Tag:Jim Tressel
Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:58 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 8:03 pm

Q & A with Urban Meyer

For the first time in seven years, the SEC media days will not include Urban Meyer.

That doesn't mean Florida's former rock star coach is sitting back taking it easy. In this recent interview with CBSSports.com, Meyer is as outspoken as ever. He has been active NCAA reform activist, actually traveling to Indianapolis during the offseason to speak to NCAA officials. He's also doing some analyst work for ESPN.

(Still can't get over his image when I see him on TV. Is he the interviewer or the interviewee? Something looks out of place.)

In this question-and-answer session, we recently spoke to Meyer on a variety of subjects. He is adamant about holding coaches accountable for wrongdoing. Also, don't necessarily believe he'll automatically be back coaching in 2012. Meyer just completed a fulfilling father-son baseball trip around the country and is looking forward to watching his daughter Gigi play volleyball at Florida Gulf Coast University.

We talked to Meyer in the middle of our series earlier this month regarding cheating in college football. We started out by telling him of our main findings: That almost half of FBS schools have had a major violation in football since 1987.

Urban Meyer: "I absolutely believe it. You threw some stats at me I didn't know. In the 80s and 90s I was at schools that ... we just didn't hear much about it [cheating]. It wasn't a big story. I didn't hear it in my staff room. It seems like the last five years is where that [has happened]. I'd have an assistant coach tell me, 'This is what's going on and this is this situation.' You just shake your head and go, 'Wow!'.

CBSSports.com: Was it because of the conference you were in [SEC] or the climate or what?

Meyer: "I think the SEC gets a lot of publicity. The last five years is when it started, and it just wasn't just tied to the SEC. You would just hear non-stop issues about -- for example -- 'Why is this group not coming to your camp now? Why is this kid not visiting your school?'

 Sometimes assistant coaches use it as a defense mechanism where like, 'This school is doing this. That's why they got [a recruit].' Maybe they outworked us.

 "But it seemed like every day I was hearing another story about something that was going on that shouldn't be going on."

 CBSSports.com: What did you tell the NCAA in general terms about the current climate?

 Meyer: "I have a good relationship with the NCAA. What I told them and what I told others: We complicate this thing as having a very clear set of rules and a very clear set of punishment structure ... [The NCAA Manual], it's a big book that says you can't do this, you can't do that. But it never says, if you do this, if you rob a bank you know exactly what is going to happen to you.

 "If you commit -- a term I never heard before until a few years ago -- a secondary violation, there is no such thing as a secondary violation. If it's a mistake it's one thing, but if it's intentional you should be punished as such."

CBSSports.com: Does it amaze you that essentially there is no bylaw to govern what Cecil Newton did? (Offer his son's services in exchange for $180,000 at Mississippi State.)

 Meyer: "The person that has to make the conscious decision [to cheat] is very well aware of the [response] that will take place. It's kind of a difficult situation. I don't think the objective is to catch everyone. I think it's to deter behavior. There's only one way to deter behavior and that's to have a risk/reward situation in place where the risk is so great people will quit doing it.

 "If you are asked a  question and are untruthful with the NCAA, everyone has to know what it [punishment] is. The case with Dez Bryant was clear, it was a year of eligibility."

 (Note: Bryant, an Oklahoma State receiver, was suspended for the season after lying to the NCAA about his relationship with Deion Sanders.)

 CBSSports.com: Are you, then, waiting like a lot of us to see what happens to Bruce Pearl and Jim Tressel?

 Meyer: "I'm kind of anxious see because I love this game of football ... I think this is the perfect opportunity to make this statement."

 CBSSports.com: Is it time to go to the Olympic model where athletes are paid a stipend because the amateur model is broke?

 Meyer: "We can't do that. That's not what this is all about. You've got a president [the NCAA's Mark Emmert] that is very committed to keep college football the sport it is supposed to be."

 CBSSports.com: Is the basic issue here not getting a competitive or recruiting advantage? That's what most coaches are concerned about, right?

 Meyer: "That's very accurate."

 CBSSports.com: There is talk of stratifying penalties. In other words, separate the felonies and the misdemeanors. As it stands major penalties fall into a broad category to the point that Army is considered a major violator from 1980, even though it received only a public reprimand.

 I don't know if that solves the problem but at least it keeps half of FBS being labeled quote-unquote "cheaters". What are your thoughts?

 Meyer: "That's where you're hitting the nail right on the head. There's two terms: Willful, intentional. To me, those are two key words. If you intentionally do something the punishment is severe. If you're not forthright when you're asked a question, the punishment is severe.

 "All the sudden you ask a coach, 'Are you using three cell phones? Are you paying a third party money to have them come to your camps?' If they understand if they don't tell you the truth on record, they will be suspended for one year. I think I can speak on behalf of most coaches that they're going to tell the truth.

 "If you intentionally commit a violation your suspension could be [for example] three games, six games, nine games. It's up to the committee [on infractions]. Intentionally, that's the key word."

 CBSSports.com: Do we need another death penalty to get everyone's attention?

 Meyer: "I don't know. I'm not on the inside. I don't know what's hanging out right now. I don't know what's behind Door No. 1 or 2."

 CBSSports.com: What about subpoena power for the NCAA in its investigations? Is that something you'd welcome?

 "Absolutely. The problem right now the investigation process takes five years, four years. USC can't go to a bowl game. They [current players] were 14 years old, 15 years old when this was going on.

 "The two areas that are missing in my mind are fear and lack of knowledge. Fear on the side of the coaches and lack of knowledge on the side of the NCAA. Why not combine the two? Every quarter you have a conference call [with coaches].' What do you hear? What's going on? We hear  about these recruiting services or camps or bumps. They put a memo together and send it out. 'This is what we hear is going on. If you get caught here is the punishment.' "

 "You won't catch everybody, That's not the goal. You want to stop the behavior." 

Posted on: July 15, 2011 10:59 am

Inside the Ohio State NCAA documents

Apparently Ohio State doesn't understand why six suspended players were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl either.

That is among the conclusions drawn from a digestion of the documents released last week by Ohio State in conjunction with its reply to the NCAA. You know, the one where the school promised to cross out a couple of lines in the media guide, vacate 2010, and call it day?

But if you've got a few hours and need some comic relief, dive into the docs. Among the revelations ...

--Ohio State ended its exhaustive appeal of the player suspensions by reminding the NCAA that the affected players were sorry and "chose to bypass potential careers," by staying in school. That was before Terrelle Pryor quit the team.

--Ramped-up rules education about taking extra benefits occurred the same month that Ohio State wore new uniforms specially for the 2009 Michigan game. Might it have been a good idea not to tempt players with more merch to deal on the streets?

--The school was asked for a schedule of all televised games during the next three seasons. Such a request isn't new and a TV ban hasn't been applied for years, but it is interesting to note that the penalty remains available to the infractions committee.

--The NCAA has asked any new evidence be turned in 10 days prior to the Aug. 12 infractions committee hearing.

--Jim Tressel's "resignation" turned into a retirement that more resembled a golden parachute. The school forgave Tressel's $250,000 fine, gave him benefits and, in fact, awarded him $52,000.

--Tressel admitted he "prioritized potential criminal activity and the possibility of interfering with an ongoing criminal investigation over NCAA violations," according to the school. Also, the school stated that Tressel would issue a public apology in March, almost three months after the wrongdoing was discovered.

--A repayment schedule set up for the suspended players has them making a final payment three days before this year's Michigan game.

--Tressel's response to the allegations includes his admission of unethical conduct but also that he and his wife have donated more than $3 million since 2001.

--The U.S. Attorney's office discovered 52 separate "lots" of memorabilia and jewelry seized from tattoo parlor owner Eddie Rife. That included 75 items ranging from a high school ring to game jerseys to two diamond rings listed as belonging to Rife's wife.

--After his May 30 resignation Tressel exercised "his option to retire as an employee of The Ohio State University."

At the heart of Ohio State's cooperation with the NCAA is presenting itself and its actions in the best possible light. Rife is scolded by the school for "affecting [players'] eligibility." The school said "[Tressel's] issue was self-detected", but failed to admit at any point that the program gained a competitive advantage.

The school went on to call Tressel's actions "indecisiveness" as opposed to "blatant disregard of NCAA legislation." Tressel, the school added, "is a man of integrity and high moral standards."

The NCAA is reminded that Tressel's "integrity and proven history of promoting rules compliance should be weighed by the Committee on Infractions." From 2000-2009, Ohio State reported 375 violations to the NCAA, most of the 69 FBS school who provided documents to the Columbus Dispatch.

The school's appeal to the suspension of those players for the first five games of 2011 is among the documents released by Ohio State. While the message winding through the documents is meant to distract the NCAA from the football program's significant wrongdoing, the appeal calls into question NCAA "withholding exemptions" for players guilty of receiving extra benefits.

Six players, including former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, received approximately $10,000 in benefits. They were made to reimburse that amount to local charities.

The school appealed a fifth game added to a four-game suspension because those players weren't forthcoming about receiving extra benefits in return for memorabilia and autographs. It remains a mystery why the fifth game was added and yet the players were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl.

CBSSports.com revealed on April 28 an archaic seven-year-old policy that seemed more like a loophole than a rule allowing the "Buckeye Five" to play in the Sugar Bowl.

Among the arguments made by Ohio State in its appeal which was ultimately turned down:

--While the school said it shares the expectation that players should "self-report" violations, the "vast majority" of violations are discovered by the school, conference or NCAA. (What Ohio State forgot in that conclusion is the media is providing the bulk of the juicy stuff these days.)

"It is rare," the appeal states, "for a student-athlete to self-identify an impermissible benefits violation."

Kids these days. Why even try to make them do the right thing?

--Then Ohio State concludes that there is no incentive to come forward and telling the truth.

" ... a student-athlete's self-disclosure of violations does not "reward" student-athletes who DO come forward ..."

Paragraph 16 of the NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement Procedures and Policies states that there not be any competitive advantage. Ohio State not only gained a competitive advantage by those six players participating in the season, it also had a huge advantage in the Sugar Bowl when they played.

"There's no question that I don't understand how they were eligible to play in the game," Bobby Petrino said during this offseason. "I just don't and I never will. They [the NCAA] kind of changed the rules for that bowl game."

Ohio State essentially argued that the Sugar Bowl shouldn't have been a "trade off" for the fifth game. It goes on to argue succinctly that Paragraph 16 allows a bowl exemption if players are "innocently involved." If they are innocently involved, Ohio State says, then why a fifth game suspension?

In denying the appeal, the NCAA said: Players "had numerous opportunities to ask compliance or other members of staff regarding family circumstances and permissibility of selling items."

The school is on record as saying the extra benefits were taken during the players' freshmen and sophomore years (2008-09, 2009-10). It better hope that there is nothing beyond those years.

Talk about mixed message: Ohio State says its "targeted" rules education for players was begun in November 2009 in conjunction with the debut of the Nike "rivalry uniforms" for the Michigan game. Here's some good rules education: Don't tempt players to sell jerseys by giving them another set of collector "rivalry uniforms."

The appeal concludes with that 150-word paragraph stating that the players are sorry. The NCAA was not moved.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: March 8, 2011 11:46 pm

A look at the Jim Tressel e-mails

Here are the e-mails that SportsbyBrooks says are between Jim Tressel and the attorney who alerted him of his players' involvement in selling their gear. There is some fairly damning stuff here including ...

--In the first exchange dated April 2, the source tells Tressel that Eddie Rife, owner of now infamous Fine Line Ink, "was convicted about 9 years ago for felony forgery ... He also was with his friends at (redacted) where he witnessed the homicide of one of his friends ... The Federal Government was at [Rife's} house for alleged drug trafficking ..."

Tressel answers this e-mail by saying, "I will get on it ASAP."

--In the next e-mail dated April 16, Tressel is informed that Rife "has about 15 pairs of cleats [with signatures], 4-5 jerseys -- all signed by players ... about 9 rings Big Ten Championship..."

The source goes on to say, "These kids are selling these items for not that much and I can't understand how they could give something so precious away like their trophy's <sp> and rings that they worked so hard for."

Tressel replied: "I hear you !! It is unbelievable !! Thanks for your help ... Keep me posted as to what I need to do if anything." 

--The source then sent another e-mail on April 16. "Only thing we can do is keep him, his house, his tattoo parlor off limits to players."

--In a June 1 e-mail, Tressel tells the source, "our rings arrive this week for 2009 Big Ten [title] ... any names from our last discussion?? I would like to hold some collateral if you know what I mean ... jt"

All this is another reminder that, going back to Watergate and beyond, it's the coverup not the crime. Also, after reading all that, it reminded me of the immortal tweet from former Buck Antonio Pittman: “cats been getting hookups on tatts since back in 01.”
Posted on: September 12, 2008 10:14 am

Quit messin' with us Tress

Is doubtful the new maybe?

Are toes really needed to play football?

Jim Tressel continues to mess with the minds of his fans, the media and USC. Late Thursday he said Beanie Wells was doubtful only if the game was played that day. A lot of good that does us, Tress, because THE GAME IS SATURDAY.

By the way, I'm getting on a plane for L.A. this morning. It's "probable" that I'll get there. Just so you know.

Now on a Friday morning talk show Tressel says Beanie might play "sparingly or not at all." Well, at least he's nailed it down. 

This means USC should count on Wells getting 37 carries. I'm as sick of writing about this as you are reading it. Can't wait for the next Nelson DeMille novel for some REAL suspense.



Category: NCAAF
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