I'd like to begin by apologizing to Ohio State football fans for my following reaction. This is in no way a reflection of the Ohio State football program, but simply my take on the man that is running your program.
As if the initial excuse for the scandal was not insulting enough, Jim Tressel seems to really believe that we, as sports fans, are stupid.
Today, Tressel requested that his two-game suspension be extended to five games to match the suspension issued to his players for receiving compensation for selling memorabilia, according to ESPN.
Ohio State had appealed to the NCAA to reduce the suspensions, but that appeal was denied.
On the surface, Tressel's request seems like the right thing to do to help make the situation right. After all, while it can be argued that the players' violation was done unknowingly, Tressel knew of the violation and covered it up so that his players would remain eligible.
The initial punishment was wrong: suspending players for five games is appropriate, however delaying that suspension to the beginning of the upcoming season so that they would remain eligible for a bowl game, was a joke.
Oh I almost forgot, Tressel made them promise they would return to school next year before he delayed their suspension.
Honestly, does anyone believe that decision was made for the betterment of the players?
The decision was motivated because of the competitive difference that Ohio State faced with or without the players involved.
Tressel's own acknowledgment about his involvement in covering up the incident also rang hollow in my opinion.
Again, on the surface, it sounds like he was trying to look out for his players by not wanting them dragged into a federal drug investigation. Seems very nice of a head coach to look out for his players in this way.
He didn't want to betray the confidentiality of the lawyer? Sure, I suppose I could buy that, except I strongly feel his motivation was the same as the delayed suspension: he wanted his players eligible and figured he could cover it up.
His original two-game suspension? A joke, as they are playing Akron and Toledo.
The $250,000 fine he received? Chump change for Tressel, as his annual salary is $3.5 million.
Obviously, I was not impressed with Tressel's handling of the situation at any step during the process. The most recent development is the most insulting to me as a sports fan though.
His players are suspended for five games. For his involvement, he feels it is only fair and just that he also be suspended for five games.
Give me a break.
Tressel realizes that without his suspended players he is at a major competitive disadvantage—one that might cost Ohio State the opportunity at a bowl appearance next season.
Had the players had their suspension reduced to match Tressel's two-game suspension, he would have happily coached after the two meaningless preseason games against Akron and Toledo.
Now that his players will also miss the following three games against Miami (FLA), Colorado and Michigan State, Tressel does not want the accountability if the Buckeyes lose those games.
Tressel and Ohio State are trying to do their best to spin the situation so that national fans will not view Ohio State or Tressel himself as dirty.
They are trying to feign accountability.
Tressel's actions, every last one of them throughout this scandal, show that he has dodged accountability at every opportunity.
He lied to keep his players eligible to win, he volunteered a two-game suspension thinking his players could get their suspensions reduced, and he ran from adversity when that appeal was denied.
Tressel does not want the spotlight on him for those three games, if the Buckeyes lose.
That is the only reason for his request to extend his suspension, and nothing else he says will be able to change my mind.
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