Jim Tressel did not take time to think about the NCAA end of things when he found out about his players selling awards and other items they received for playing football at Ohio State.
That is what Jim Tressel wants us to believe. That when he first heard of the players actions in April of 2010 there was never a single thought of what the NCAA impact might be. He even wants us to believe he was unsure of whom to contact regarding the information he had.
The response of Tressel’s boss at Ohio State is even more incredible. He does not think the offense is one that Tressel should be fired for. As a matter of fact, here is what Ohio State President Gordon Gee said about firing his head football coach, "Are you kidding? I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me. His integrity and the body of his work is quite remarkable.”
Surely Gee was speaking somewhat tongue in cheek over concerns Tressel might pull the plug on his job leading THE Ohio State University. Maybe, maybe not. If Tressel can be dishonest with his employer on something this significant, what will it take for him to actually lose his job?
Well, the answer to that question is pretty easy. Not keep winning football games.
Here are some other questions that need to be asked regarding this situation, but probably won’t:
Is Ohio State going to give back their bowl earnings from participating in the Sugar Bowl?
Why? The NCAA would have been hard pressed to not suspend the players involved if the cat was out of the bag before the season even started.
What would suspensions in the 2010 season have meant? Well, there are two teams that would have probably finished higher than the Buckeyes in the BCS rankings that established BCS assignments. Michigan State and Boise State are both feeling a little deprived right now.
Oh, and about that Sugar Bowl trophy, will Ohio State send it off to Arkansas?
Start with the obvious: The suspended players should have been out for the Sugar Bowl. There is no indication that Arkansas cheated to qualify for the game, much less that their head coach covered up the truth to get there.
If Ohio State wants to maintain even an appearance of integrity they should mail that trophy back to New Orleans today…let the host committee fly to Fayetteville and beg forgiveness for lobbying the NCAA to not suspend the cheating Buckeye players.
Will the NCAA bring the hammer down on Tressel?
Probably not. It seems the NCAA reserves only tough penalties for players who mess up and lie to the NCAA (See Dez Bryant). The governing body for college athletics has been a little gentler on people like Bruce Pearl and John Calhoun.
Will the NCAA come down hard on Ohio State?
Again, don’t bet on it. While this is about as “lack of institutional” control as you can get, this is still Ohio State and they have already used the “did not know defense” once.
The players were violating the rules because they, the university, did not educate them properly. There must be more validity to that statement than people thought. Think about it, the head football coach even said he did not know what to do when told his players were cheating.
So far a defense of “not knowing” has worked for everyone that has tried it in the last two years. Ohio States lawyers will surely know a good thing when they see it.
How can college athletics be fixed?
There seems to be very little integrity left in the game today. It must be the result of living in a postmodern world where rules have no meaning. Well, there is one hope left for restoring integrity back to NCAA.
Put BYU in charge. The people who run the school in Utah seem to understand that having meaningful standards is more important than getting that next win. Not just sometimes, but all of the time.