Tag:Jim Tressel resignation
Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 4:12 pm

Unlike Tressel, Stoops met QB problem head-on

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Bob Stoops and Jim Tressel aren't so dissimilar, fashion senses aside. They're both from the Youngstown area of Ohio, they were both coaches of perennial powerhouses up until Memorial Day, and as such they've got plenty of experience with unsavory characters trying to give impermissible gifts to their star players. These things just happen from time to time.

The difference between the coaches from Oklahoma and Ohio State, then, is that Stoops still has a job, and Tressel doesn't -- and that's directly related to how the two men handled similar situations with benefits and star quarterbacks in their past. Tressel quite famously declined to inform anybody of potential eligibility issues for Terrelle Pryor, whereas Bob Stoops decided to address an issue involving QB Rhett Bomar more directly:

During the program, Stoops took questions from fans and was asked about the difference in the way Tressel handled the Terrelle Pryor allegations and the way Stoops handled Rhett Bomar's excessive benefits in 2006.

“Our conversation wasn't very long,” Stoops said of Bomar. Stoops said he confronted Bomar with the evidence that he had been paid by Big Red Sports & Imports for work not performed and told him, “You're not playing at Oklahoma.”

For a year, Bomar wondered?

“No, it's going to be forever,” Stoops said he said. “We'll move on. You can transfer.”

Said Stoops, “Our players are educated. They know. If you knowingly break the rules, we're going to move on. We'll find someone else to play quarterback.

Cold-blooded, to be sure, but Stoops' approach is correct: if any player knowingly does something that could affect his eligibility, that's an issue that could impact his entire team, and he's got to be made an example of.  

Of course, it helps that Stoops had Paul Thompson, a senior QB-turned-WR-turned-QB, behind Bomar, and Sam Bradford calmly redshirting behind Thompson. And yes, Thompson wasn't great, but OU still went 9-4 with a trip to the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State. Stoops' career marched on without a hitch, and here we are today.

And that's what makes Tressel's transgressions so infuriating. Yes, Terrelle Pryor is a unique talent and the main catalyst for success on that Buckeye offense, but this is Ohio State we're talking about. Joe Bauserman can quarterback that team to nine wins. Heck, Joe Biden can probably quarterback them to at least eight.

Moreover, Tressel's job wasn't exactly on the line coming into 2010. If anything, he was one of a few coaches in college football who had the political capital to punish his star player even more heavily than usual and take a couple extra losses as a result, just on the principle of the matter. He could have done that. He should have done that. Instead, Tressel punted on the Pryor issue several times, then went through with punishing and obligating Pryor and his teammates only after the issue became public. Then he lied about it. Why on earth did he think he needed to do that? It just doesn't make sense.
Posted on: May 30, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 6:01 am

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With the announcement that Jim Tressel had resigned at Ohio State on Monday morning, it was mentioned that the move came following some findings of a report in the next issue of Sports Illustrated. That report was published on Monday evening. It includes new revelations that the five Buckeyes suspended after trading Ohio State memorabilia for tattoos were not alone. According to the report, it's a practice that has gone on for years and includes at least 28 players.

That support crumbled suddenly over Memorial Day weekend. Tressel was forced out three days after Sports Illustrated alerted Ohio State officials that the wrongdoing by Tressel's players was far more widespread than had been reported. SI learned that the memorabilia-for-tattoos violations actually stretched back to 2002, Tressel's second season at Ohio State, and involved at least 28 players -- 22 more than the university has acknowledged. Those numbers include, beyond the six suspended players, an additional nine current players as well as nine former players whose alleged wrongdoing might fall within the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations on violations.

One former Buckeye, defensive end Robert Rose, whose career ended in 2009, told SI that he had swapped memorabilia for tattoos and that "at least 20 others" on the team had done so as well. SI's investigation also uncovered allegations that Ohio State players had traded memorabilia for marijuana and that Tressel had potentially broken NCAA rules when he was a Buckeyes assistant coach in the mid-1980s.

The report later goes on to name a long list of players who allegedly traded items for tattoos and possibly other things as well. It's also reported that former Buckeye Jermil Martin gave Fine Line Ink owner Edward Rife a watch and four tickets to the 2010 Rose Bowl in exchange for a Chevy Tahoe. As for quarterback Terrelle Pryor, it's alleged that he made upward of 20 different trades -- including game-worn shoulder pads, helmets and game pants -- at the tattoo shop. When an employee asked Pryor how he got all this stuff Pryor responded "I get whatever I want."

Perhaps the most damning aspect of all of this for Jim Tressel was that some of the autographed merchandise that players traded at Fine Line Ink and Dudleyz Tattoo & Body Piercing -- the shop where Buckeyes allegedly began trading items years ago before Fine Link Ink opened -- featured Tressel's autograph.

Dustin Halko was an artist at Dudley'z from the fall of 2002 until early '04, and he says that players regularly visited the shop and handed over signed jerseys, gloves, magazines and other goods in exchange for tattoos. Halko says he personally inked at least 10 Ohio State players -- he clearly remembers tattooing guard T.J. Downing, tight end Louis Irizarry and wide receiver Chris Vance -- and in return he was given autographed memorabilia. (Downing denies ever entering Dudley'z and says that if his memorabilia was there it had been stolen out of his locker; Irizarry and Vance could not be reached for comment despite extensive efforts to contact them.) Halko says that more players, including Clarett (who declined to comment), traded with other artists, and he estimates that at least 15 players violated NCAA rules at Dudley'z just as Pryor & Co. did at Fine Line Ink. Two associates of Halko's who hung out at the shop -- they asked not be named because they fear reprisals from Ohio State fans -- confirmed Halko's account that players commonly swapped memorabilia for tattoo work. One said he saw "at least five" Buckeyes conduct such transactions; the other said "at least seven."

"What they brought in depended on the kind of tattoo they wanted," says Halko. "If it was just something small, it might be a signed magazine or something like that. If it was a full sleeve, they might bring in a jersey." (Tattoos range in price from less than $100 for simple designs to several thousand dollars for more elaborate ones like the full-sleeve inkings of some Buckeyes.) Halko says those working in the shop preferred receiving items with multiple autographs. His most memorable acquisition was a scarlet-and-gray training jacket with between 10 and 15 signatures on it, including Tressel's. Halko says he also traded tattoo work for a magazine bearing the coach's autograph.

As if all this isn't bad enough for Tressel and the Buckeyes, there were also some possible recruiting violations brought up that Tressel allegedly committed while serving as an assistant under Earle Bruce in the mid-1980s.

One of Tressel's duties then was to organize and run the Buckeyes' summer camp. Most of the young players who attended it would never play college football, but a few were top prospects whom Ohio State was recruiting. At the end of camp, attendees bought tickets to a raffle with prizes such as cleats and a jersey. According to his fellow assistant, Tressel rigged the raffle so that the elite prospects won -- a potential violation of NCAA rules. Says the former colleague, who asked not to be identified because he still has ties to the Ohio State community, "In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel." 

Just in case that wasn't enough, the report also goes into detail on some of Tressel's past transgressions while not only at Ohio State, but Youngstown State as well.

All in all, this is not a report that sheds a favorable light on Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes or Ohio State in general. It's rather obvious now why Tressel decided to resign on Monday morning. Whether that move will cause the NCAA to show the school some mercy remains to be seen, but you have to believe that Buckeye fans across Ohio and the country won't be sleeping well tonight. 

Posted on: May 30, 2011 1:06 pm

VIDEO: OSU AD Gene Smith's statement on Tressel

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the video statement just released by Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith in the aftermath of Jim Tressel's resignation from the football program:

His three-minute statement largely focuses on the procedure of the resignation and how the administrators went about addressing the team and staff, and there's nothing particularly surprising about it; it was handled the way you'd want an athletic department to handle a sudden resignation.

What's telling, though, is Gene Smith's first mention of the NCAA investigation during the statement, starting at the 2:20 mark (emphasis ours): "As you all know, we are under NCAA investigation. We will not discuss any of the matters around that case, any further accusations that may emerge, we will do what we always do: we respond to them, we will collaborate with the NCAA, and try and find the truth." That acknowledgment that there may be "more" seems to validate Teddy Greenstein's report that the timing of Tressel's resignation is tied directly to a Sports Illustrated article on Ohio State that will be released later today.

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.
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