The Jim Tressel era is over at Ohio State. Those of us who know the inner workings of the NCAA knew it was a forgone conclusion, but the Buckeye hardcore still believed their coach and school were big enough to ride out this storm.
Now, there is no doubt.
I would love to say that Tressel fell on the sword to save the school and salvage a portion of his reputation, but that day passed long ago. It passed when he tried to serve a paltry two-game suspension as his penance, then was shamed into accepting the same five-game suspension as his players accepted.
No, Tressel didn't resign to attempt to save the school—he waited until his agent, lawyers and entourage made sure he'd still leave with some cash from his contract, assurances that the school would cover his legal fees, which could be substantial, and other things.
Tressel didn't attempt to save the school with this resignation, that day had passed. He was only attempting to save his own butt again and save some cash.
Let me put this in perspective for the non-studious fan. Ohio State players were caught and got a parking ticket. Had they paid the fine and moved forward, nothing would have happened.
Instead, Tressel lied about his knowledge to university administration and the NCAA, making a bad situation much worse.
In weighing the risk-to-reward factors in what Tressel did, only two things can be said: Either (1) he was so arrogant that he thought such a petty crime was not worthy of his having to accept any consequences whatsoever or (2) he was simply stupid.
And we know that Tressel is anything but stupid.
His arrogance is simply astounding.
He was not bigger than the rules of the NCAA, even the minor ones. He did nothing to protect his program, only to cover his own butt, and this resignation was not an act of contrition, but yet another act to save his own money in not having to fight a long legal battle in an attempt to save that job.
Coach Tressel's record of wins and losses will always stand. He will always be a national championship coach, but he will also have to live with the fact that his career ended because of his own arrogance and lies, and that may be what he is most remembered for.