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Surprising Coaching Changes? Tressel to Be Fired, Jo Pa Slips Away—True?

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IDecember 26, 2010

Too much smoke for no fire. Tressel's days are numbered.
Too much smoke for no fire. Tressel's days are numbered.David Purdy/Getty Images

One thing about being wired into sports writing is the contacts you have, and one Internet group I belong to has passed along two interesting little rumors that seem to have legs and will shock the college football world if true.

According to the Daily Chicago Sports Tab, and I quote: 

On Christmas Day, two sources that are very close to recruiting at prominent universities confirmed that Jim Tressel will no longer be the head football coach at Ohio State University after the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.

Ohio State was rocked by the suspensions of five key players, including top running back Dan "Boom" Herron and Heisman-hopeful quarterback Terrelle Pryor, for the first five games of the 2011 season earlier this week.

The sources indicated that Buckeye recruits have been informed that Tressel will not be back as coach, and have been allowed to look for other options.

Ohio State has one of the largest compliance departments in the country, yet they have reported 375 violations to the NCAA from 2000-09, the most in the country.

Early in Tressel's tenure at OSU he had to deal with the Maurice Clarrett debacle, and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith was suspended for two games for accepting money from a booster. The latest violations are just another dark page in the recent history of the Buckeye program.

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This is major news in the college football world, especially after the University of Miami made a coaching change immediately after the regular season. The thought that Tressel would be out of a job before Rich Rodriguez at Michigan is also astounding.

Where the Buckeyes go to find a replacement is anyone's guess. Would TCU coach Gary Patterson become a possibility? The number of professional jobs that could come available in early January could cloud the hiring process in Columbus.

--------

UPDATE: I have read comments from Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith on Saturday afternoon. I am also well aware that Ohio State fans and alumni don't like me; the thousands of personal attacks and taunts on Twitter made that perfectly clear.

However, the sources that provided me with this information were clear with their comments, and I am comfortable sticking with what I have been told. If I was wrong, I will publish a strong statement to that effect in the future.

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/daily-chicago-sports-tab/2010/12/jim-tressel-leaving-ohio-state.html

(end of quote)

This goes right in another rumor emailed to me a Penn State booster who says a recruit both are going after was informed that Tressel would not return, but they would have a "coach with a better chance of winning it all."

I thought that rumor was just, a rumor until this other story corroborated it.

Another is that with win 400 in the books, Jo Pa will voluntarily step down and that Penn State will clean house with a high profile coach.

Rumors have been swirling over this for months, but when Tom Bradley, a Jo Pa assistant for 32 years tried for the Temple job, it was clear that Paterno has informed his coaches or Bradley would have never considered leaving.

According to family and friends, everyone close to Paterno will be at the Jan first Outback Bowl to celebrate his final game with him.

There is too much to dismiss right now that Paterno will not step down.

The one thing you can know for certain is that you won't have to wait long to find out the truth.

Just after this posting went up, within mere minutes, it was refuted by BuckeyeGrove.com. Here is what their statement said:

FALSE RUMOR PUTS PEOPLE ON EDGE

December 25, 2010

Kevin Noon
Managing Editor

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Saturday night saw message boards light up as a blogger decided to try and prey on the already fragile state of Ohio State fans' psyche by starting rumors insinuating that head coach Jim Tressel would no longer be the head coach of the Buckeyes after the upcoming Sugar Bowl game.

The amateur blogger claimed to have a pair of sources that are 'very close to recruiting at prominent universities' stating that Tressel was out. The Ohio State athletic department released a statement via text message on Saturday evening to try and put this rumor to rest.

"Reports circulating that (a) Chicago website is reporting (Jim Tressel) is retiring after the bowl are totally the work of some prankster," was announced by an OSU sports information spokeswoman.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith also took to cyberspace to announce via Twitter that the rumors were not true.

This all comes on the heels of a bombshell that came down on Ohio State with five starters picking up five game bans in 2011 and one player picking up a one game suspension all stemming from the sale of Ohio State personal effects for profit.

BuckeyeGrove.com was contacted by a member of the recruiting class of 2011 upon hearing about these rumors. In the aforementioned article there was reference made that the current recruiting class was being allowed to look around for other options. This is an inaccuracy based on the fact that none of the 19 members of the recruiting class have signed a National Letter of Intent and are not bound to Ohio State. The unnamed recruit found the whole situation to be comical and ill-timed.

The current Ohio State football team will get back to Columbus and to practice on December 27th for two more days of practice before making the trip to New Orleans (La.) for the Sugar Bowl on December 29th. BuckeyeGrove.com will start its Sugar Bowl coverage on December 29th as well.

We will not link to the originating site of these false rumors and generate page views for a fraudulent report.

(end of statement)

Now we wait and see who's telling the real story. Either way, let me restate that everything is just rumor at this point, but time will certainly tell.


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