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Tag:E. Gordon Gee
Posted on: September 16, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Miami-Ohio St looking for a game, not headlines

Posted by Bryan Fischer

MIAMI -- Is Oklahoma going to the Pac-12? Did you see LSU's defense Thursday night? The NCAA reinstated someone from Boise State!

The world of college football this year seems to be about everything but the games six days a week. Saturday, of course, things stop. There's tailgates and touchdowns, quarterbacks and queso, defensive backs and racks full of ribs.

Likewise, much to Mark Emmert, Donna Shalla and E. Gordon Gee's chagrin, Saturday's primetime match up between Miami and Ohio State has seemingly been about everything but what will take place at Sun Life Stadium. The Ineligible Bowl. The Tats and Cash Fiesta. The Yahoo! Sports Bowl. Convict Boosters vs. well… Convict Boosters.

For what it's worth though, there will be no boosters on the sideline according to Miami officials.

Everyday this week, it seemed that each program was in the news for off the field distractions. Tuesday, the NCAA reinstated three Buckeyes after accepting money - via disgraced quarterback Terrelle Pryor - from a booster. On Thursday, Miami's most famous booster, Uncle Luke, announced plans to sue Miami's most infamous booster, Nevin Shapiro. Before the game on the field, games were played in the headlines during the run-up.

"What has been our strategy? Just focus on what we can control," Hurricanes head coach Al Golden said. "Again, I keep saying it. No one on our staff was involved with anything that occurred here, and 90% of our team wasn't.

"There are some distractions there. There are a lot of things. I'm sure Coach (Luke) Fickell has the same issues in terms of every move that you make requires a double move basically."

Golden's starter at quarterback tomorrow, Jacory Harris was suspended for the opener, a loss to Maryland. He's looking to make up for his performance in the Horseshoe last year when he threw four interceptions in a 36-24 loss. For a team looking to put it all out on the field after a rough month off of it, perhaps it is fitting that the Hurricanes' fate will rest on someone who was taken off of it for eligibility issues.

Beyond last year's loss and Harris' issues though, this game means something to Miami. They're looking to avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 1978 and end their four game losing streak. It's Golden's home debut leading the Hurricanes as well, something the team is clearly focused on - not the nicknames for their Ohio State showdown.

“He's been through the thick and thin with us through this whole [NCAA investigation]," senior Travis Benjamin said. ”We just want to come out and get a W for coach Golden.”

The Buckeyes are not without their own issues as they take their slightly less talented roster to South Beach. The team struggled last week and almost lost to Toledo were it not for John Simon's interception of the Rockets' backup quarterback late in the game. They'll be without four key players due to suspension in receiver DeVier Posey, tackle Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron and backup end Soloman Thomas. Those four will stay in Ohio while the other member of the Buckeye Five will be in Oakland. Not that anyone will bring any of that up.

"We hope and we think that this is what the game is all about, to be able to handle adversity and we believe it's going to make us stronger in the long run," Fickell said. "It starts from the top down. We can't let it affect me so that we can't let it affect them, as well."

Speaking of suspended players, Miami has at the early lead going on: they'll get back five players to Ohio State's three.

The Hurricanes will likely play a key role in the game as well. Linebacker Sean Spence will be a key defender in the middle of the defense behind linemen Marcus Forston and Adewale Ojomo. A speedy receiver, Benjamin should also provide a boost for the offense. Starting running back Jordan Hall, corner Travis Howard and reserve safety Corey Brown are back for the Buckeyes.

It won't quite be the 2003 Fiesta Bowl in terms of talent on the field but there's no ignoring how big a game it is between the two programs who are not on friendly terms.

"We try not to focus on, `Hey, this is a national game because of Miami and their great history and Ohio State's great history,'" Fickell said. "We're still making sure we understand it's one game at a time, like we always say, but it's still about getting better. It's a chance to obviously test ourselves."

Miami's home opener will be emotional. Ohio State is no doubt looking to silence critics. There will be story lines aplenty.

But as 7:30 eastern rolls around, it will - finally - be just a game.
 

Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:35 pm
 

Full Ohio State release on Tressel resignation

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The sudden (if not entirely unexpected) resignation of Jim Tressel this morning has left the college football world stunned. Here is the full text of Ohio State's press release announcing Tressel's decision and the appointment of 2011 interim head football coach Luke Fickell: 

The Ohio State University announced today that it has accepted the resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach of its football program.  Luke Fickell will serve as interim head coach for the 2011-2012 football season.  Recruitment for a new head coach - which is expected to include external and internal candidates - will not commence until the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season.

"In consultation with the senior leadership of the Board of Trustees, I have been actively reviewing matters attendant to our football program, and I have accepted Coach Tressel's resignation," said President E. Gordon Gee.  "The University's enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions."

Jim Tressel said, "After meeting with University officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach.  The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."

Athletics Director Gene Smith said, "We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best - representing this extraordinary University and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life.  We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach.  We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program."

Smith will reportedly be making a statement within the next couple of hours as rumors swirl about the timing of the resignation. Check Eye on CFB and our Twitter feed for updates throughout the day.
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Don't expect changes at Ohio State anytime soon

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It seems as though the NCAA troubles at Ohio State have taken more twists than the latest episode of General Hospital, with a new story seemingly popping up every day. The latest twist seems to come from former Buckeye Ray Small denying many of his comments to the Ohio State student newspaper, The Lantern, about multiple student-athletes selling memorabilia and receiving discounts on cars. Small's story is just another thing for some fans to shake their heads at in the nearly five months since violations involving the so-called 'Buckeye Five' were brought to light.

“There are no other NCAA violations around this case,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a Dec. 23, 2010 press conference. “We’re very fortunate we do not have a systemic problem in our program. This is isolated to these young men, isolated to this particular incident. There are no other violations that exist.”

As time has passed from that presser however, Smith has seen several other damaging stories about additional violations - head coach Jim Tressel lying to about his knowledge of the case being the biggest - since then. It's quite possible that even more could come out before the school's August 12th hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Several alumni, fans and media members have publicly called for the resignation of some of Ohio State's leadership - particularly Smith and Tressel - as a way to stave off possible sanctions. That, however, doesn't appear to be on the table in the near future based on documents obtained Friday by the Associated Press and CBSSports.com.

Although the school declined to turnover communications from Tressel to administrators involving quarterback Terrelle Pryor (citing privacy laws), they did release several documents that pointed to Smith's standing in the athletic department.

More on Ohio State
"You are doing an excellent job leading the department of athletics and achieving national prominence. It is truly a privilege to work with you," University president E. Gordon Gee wrote in Smith's most recent performance review. "I want to strongly state - with great emphases - that I consider you a role model for leaders as to living the institutional values, incorporating the culture principles, and creating one of the highest performing organizations on campus.

"Over time we will reach the point where I recognize your University leadership role with a Vice President title."

Gee's comments, written in August of last year, seem to channel his thinking with Tressel and speak to both leaders' stature at the school despite being at the center of the controversy in Columbus.

“No, are you kidding me? I’m just hopeful that the coach doesn’t dismiss me,” Gee said during a March press conference.

While widely mocked about the comment, it appears it's very reflective of Gee's thinking about the Buckeyes head coach and the documents released today seem to reflect the same about Smith. Tressel's performance evaluation was done verbally and thus, was not able to be requested.

There's still plenty of time between today and the school having to explain themselves to the Committee on Infractions. It seems hard, however, to fathom that Gee will make a move against either Smith or Tressel in the meantime.




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

Ohio State needs to part ways with Tressel

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.

 

Posted on: April 20, 2011 11:33 am
 

Investigating Jim Tressel is expensive

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith did an interview with the AP this week about the only thing anybody would really want to talk to Gene Smith about these days: the NCAA investigation of Jim Tressel. Smith happily obliged, and while he didn't give a lot of new information, he did put some new information out there. Like the fact that the $250,000 the school fined Tressel isn't even going to cover the investigation currently being held into Tressel.

"It'll probably eat up the whole $250 (thousand)," Smith told the AP. "I'm not sure. We haven't done any projections."

Smith said that if that's indeed the case, the school will likely dip into the money it got from Ohio State's Sugar Bowl victory to foot the rest of the bill. Which is somewhat fitting since that's the game where this whole controversy involving five Ohio State players, including Terrelle Pryor, really took off. The players had all been suspended by the NCAA for selling their gold pants and other items, along with getting some free tattoos, yet were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl anyway.

Of course, since then, things have only gotten worse for Ohio State, as we found out that Tressel sat the information for months, as he found out about his players' deeds in April 2010. 

As for the disasterous press conference Ohio State held regarding Tressel after Yahoo! broke the story, the one in which school president Gordon Gee said he hoped Tressel "doesn't dismiss me," Smith said he wished things could have gone better. He also said he would have done a number of things differently, which anyone who saw the press conference can tell you, is not surprising. 

Smith also said that the cost of the current investigation is not the only thing he isn't sure of just yet as well. As far as when the investigation will be completed, Smith doesn't know when it will be resolved. "It's just hanging."

Posted on: February 10, 2011 11:27 am
 

TCU doesn't want a Wisconsin rematch

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TCU put a nice bow on their undefeated season with a victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, but it seems that one victory over the Badgers is enough for the Horned Frogs for now. Apparently UNLV wants out of its season-opening date with Wisconsin on September 3rd, and an unknown third-party then contacted both Wisconsin and TCU with the prospect of the two schools kicking off 2011 against one another.

It was a matchup that Bret Bielema was all to eager to rekindle.

"I was contacted a week and half after the bowl game about the opportunity to play TCU in our opener," Bielema told The Big 1070 in Madison. "It was something that was going to be broadcast and made a big deal, it took me all of about point five seconds to say yes."

Unfortunately for Bielema and the Badgers, TCU wasn't as excited about the idea. Though not because they feared playing Wisconsin. TCU AD Chris Del Conte confirmed that he was contacted about the rematch as well, but turned it down since there would be only one game and it would be played at Wisconsin.

"We already have Baylor for our opening game," Del Conte said. "A team supposedly Wisconsin played last year doesn't want to go back there. A third party was shopping the game around to other teams. I have no interest in playing a one-[time] game."

Considering that TCU has already had its game against Boise State moved to Boise, I can understand why it wouldn't want to add a trip to Wisconsin to its schedule. Those would be two incredibly tough games to start and finish your season with, and if TCU can't get consideration for a national title when it goes undefeated, it isn't going to a BCS game with two losses either.

Though Del Conte did say that he'd make an exception for Ohio State. Seems he's still a bit sore about E. Gordon Gee's "Little Sisters of the Poor" comment.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com