Jim Tressel Leaving Rumors: Debunking Ohio State Football Fears

Ryan FallerAnalyst IDecember 26, 2010

A Chicago-based Web site reported on Saturday that Jim Tressel will leave the Ohio State program after the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas on Jan. 4.
A Chicago-based Web site reported on Saturday that Jim Tressel will leave the Ohio State program after the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas on Jan. 4.David Purdy/Getty Images

Jim Tressel is going nowhere.

His sweater vests of choice will remain scarlet and gray. Do not stress, Buckeye fans: The beloved patriarch of your burgeoning college football dynasty is staying put.

Although, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that claims to the contrary are simply baseless.

Of course, this is a reference to the rumors spewing forth from the Web site ChicagoNow.com, which on Saturday reported that Tressel is on his way out of Columbus, sending shockwaves through cyberspace and forcing school officials to spend a portion of their holiday minimizing panic.

Citing “two sources that are very close to recruiting at prominent universities,” the author of the report claims that Tressel will not return to the Ohio State program after the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas on Jan. 4, and that recruits have been made aware of the coach’s decision.

Given its proximity to the NCAA’s ruling on Thursday to suspend quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four other Ohio State players for the first five games of the 2011 season, Tressel’s alleged decision to step down makes sense sequentially.

According to the author of the ChicagoNow.com story, despite a compliance office that rivals any in the country, Ohio State has reported “375 violations to the NCAA” over the past 10 years.

The latest infraction, it seems, was merely the icing on the cake.

Smoke is a byproduct of fire, and the flames have been officially flamed. But this incident appears to be more of an act of attempted arson than an internal combustion within the Buckeye football program.

In the aftermath of the suspension of Pryor and the others, morale for the Sugar Bowl may be low, but it won’t be because the Buckeyes will be playing their last game for Tressel.

Moments after the report — or rumor, if you want to be technical — was published, any watchdog with a nose for BS was on high alert, most notably officials within the OSU athletics department.

Speaking to the popular Ohio State website Bucknuts.com, an unnamed Ohio State spokesman called the report “the work of a prankster.”

OSU athletics director Gene Smith went the digital route, assuring anxious fans via Twitter that the rumors are not true and instructing them to resume “drinking” their “eggnog.”

Not so cheery was a source close to the OSU program that told College Football Talk that Tressel leaving the Buckeyes was “complete [expletive] [expletive].” The site also spoke to an Ohio State recruit who claimed to have had no knowledge of what was being reported.

Surely vilified throughout the OSU football community — not to mention discredited by journalists across the Web — the author of the ChicagoNow.com post has since run an update for his or her own protection:

“I have read comments from Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith on Saturday afternoon. I am also well aware that Ohio State fans and alumni don't like me; the thousands of personal attacks and taunts on Twitter made that perfectly clear.

"However, the sources that provided me with this information were clear with their comments, and I am comfortable sticking with what I have been told. If I was wrong, I will publish a strong statement to that effect in the future.”

There you go, Ohio State fans. Take it as you will.

Despite Tressel’s many accolades and swanky contract, which includes a current salary of more than $3.8 million and the title of associate athletics director upon retirement, it appears you have seen the last of your main man.

Apparently, sources at other schools have told you so.

I just hope I have presented you with enough information to help you believe otherwise, just in case you were too busy on Christmas to deal with a bunch of rubbish.