Undoubtedly, at this point in time, the Buckeye Haterade is being sipped from coast to coast, and people are back on the "Hate Ohio State" bandwagon. But, what's new?
For all the hate and venom that is spat at Ohio State, one has to wonder why...I know I do.
Perhaps I'm a bit biased as I'm an alum, class of 2K, but I can't help but look at the way the sports programs continually perform and are led, coupled by the direction of the University itself, and be confused by all of the ill will.
Frankly, Ohio State is one of the most successful teams of the BCS era, notching more appearances than any other team. They graduate an astounding number of their athletes, not only in football, but ALL collegiate sports, and they have one of the most charitable businesses in the entire country.
Yes, college is a business, and Ohio State donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to childhood educational, athletic and musical programs among other things and not only in Ohio, but throughout the country. Not to mention the personal time they give, and no program more than the football squad.
Being a coach at a nationally ranked high school here in Colorado, I've seen Ohio State's charitable side first hand, when they donated "used" football gear and various sporting goods to the school I coach at. And, they even had it delivered and footed the bill.
Was this the right thing for Tressel to do?
But, I digress.
We all know the majority of the venom is directed at the Ohio State football program, and their successes, or as some would see it, lack thereof.
However, what gets lost in all of the wins and losses and bowl appearances is the type of people that Ohio State has running one of the most prestigious and traditionally steeped programs in the country; of which, Jim Tressel is the main man, and certainly not someone that deserves the negative sentiment directed at him.
Tressel is as stand-up of a coach as you're going to find in the entirety of the NCAA, and today, Tressel showed again why he is in fact one of the best, if not THE best college coach in the country.
How you ask?
By literally MAKING Terrell Pryor, Mike Adams, Dan Herron, Devier Posey and Soloman Thomas either own up to their mistakes or leave.
Tressel mandated that all the players would return or be ruled ineligible for the Sugar Bowl, set to take place in a couple of days, and leave.
Tressel felt an obvious duty to make sure that the guilty parties pay for their mistakes and wanted to make sure that no one "skirted the consequences of their actions" by playing in the Sugar Bowl, then declaring for the NFL draft before any punishment was served.
Tressel went on to say, "We told them they would have to make the decision on the NFL prior to leaving for the bowl game," and during the Sugar Bowl presser, stated, "It wouldn't be fair for them to serve nothing down the road for their actions."
But, maybe the thing that stood out most to me was how personally Jim Tressel took them selling the items they did. Tressel stated that he was "extremely disappointed, not only because they broke the rules, but, that they also sold very important, sentimental keepsakes from the collegiate career."
He added by saying, "Those things cannot and will not be replaced, and for that I'm sad and equally disappointed."
Tressel forced their hand, and is making them serve the time for the proverbial crime. That's as honorable and stand-up a thing as I've seen in a long time. I mean, he could have let them play and leave and avoid the consequences all together, but chose to do the right thing.
Additionally, the players involved in these issues also had a chance to visit the home of two-time Heisman winner, Buckeye legend and CEO of The Ohio State Alumni Club, Archie Griffin.
The reason? To see how much value is placed on the rings, golden pants and other accolades. Griffin said to the AP, "Perhaps these kids will have a different perspective when they see my basement and see how important all of these things are to me. They're invaluable and I cherish them all, as they should."
Jim Tressel is, above all else, a teacher and a leader, and the "valuable lesson" he's teaching these players will serve them well for years to come, and I'd be willing to bet that the players involved will think so one day as well.
So, keep hating Ohio State, that's negativity you can keep to yourself. Because in Columbus, and for Buckeye alumni and fans worldwide, those people can all see the reality.
That reality is that with success comes detractors, and people will pull you down if you let them. We'll take the high road and appreciate what we have in Ohio State and Jim Tressel
Because like Tressel said: "In adversity, lives are changed and sometimes, legends made," and maybe, just maybe, this is the start of these young men turning the corner.
But, perhaps most importantly, this will certainly let the young men coming to Ohio State in the future know that honesty, integrity and selflessness are among the most important qualities that can be had. Nice job, Jim.
Go Buckeyes! O - H!