Lindsay Lohan and Jim Tressel have a lot in common.
Lindsay is trying to soften her sentence for breaking the law by doing community service. Jim Tressel is trying to get a minimal sanction from the NCAA for his cover-up of the “Tattoo Five” by claiming he was protecting his players.
Both feel they should be treated as “special” because they think they are above their indiscretions.
Jim Tressel is a celebrity in Ohio. He fills Ohio Stadium. He wins a lot of games. He speaks at charity events. He writes books about being ethical. All of this builds an image that he has tried to project.
But Tressel is not the man the public sees. The NCAA has labeled him as liar and a coach who misled an investigation of the “Tattoo Five.”
He’s like many coaches. He is arrogant and it showed when he did not apologize at the news conference after his misdeeds were discovered.
Ohio State looked foolish suspending him for only two games and a $250,000 fine. They supposedly knew the seriousness of Tressel’s violations and still gave him a light reprimand.
That’s what happens when you are a celebrity.
Tressel’s arrogance went even further when he announced that he was increasing his suspension to five games, the same as the players. It’s unbelievable that he sees his violations as the same as the players.
He is an adult who is responsible for the credibility of the program. He should be treated much more severely than adolescents who are barely old enough to vote.
The public is beginning to see the size of Tressel’s enormous ego. He won’t step down as head coach because he believes that it is his “mission” in life. He suggests that he owes his guidance to the players.
It’s all about him. He sincerely believes that he deserves to be the head coach of Ohio State. That’s how celebrities think. It’s called entitlement.
Now, he has hired a former NCAA investigator’s law firm to politic his case for him. They will help him anticipate the questions the NCAA are likely to ask. They will develop a persuasive story for Tressel that he will present with clarity and sincerity.
The sincerity will come natural for Tressel, since he has hoodwinked the public with it since he has been at Ohio State.
The lawyers will argue that Tressel is a decent man who made a mistake. It wasn’t one mistake; it was a series of intentional lies.
It was a conspiracy with two individuals not associated with Ohio State. Tressel didn’t hesitate to contact Pryor’s “mentor” or maintain an email relationship with a Columbus attorney.
Tressel never turned himself in to the Ohio State administration. The compliance department had to discover the cover-up.
A decent man would have confessed his many sins. And most schools would have fired him. Not Ohio State, because Jim Tressel is a celebrity.
The most important part of Tressel hiring a law firm is having them do the backroom politicking. They have contacts and will manipulate Tressel’s cause behind the scenes. This is where the real action takes place to reduce any penalties.
The enormous influence Ohio State has will come into play. They generate a lot of money from TV exposure, bowl games and donations from alumni.
The NCAA will be asked to go lightly on Tressel because he is too important to Ohio State financially to be punished severely.
There will be no mention that Ohio State will be Tressel’s second school that has been placed on probation. There will be no mention of Tressel turning a blind eye to indiscretions by Maurice Clarett or other players. The media will be blamed for over-exposing the story.
In all likelihood, Tressel’s punishment will be an extension of his current suspension for the remainder of the 2011 season and vacating the 2010 season wins. The NCAA will maintain that this is part of their “get tough” policy.
If Tressel is back as head coach in 2012, Ohio State will serenade him as a good man who made a mistake and that they are proud to have him as their coach. That’s celebrity justice.
Jim Tressel, meet Lindsay Lohan.