It's not enough for Ohio State to be America's laughingstock. As in any scandal, one of the paramount football programs in the nation was blinded and the mystery engendered a hideous disturbance, a national disturbance rather in Columbus, dealing with criticism for contemptible infractions that weren't harsh enough in punishing the man in the middle of the widespread travesty to stain Ohio State's reputation.
Most of all, with a phony facial expression in a press conference Tuesday to address that several of his players had received impermissible benefits months before allegations came to light, Jim Tressel admittedly was aware of the incident and had been informed last April. In the immediate aftermath of the revelations in regards of accusations, he absurdly lied and deceived the university for months, refusing to come clean.
I'm still not certain whether to feel sympathy for Tressel or slap him silly after he wrongly stood as a hoax and kept a secret, assuming the scummy plights would hereafter vanish and erase the public anticlimax that surfaced in the early winter when the NCAA suspended five Ohio State players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, for the first five games of the 2011 season for auctioning memorabilia for tattoos. It is well established that Tressel, in his lack of knowledge with his lame excuses, mistakenly believes we are stupid, trying to clean his image before it tarnishes.
Come to think of it, he already has sabotaged his legacy and image to some degree. He needed to be honest and precise in the beginning, but instead he made matters worse. It's almost laughable in a way that the Buckeyes are suddenly known as the Blackeyes, aka Tressel's culprits. What's next?? The Buckeyes will be broadcasted on America's Most Wanted, simply when the program was recognized as one of the most dignified universities in the nation, hijacking the airwaves on the Big Ten Network, a conference that really isn't worthy of its own television network??
So now he's living a lie to escape from the stunning damage, perpetrated to change the way people regard Tressel, once revered for leading the Buckeyes to seven Big Ten titles and the 2002 BCS national championship. But surely the achievements seem as if the Buckeyes were tainted an asterisk, when nearly it feels so convenient to lampoon for nearly every incident with Tressel's top star players each season, a frequent pattern that brainwash non-believers to disparage a nationally respected program. When it all came out, when he arrived to a press conference embarrassed and saddened, he said he was "scared" of putting an endless federal drug trafficking case accompanied to the tattoo parlor.
Lame excuse. Sorry, I'm not buying it.
"It was obviously tremendously concerning," Tressel said. "Quite honestly, I was scared."
Maybe had he spoke on the allegations much sooner, he would have enhanced his credibility by telling the truth instead of lying. Rather amazingly, he wanted us to seriously believe that he was an immaculate coach who follows the rules without rebellion or breaking NCAA rules, but he never apologized for evidently violating the rules and not following the protocol.
In a sense that he demands superiority that enables an overbearing and careless demeanor, he truly believes he can escape the harsh reality of sanctions with selfishness as if he's above the NCAA rulers. Eight months later, he's accused of letting down his university, his bosses and NCAA investigators for never telling them that he was aware of two players accepting improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor in Columbus, Ohio.
The latest scandal might have tarnished the program, purging traces of indelible moments over the years at Ohio State, a school that has celebrated with much joy in the past as the symbol of Big Ten football, but currently, it's a program in trouble when the truth finally was revealed. In a strange way, of course, none of this bothers Tressel and, if anything, he says he has always been his own critic.
"I don't think less of myself at this moment," Tressel said.
Consider it a case of disingenuousness, a word heard commonly in college sports these days. From what it seems, we can never assume that a university is clean in the age of sleazes and when players or coaches make poor judgment, seeking improper benefits to enrich the program or even their own lives in general. At risk of sounding like a fraud, on the fringe of a harsher sanction if the NCAA decides to drop the hammer on Ohio State in the upcoming weeks, Tressel simply thought he could remove from the heinous crimes.
Bombarded by questions in the conference, a publicity scene where Tressel was uneasy and too tense to stand before reporters, he never discussed the e-mails and he never told the bleak athletic director Gene Smith or the school's compliance office about e-mails he retrieved from an attorney in April 2010, which were evidence that Buckeyes players had been accepting improper benefits. And for the purposes of this argument, when the issue is whether he was penalized harshly or softly, Tressel mostly was given a slap on the wrist after Ohio State suspended him for the first two games and fined him $250,000.
That's it?? That was soft, not harsh enough.
It appears Tressel is allowed to return from his infamous suspension much too soon, where he'll be back for conference play when competition is steep and the emotions rise publicly within a conference for teams that are in contention against elite programs from a rather overrated conference. It's precisely not fair for him to only miss cupcake games against Akron and Toledo, two home games the Buckeyes will rout, no doubt.
For many years, Ohio State has represented excellent athleticism, but it's not the first time Tressel has been accused or caught for lying, though the latest scandal for the Buckeyes is the worse. It was lies that bruised Tressel's identity, an blemished personality ever since he used an ignorant excuse in defense for Maurice Clarett in 2002 when the explosive running back was suspended for falsifying a police report and took improper benefits and reportedly misled investigators and ever since his former star quarterback Troy Smith received money from a booster.
In fairness, as bad as the scandal seems, he deserved a harsher punishment when Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl lied to NCAA investigators and was suspended for many of the conference games by SEC commissioner Mike Slive. In contrast, football coach Rick Neuheisel was fired by Washington for lying to NCAA investigators, but even though he's verified as a lightning rod in college football, Tressel avoids a significant punishment.
The NCAA has given skeptics and doubters plenty of reason to grasp a sense that they show favoritism towards Ohio State, which is exactly what exemplifies a corroded formula, a mockery to academics and college athletics. It's true, although he's responsible for much of the deceptiveness and bad publicity that has toppled the name brand program, he won't be held liable for lying or expanding the horror.
In his strange way, Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee has no intentions in firing Tressel, in full support of his head coach despite his horrendous mistakes. No matter what has transpired, even if Tressel deceived his bosses and the school, Smith also is supportive in the end of a fragile farce that stained the Buckeyes.
"Wherever we end up at the end of the day, Jim Tressel is our football coach," Smith said. "All the speculation about him being terminated is pure speculation. This case, in my view, does not warrant it."
Quite honestly, how can you trust in a fraud?