Jim Tressel: The Youngstown State Scandal Revisited

Mitch Wilson@sportschatplaceSenior Writer IJuly 19, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes leads teammates Alex Boone #75 and Marcus Freeman #1 out onto the field before the college football game against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 13, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. The Trojans defeated the Buckeyes 35-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

While many see the sweater vest normally worn by Jim Tressel as a symbol of purity and integrity, to the vast majority of us, it symbolizes a life vest attempting to keep him afloat in the pool of denial he swims in.

It's been a few years now that Tressel has been at Ohio State which means even less college football fans who remember the scandalous past at Youngstown State.

While what I write about has only been met by denial and spin, reality and common sense point to a man who can't face the punishment nor admit to his wrong doings, setting himself up for a massive implosion when the day comes that he is caught red handed by those of his ever so many haters.

Tressel's coaching record on the field at YSU was impeccable. He won four 1-AA National titles during his stay there.

His run to greatness began with the signing of Youngstown local Ray Isaac, a QB who could run with the best of them, and better than the rest of them when it came to 1-AA. Isaac also had problem bending NCAA rules and for a player of his caliber, he was in the right place at the right time.

A good friend of Tressels during his time at YSU was Mickey Monus. Monus was the head of the board of trustees, the CEO of an up and fast-coming pharmacy chain, and was on the sidelines for all of Youngstown State's games. It was Tressel who set up the first meeting between his star player and Monus.

The record states over the years Monus gave thousands of dollars to Isaac. The record also states Isaac used cars provided by Monus.

A few years later, Monus came up on Federal fraud charges for "bookkeeping irregularities" and all of the stories of Monus' relationship with Isaac came to light. At the time the NCAA ordered and investigation in which Tressel denied any knowledge of any wrong doing.

A hundred percent of this investigation was done internally and none of the stipulations and assurances given by Tressel, School President Leslie Cochran, nor Athletic Director Joe Malsimur were ever completed. Tressel never contacted Isaac as he promised he would and Malsimur never contacted Monus.

It's really as if no internal investigation at all took place. The NCAA's follow-up on the investigation is an absolute joke.

The fact is, all of the files are closed and Youngstown refuses to release them, claiming they are part if Isaac's personal information. When Isaac was asked if he ever spoke to Tressel or anyone regarding the matter, he claims he spoke to no one.

During Monus's later trials for other offenses, more infractions in the Penguin athletic program were exposed. In the end, the NCAA took away some scholarships and cited YSU with a lack of institutional control.

The penalty was the loss of scholarships and although it was certainly warranted, the NCAA couldn't revoke YSU's 1991 National title as the statute of limitations to to so had expired.

Less than a year later, Tressel was hired by Ohio State and the rest is history.

While Tressel admits to no knowledge of any wrong doing, it's hard to believe with such a close relationship to Monus and even his players, that he couldn't have seen all that has gone on.

Visit Mitch anytime at The Sports Chat Place


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.