Blog Entry

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

Posted on: December 30, 2010 5:24 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2010 8:39 am

What's a promise worth? It depends at Ohio State. We learned Thursday that the Buckeye Five have promised/vowed/pledged to return next year. In other words, not split for the NFL following the Sugar Bowl. In exchange for that promise/vow/pledge Jim Tressel said he is allowing them to play in the bowl.

It was a savvy, political move by the coach. Obviously, he held the bowl up as a carrot in exchange for the promise from the players. But other than that, what's a promise worth? Tressel is relying on character and integrity from the players who haven't shown much lately. Those same players had enough character and integrity to sell merchandise worth more than a combined $10,000.

You would think Tressel would first obtain a "vow" that his players never violate NCAA rules but maybe that's asking too much. You can say the Buckeye Five didn't know they were breaking the rules, but we're tired of that excuse. Really tired. Ignorance of the law hasn't been much of an excuse for the NCAA in the past until recently (see: Newton, Cam).  Now it has to be the default setting on every case going forward. You can bet the didn't-know excuse will be raised more than once in Indianapolis when USC meets the NCAA appeals committee next month.

So what's a promise worth? Consider this: It is one that Tressel would not have been able to wrangle from his players had they not violated those NCAA rules. That's what makes this case greasier by the minute. Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan almost comes off as a sympathetic figure this week. A lot of you were no doubt turned off by Hoolahan lobbying for the Buckeye Five's participation in his game. But Hoolahan is a businessman. His charge is no different than a concert promoter -- fill seats and make money. Of course he wants Terrelle Pryor to play. Why wouldn't he?

It's the intersection of capitalism and the NCAA Manual that stains. You'll remember that the NCAA is allowing the five players to be eligible for the game because of some obscure six-year-old rule. It's a rule that the NCAA scolded us about not knowing on Wednesday. The Association can send out all the releases it wants explaining its actions but that doesn't change the fact that perception is reality -- the NCAA is favoring the power conferences and the power schools.

The NCAA does a lot of things well. It has not managed to realize it has a tremendous image problem. Tressel did nothing more than leverage playing time to get those "promises" from the five players, all eligible for the NFL Draft -- Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas and Dan Herron. There is absolutely nothing beyond Thursday's news that actually binds them to Ohio State after next week. Let's say any one or all of the five have a spectacular game against Arkansas and shoot up the draft charts. What a promise worth, then?

In the last week, the NCAA confused and bullied us. On Thursday, Jim Tressel distracted us. Nothing has changed. National perception remains reality. The big boys rule the sport. Big Brother and Ohio State knows the Buckeye Five shouldn't be playing in the Sugar Bowl.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Sep 9, 2007
Posted on: January 2, 2011 10:39 pm

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

Dennis Dodd, critical of Ohio State?

Now who could have seen that coming?

Reminds me of Carlin's old Hippie Diddy Weather man skit: "Tonight's forecast--DARK!"

Since: Oct 24, 2007
Posted on: January 2, 2011 10:05 pm

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

I agree that this situation may end up not holding water with the players.  My point is that Tressell gets away clean.  He will be the one that "told these kids that they needed to be punished" and the players' reputation will be tarnished - not Tressell's.  At least on the surface.  

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2010 5:23 pm

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

I have no reason to call anyone a liar especially Coach Tressel,if he says he told the players they were not going to with the team to the Sugar Bowl and accept their punishment  unless they gave their word they would return I believe him.The question is ...are the players  returning and staying true to their word. Time will tell.

Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:55 pm

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

The Big Ten has now stooped to the level of the SEC. Sad!

Since: Jun 11, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:29 pm

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

UGA, that is not going to hold water.  These guys are going to bolt.  If they decide to stay, they have to go to class the entire semester to remain eligible for next year.  I don't see that.  Also, I will bet that Cam Newton does not even walk in a classroom this year.  He is continuing a tradition of sleazy, pay as you play activities of the SEC. 
Tressel will publicize the promise because the Sugar Bowl CEO rubbed a little to raw the skin of college bowl fans when he said he pressured OSU to allow the 5 to play in the bowl game.  It is a nice tight group.
The NCAA needs to tighten the rules surrounding the cash rich sports.  I know for a fact that the other college teams that lack fans and TV do a much better job of adhering to NCAA regulations. 
But bottom line, these kids don't care about what they did in the past.  They are looking to the money in the future.  And the schools, Bowls and NCAA are letting them do it.

Since: Jun 11, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:19 pm

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

Buck, that was head on correct.  I do want to see the 5 players suspended from the prestated 5 games plus the Bowl.  But most of all, Cam is dirty and has to go - for good.  His dad is dirty and a scumbag.  Both schools, Auburn and Ohio State copped a "they didn't know" attitude which is fashionable these days to get off the hook.

Both schools should face some sort of hearing and censure.  I realize football and basketball get money and agents thrown at them all day long.  That does not get them or the schools a convenient excuse to say, "I was not aware of the rules, but let's play the bowl game first."  That's BS.

Since: Dec 7, 2009
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:51 am

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

I see a lot of delusional OSU fans here.  Maybe 99% of the people in your office agree it's no big deal but 99% of the country does.  What happened to receiving gifts being impermissible (TATTOO'S)?  Com'On man give it up and accept that these guys committed the crime, unfortunately there doing the time when it’s convenient for $$$ reasons.  By the way, most of the same people complaining about OSU are also P.O'd about Newton. 

Since: Dec 31, 2010
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:19 am

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

Let me get this straight.  Cam Newton is found guilty by internal investigation by Auburn and suspended.  The NCAA, in a rush to ensure he plays for the SEC Championship Game and ensure that Auburn is still in the running for the coveted match up for the National Championship Game (and to ensure TCU doesn't get into the game and blow up the BCS model), decides they have no evidence since they did "no investigating" in the few days they had, and reinstates him.  Now all along Auburn has had the option to suspend him, in keeping with their original findings, for the SEC Championship Game and the National Championship game regardless of what the NCAA's findings were, but they chose not to.  Yet every one of you hypocrites (bloggers, Dodd, Mark May, etc) are whining that Ohio State should do this exact same thing or they have no integrity... The NCAA made a bad ruling based on money and other considerations.  No doubt.  But if you are going to hold Ohio State accountable, each and every one of you needs to hold Auburn accountable for the same integrity violation.  Thus, once Cam Newton is suspended for the National Championship game by Auburn because they want to do the "right" thing (to demonstrate their integrity), then and only then can any of you call for the suspension of the five Ohio State players for the Sugar Bowl.  Its the same line of reasoning.  I anxiously await both Dodd and Mark May's public outcry for Can Newton's suspension.  Otherwise, clam up.

Since: Oct 24, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:19 am

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

Honestly, this is a great strategy for Tressel. Now, he has made this agreement publicly known (see He knows very well that there is a shot that these kids back off from the deal if they play a great game and shoot up the draft boards. However, the public backlash against these kids will be so great if they were to back down from a promise they gave to their head coach - the person that offered them an olive branch to play in a bowl game - these kids images would be permanently damaged. Tressel is banking on public/fan pressure to keep these kids around another year, or their reputation will be trashed. Still don't think they should be allowed to play in the bowl game, but this was the best way to have the kids for one more year and have a better chance at finally beating an SEC school in the bowl game.

Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:22 am

Tressel uses playing time as leverage for Sugar

I actually agree w/ Dodd in some way.  This is indeed a great publicity stunt.  What a great damage control idea there is - a true win-win for Ohio State. 
This also reflects the sad state of Michigan football.  I bet the Ohio State players would say something like: Hey I don't mind selling this....I got too many of this around already!!!

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