do would be part ways with their head coach. He needs to go, and as I've already said, he already deserves to be fired for the way he handled "Tatgate."

There always has to be a fall guy. In sports, in business, in politics, in just about every walk of life. As the public face of Ohio State football, Tressel is that fall guy. This latest compliance disaster may not be his fault, but by firing Tressel, Ohio State could save itself some larger sanctions from the NCAA.

More on Ohio State

Make no mistake, there will be sanctions coming from the NCAA and the COI. If USC could be held responsible for Reggie Bush's car, then you have to think Ohio State will be as well. When the NCAA does get ready to come down on Ohio State, if it sees that Jim Tressel is still the head coach and has survived, it will look like Ohio State is sticking a certain finger in the air at the NCAA, the COI and college football in general.

From outside the NCAA perspective, the longer Tressel sticks in Columbus, the longer the media will continue digging into any other possible transgressions that may have taken place under Tressel's watch. As long as he is there, there will be media scrutiny, and as we've seen in recent months, the media has a tendency to be a better watchdog than the NCAA itself. And who knows what is left to be uncovered? Considering we first began hearing about questionable behavior at Ohio State under Tressel with Maurice Clarett in 2003, you'd be naive to think that these cars and those free tattoos were the only times that Buckeye football players possibly broke NCAA rules over the last eight years.

There are a lot of dark clouds over Columbus right now, and they won't be going anywhere for a while. Still, the sun is going to break through at some point, and the sooner Ohio State says goodbye to Jim Tressel, the sooner the sun will reappear.



Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: May 8, 2011 1:57 am

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the Ohio State football program is that it likely reveals the underbelly of elite college football today across the country. When E. Gordon Gee announced he was concerned coach Tressel would fire him he unwittingly exposed the strangel hold college football programs have over the universities that house them.

The biggest donors for any of these elite football schools tend to be football fans. Not casual go to the home game football fans. Really rich alumni who four millions of dollars into the program. Think Phil Knight at Oregon. Think T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State. Think thousands more at lesser levels. These high rollars are essential to the universities. They build buildings on campuses to be named for them. They fuel major fund drives. They receive sideline passes for the games along with premium seats in the enclosed stadium suites. They do fire presidents. These are also the car dealers who find jobs for players in the summer that do not require a time clock. They are the clothing store owners that mark down merchandise at sale prices once a player has shown interest in an item. They give golden hand shakes to the players with wads of bills.

This is the cancer on universities across the country. Football pulls in most of the money to fund other sports. Football has gone beyond control. Academics is secondary. Is there a solution? NCAA has poor power to control this. Congress has interest then discovers that the congressman's biggest donors are football fans. The Justice Department wants a playoff. It will not change this. E. Gordon Gee is right. He needs to be fired along with the AD and the coach. Perhaps a thorough example at one school will scare the others for a few years about institutional control. But not likely.

Since: Jun 7, 2010
Posted on: May 7, 2011 8:22 pm

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

The Biggest mistake OSU made is not hiring Archie Griffin as AD.  It appears to me Gene Smith is throwing his own compliance department under the bus, while covering his own ass. Archie cares about his school unlike the homers that post here.

Since: Jan 25, 2008
Posted on: May 7, 2011 7:53 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: May 7, 2011 4:31 pm

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

Let's investigate every program in college football, so we can give all of them the death penalty and then the NCAA would have no revenue, and go out of business. In Ohio State's case, it's selling trinkets and free tatoos. With some other school it would be something else.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: May 7, 2011 4:13 pm

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

If you read the articile from The Columbus Dispatch and that is where CBS got this information about the cars(this is old news by the way) they failed to mention as said in the Dispatch that they have found no wrong doing and Ohio State has been watching these cars sales for quite some time and are just checking AGAIN to make sure nothing bad is going on here.CBS needs to show everyone the whole picture not just the corner,this is very poor reporting and typical of CBS once again trying to stir the pot to get a message board started and some words flying.....nuff saidWink

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: May 7, 2011 3:05 pm

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

If the NCAA keeps investigating the Buckeye program, the words 'lack of institutional control' will be the least of OSU's worries. The words 'Death Penalty' will.

Since: Sep 1, 2008
Posted on: May 7, 2011 1:45 pm

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

Why are cbs writers so dead set on this goodness people make mistakes.

Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: May 7, 2011 1:22 pm

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

It is no longer a matter of opinion that Tressel lied. The only way to clean up college football is to start now, today, with Tressel resigning. Then the focus can also shift to the widespread other issues plaguing the sport.. or rather "business".

Jim Tressel: NCAA's Nixon in a Sweater Vest?

Nice to discover you, Tom Fornelli. Great job.

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