Jim Tressel Suspension and 'the' Ohio State Football Scandal: Winners and Losers

Rich ThomaselliSenior Writer IMarch 9, 2011

Jim Tressel Suspension and 'the' Ohio State Football Scandal: Winners and Losers

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    Jim Tressel is being put in a two-game timeout.
    Jim Tressel is being put in a two-game timeout.Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The situation involving Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel has certainly created a fallout, both good and bad.

    Ohio State submitted a self-report to the NCAA that Tressel violated provisions of NCAA Bylaw 10.1 when he failed to notify the university about information received involving two football student-athletes.

    The school said it became aware of the situation on Jan. 13, while reviewing information on an unrelated legal issue, that Tressel knew seven months prior to December’s public announcement that five players—including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor—were selling OSU memorabilia. The knowledge came when someone tipped the coach, via email, that some of his players' names came up in a federal investigation involving drug trafficking.

    Tressel’s failure to report what he knew to his superiors—he said he was asked to keep the confidentiality of a federal investigation—is considered a major violation and the NCAA could add to the two-game suspension and $250,000 fine that Tressel received.

    And, as with every situation like this, there are winners and losers.

Winner: Ohio State

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  The Ohio State Buckeyes mascot holds up a flag in the second quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C.
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The school gets to keep its coach.

    What, you don’t think a coach can make a difference in a program? Think again. Look at what Ron Zook didn’t do for Florida in between Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer.

    Look at what Rich Rodriguez did to Michigan football after Lloyd Carr retired.

    Or, hey, look at Jim Tressel.

    After John Cooper went 2-10-1 against Michigan, he was fired and Tressel was hired. In the last 10 years under Tressel, the Buckeyes are 106-22, including seven Big Ten championships, eight BCS bowl games, three appearances in the national title game, one national championship and, perhaps most important, a 9-1 record against Michigan.

Loser: Arkansas

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  An Arkansas Razorbacks fan watches in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty I
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Hey, ya’ think the Razorbacks might like that Sugar Bowl game back under different circumstances? Like, you know, playing against a team that wasn’t using ineligible players?

    Yeah. They were ineligible. If they weren't, they wouldn't be serving five-game suspensions at the start of next season.

Winner: Ohio State

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to pass against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Matthe
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The school also gets to keep the Infamous Five.

    All this more or less started when it became public knowledge in December that Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas had sold OSU memorabilia. Those five were suspended for five games by the NCAA—a sixth, Jordan Whiting, was suspended for one game—but were allowed to play in the Buckeyes’ victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl after the school said it failed to educate the players about the rules regarding the sale of awards and such.

    According to Sports Illustrated, the players' appeal of the punishment is scheduled for later this month. It is not known how this new information will affect the appeal process, but even if it remains at five games, the Buckeyes should come out of it no worse than 4-1 and still contend for the Big Ten—and maybe the national—championship.

Loser: Ohio State

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Bryant Browning #70 of the Ohio State Buckeyes and Cameron Heyward #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes carry American flags to lead the Buckeyes on to the field before a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    A two-game suspension for a major violation of NCAA rules? Really? REALLY? And a $250,000 fine?

    Tressel made $3.89 million in 2010 as a total compensation package. So that’s, what, maybe five to seven percent of his salary? Really?

Winner: Oregon

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    LaMichael James
    LaMichael JamesChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    The heat is off.

    For the moment, anyway.

    Put this under the heading of “Flavor of the Month.” A few months ago it was Cam Newton. A few weeks ago, it was Oregon’s recruiting practices being called into question after it was found the school paid a total of $28,000 to a couple of recruiting services.

    Hey, if Ohio State plays its cards right, maybe all this will just blow over next month when another school has a scandal!

Loser: NCAA

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    GUANGZHOU, CHINA - NOVEMBER 12:  A performer dressed as a clown smiles during the Opening Ceremony for the 16th Asian Games Guangzhou 2010 at Haixinsha Square on November 12, 2010 in Guangzhou, China.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
    Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

    Really, this was botched and mishandled from the beginning.

    Does the phrase "clowns" ring a bell?

Winner: Yahoo! Sports

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    DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - 19 September:  'YAHOO' Virender Sehwag in full flow with the crowd behind him during the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Championship Super Eights match between England and India at Kingsmead on September 19, 2007 in Durban, South Africa
    Gallo Images/Getty Images

    Everybody loves to rip the media when reports like these come out, especially when unnamed sources are used.

    Of course, those same people are clamming up now that the Yahoo! report turned out to be TRUE.

    For everybody who ripped Yahoo! Sports for not being a “real” media outlet, for everybody who said reporters Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel were amateurs (or worse), know this: both men are award-winning writers and investigative reporters who are accurate, thorough and whose names cause college football coaches to shudder when their secretaries tell them either is on the line.

    Pray that neither Robinson nor Wetzel rings up your school and your coach.

Loser: Conference Basketball Tournaments

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    COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 06: Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after a first half dunk while playing the Wisconsin Badgers on March 6, 2011 at the Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Wasn’t this week supposed to be about filling the slots for the Big Dance, and all that?

    News flash—the No. 1 basketball team in the country is …. Ohio State!

Winners: Akron and Toledo

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    LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 18:  Alex Allen #10 of the Akron Zips runs with the ball during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Zips and the Rockets get to play the Buckeyes without their starting quarterback and, now, without their coach.

    Oh, who are we kidding.

    Ohio State 38, Akron 6

    Ohio State 41, Toledo 17

Loser: Michigan

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    ANN ARBOR, MI - JANUARY 12:  New University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke (L) speaks to the media as, Athletic Director Dave Brandon looks on, after introducing Hoke as the nineteenth Michigan head football coach in Michigan history at the Ju
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Unless Ohio State steps up and does the noble thing and makes Jim Tressel’s two games of suspension be against Nebraska and Michigan, the Wolverines aren’t getting any closer to a victory against the Buckeyes with Tressel on the sidelines as I am to dating Kim Kardashian.

Loser: Jim Tressel

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on before the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Arkansas Razorbacks at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Look, if you’re an Ohio State fan you’re thrilled to death that your coach is going to remain with the program, and you’re going to continue to look through your Scarlet and Gray glasses and have a ready-made answer (excuse?) for everything.

    Bottom line is, these black marks on Tressel’s legacy are starting to add up. His reputation is on the line here.

    He had NCAA violations at Youngstown State.

    He had the Maurice Clarett problem, when the running back was suspended and later booted from the team after an academic scandal—oh, but not before playing the entire season and helping OSU to the national championship.

    Quarterback Troy Smith was suspended two games for receiving improper benefits.

    Sports Illustrated reported two years ago that Santonio Holmes received improper benefits from an agent while with the Buckeyes.

    And now this.

    I’m a big believer that a coach can’t keep an eye on his players 24/7, but there comes a point when he has to know something. When he has to have some sort of control over his program.

    The question is, how many excuses can keep being made for Jim Tressel?