It was a major news story. It was national TV. ESPN went on a witch hunt against Ohio State in 2004. They basically pronounced OSU guilty until proven innocent. ESPN’s program “Outside the Lines” used an entire show to condemn Ohio State. Commentators during Bowl games pronounced that Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes were in fact the Blackeyes.
At the heart of the 2004 controversy was Maurice Clarett’s claims that OSU made numerous violations including: Jim Tressel prearranging cars for Clarret and coach Dick Tressel, Tressel finding well-paying landscaping jobs that Clarett never worked at, members of the coaching staff setting up meetings with boosters who gave Clarrett thousands of dollars.
Marco Cooper, a former linebacker at OSU, backed up Clarett’s claims. The witch hunt was on.
The NCAA investigated; after the NCAA was finished, Jim Tressel and OSU football were exonerated. History will repeat itself.
Enter 2011, Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel, two nationally respected sports writers from Yahoo, receive from an anonymous source that Tressel knew about “gear scheme” since last April.
"Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source. However, neither Ohio State nor the NCAA investigated the transactions or the players’ relationship with Rife until December 2010, when the school claims it was informed of the situation by the local United States Attorney’s office."
This is nothing new to Tressel, and just like ESPN did almost seven years ago, the Yahoo report will not bring down the Vest.
The Buckeyes who committed the infraction have apologized and asked for forgiveness. Many people already are of the opinion that the players who sold the memorabilia were not as heinous as other allegations against other teams. The memorabilia was their own property and the NCAA should not reprimand the players for selling their possessions anymore than if one of the players put a vacuum cleaner on Craig’s List.
But it was an infraction nonetheless, rules are rules. Robinson and Wetzel are accusing Tressel of wrong doing. This is nothing new.
Coach Tressel is one of the most outstanding men ever to coach in college football. For some reason, he is a target for the major news sources that cover sports. ESPN tried to take him down and lost, in time, the Yahoo story will also prove not to be fully credible and Tressel will prevail.
ESPN mentioned the Yahoo story but did not include it in their LEAD. They learned the hard way. Yahoo is about to follow.
In the age of Twitter, as reported by Steve Helwagen of Bucknuts.com, former Ohio State offensive lineman Jim Cordle wrote, "I haven't seen Tressel fail yet . . . Good luck Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel ... you will need it."
Post Script: OSU has placed Jim Tressel under a two game suspension. Even before the story broke, OSU was working on a report to the NCAA. I do apologize to Robinson and Wetzel for questioning their credibility.