Although there might have been quite a lot of sensationalist chat about Jim Tressel resigning from the Ohio State Buckeyes on Memorial Day, the fact is this: As soon as he admitted to covering up player violations, he was Dead Man Walking.
The sheer pressure from the US media during this whole shambolic tale on the program and the coach has been absolutely monstrous, with journalists and fans alike calling for the head of 'The Sweater Vest' as soon as revelation after revelation came out about this whole situation.
Excellent investigative website SportsByBrooks says that Tressel was pushed (he "resigned" on a day which everyone found a little weird bearing in mind that it's Memorial Day and everyone's thinking about people in the services rather than college football) by Leslie Wexner, the chairman of the Ohio State Board of Trustees, who is more than a little worried about the school's image and a forthcoming plea for dough.
Tressel said in a statement: "After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach," Tressel said in a statement released by the university. "The appreciation that (wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."
Co-defensive co-ordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell will take the job for the 2011 season—and things should stay the same. Sure, the first five games will be harder, but we still expect the Buckeyes to go 5-0 (the trip to Miami and home game against Michigan State will probably the biggest tests). The team has simply got too much Tressel-recruited talent.
It's a sad ending to a brilliant career. With the Buckeyes, Tressel pretty much dominated the Big Ten, won a National Championship and made two more title games (where he was whomped by SEC schools (who have their own problems on the disciplinary front!). His record was 66-14 overall.
His legacy of NFL Draftees continues on and on and on (Cameron Heyward, the excellent defensive end, will play at the Pittsburgh Steelers sometime in the next decade (when this NFL mess clears up)—66 by the last count (from ESPN Stats & Info).
Also, the non-conference battles with Texas and USC were both legendary. Sadly for Buckeye Nation, the Horseshoe becomes a little less threatening for travelling teams now he's gone—and so does a Sweater Vest fashion statement among students.
The sad thing for Tressel was the fact that the person who brought Tressel down was Tressel himself. He knew the difference between right and wrong - and went for the wrong. And it cost him, both financially and reputationally.
As for who's going to come in in 2012, there's rumors surfacing that Urban Meyer may take the helm in 2012. Kirk Herbstreit (who's probably got tears in his eyes watching his program repeatedly getting kicked in the College Footballs for this) said on College Gameday about Meyer:
"The reality is his dream job has always been and will continue to be the head coach at Ohio State". Sporting News writer Matt Hayes seems to think something else: He said: "Forget about Urban at Ohio State. Doesn't want to walk into NCAA violations - he's waiting out Penn State job".
Like the rest of the writers, we feel that Tressel won't be the only person to go as the NCAA investigation drags on. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith will certainly be given the pink slip—as well as the rest of the internal staff having anything to do with Buckeyes reporting any potential violations- and some more senior members may go too.
The question is is: Who's next? Answers on a postcard please.