Three months ago, Ohio State Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith issued the following: "Wherever we end up, Jim Tressel is our football coach," Smith said at a news conference. "He is our coach, and we trust him implicitly."
The Ohio State administration did their best to stand by Tressel, the man who delivered their first National Championship in 34 years when he led his Buckeyes to the title in 2002.
Now Tressel is gone with the wind.
Tressel handed in his resignation this morning amid controversy surrounding NCAA violations that transpired on his watch.
How in the world could a university “trust” someone who has blatantly lied?
Tressel’s resignation is not a shock to me, but the timing is.
What took so long?
The Ohio State administration and Tressel did not hesitate to suspend players for the first five games of next season after selling championship rings, trophies and other items. Why did the university give Tressel the chance to save face but not the players?
ESPN analyst and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit did not waste time in badgering the embattled players for their actions. Herbstreit suggested on ESPN Radio's The Herd, "This is a selfish act by Pryor and the other players."
Three months have passed since Mr. Ohio State blasted quarterback Terrelle Pryor and his teammates for what he deemed selfish behavior: I wonder what Herbstreit will say now that Tressel has finally waved the white flag.
Will Herbstreit bash Tressel for his “selfish” acts in lying to the sports world, claiming not to know the chain-of-command once he received email notification April 2, 2010 that several of his players were receiving improper benefits?
Will Herbstreit finally blast Tressel for electing to keep the information to himself for nine months?
I am appalled at this whole situation. Tressel should have been fired once the university knew he was lying.
The university did not hesitate to embarrass the student-athletes for their actions. That same university should finally bestow a similar level of scrutiny on Tressel for crossing the line in bringing shame to the athletic program.
The vast majority of the athletes sanctioned by universities and the NCAA are black. Dez Bryant was suspended while at Oklahoma State for lying about having a meal with Deion Sanders.
Meanwhile, coaches like Tressel get the benefit of the doubt due to a combination of their winning percentage and complexion. Typically the lighter the complexion and the higher the winning percentage, the more university backing you will get.
Had Tressel been black, he would not have the luxury of university backing. He would likely not be granted time to map out his eventual departure either—his actions would have resulted in an immediate termination.
For example, in December Mike Haywood was hired to replace head coach Dave Wannstedt (who I think was unfairly forced to resign) as the head coach at Pitt. Approximately two weeks later, Haywood was arrested. He was involved in a domestic dispute in South Bend, Ind.
After Haywood posted $1,000 bond, Pitt officials promptly fired Haywood. There was no due process; he was presumed guilty without a chance of proclaiming innocence.
What happened to due process?
Pitt issued the following statement: "To be clear, the University's decision is not tied to any expectation with respect to the terms on which the legal proceeding now pending in Indiana might ultimately be concluded. Instead, it reflects a strong belief that moving forward with Mr. Haywood as our head coach is not possible under the existing circumstances."
Bottom line: Tressel has set a poor example of what a leader should be. A coach at a prestigious university did not live up to the standards of being a respectable role model that helps mold young men into functional beings in this complex society. Instead, he set an example of engaging in selfish behavior and lying.
Ohio State is just as guilty as Tressel. The university allowed him to keep his job and largely dictate the level of suspension he received, among other things.
Now OSU will likely beg Urban Meyer to get out of the analyst booth at ESPN in favor of roaming the sidelines in Columbus, hoping to cover up the Jim Tressel fiasco that has given the program an obvious black eye.
In any event I “trust” the university will do just fine without Tressel.
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