Jim Tressel and Ohio State: The 5 Biggest Scandals in His Coaching Career

Matt FaulconerFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2011

Jim Tressel and Ohio State: The 5 Biggest Scandals in His Coaching Career

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes calls a time out in the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (P
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Across the country, college football fans are starting to view Jim Tressel in a new light.  With Tressel suspended and fined over $250,000 for being aware of the "gear sale," which is rapidly being known as "tattoo-gate," fans are starting to realize that Tressel may not be what he appears.

    On the outside, Tressel wears a sweater vest and looks more like a minister than a head coach of Ohio State.  However, looking past the sweater vest, fans are starting to see the more sinister side of the coach.

    It is time to take a step back and look over this scandal, as well as other scandals that have followed Tressel through his coaching journey.

Honorable Mention: Scandals Not Yet Discovered

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    COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head Coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes directs his team during a game against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Ohio Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  Ohio State won 73-20. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    To be frank, there is no way that the NCAA has uncovered everything that Tressel has done during his tenures at both Youngstown State and Ohio State.

    There are times when it appears that the NCAA does their best to avoid scandals and avoid placing blame on student-athletes. 

    Antonio Pittman, a former star at Ohio State, stated that he thought the "tattoo-gate" scandal was absurd because players were getting hooked up with tattoos since 2001. 

    Not to say that Tressel knows about everything that his players do, but it does appear that he knows a lot more than he is willing to admit.

5. Santonio Holmes

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    TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Wire receiver Santonio Holmes #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs after a catch against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on January 2, 2006 in Tempe, Arizona. The Buckeyes defeated the
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    In October of 2010, Sports Illustrated ran a story on a former agent, Josh Luchs, who claimed to have met with Santonio Holmes at Ohio State.  In the report, the agent stated that Holmes told him that he was receiving money from an agent who was taking care of his family.

    Ohio State ended up dismissing these charges after what was a very, very brief investigation.  Tressel himself denied any wrongdoing.  There is no clear evidence to support that Tressel knew about any money that was being paid to Holmes, or that Holmes was even receiving money.

    However, in the midst of all these other accusations, it is hard to believe that if in fact Holmes was receiving money that Tressel did not have any knowledge.

4. Troy Smith

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Troy Smith #10 of the Ohio State Buckeyes scrambles with the ball against the Florida Gators during the 2007 Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 8, 2007 in Glendal
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    During Troy Smith's time as quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes, he received both cash and loaner cars.

    Troy Smith was eventually suspended for receiving $500 from booster Robert Q. Baker.  Ohio State did conduct internal investigations on the matter and did self-report the incident. 

    There is no way to know how long this had been going on or how long it took for Ohio State to investigate the matter.  Tressel may not have even been involved in the investigation directly, and it is possible he wasn't the one to have reported the incident to the athletic department. 

    Troy Smith was only suspended for two games, one of which included the Alamo Bowl.  He returned to field after missing one game in the 2006 season and eventually won the Heisman Trophy.

3. Ray Isaac

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    Not many people will recognize the name Ray Isaac, as he isn't exactly a household name.  Ray Isaac was Tressel's star quarterback at Youngstown State. 

    Ray Isaac was given approximately $10,000 in cash and also given cars to drive during his tenure at Youngstown. 

    Fellow players at Youngstown knew of the cars and the money that Isaac was receiving, including star running back Shawn Patton. 

    Patton admitted that there was no way that Tressel couldn't have known about the cars that Isaac was driving around town or of the cash that Isaac was receiving.

    The NCAA investigation found that Tressel had no knowledge of Isaac's wrongdoings and was never punished.  However, when your star player is driving around in different cars all the time, it is pretty hard to believe that he did not notice.

2. Maurice Clarett

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    TEMPE, ARIZONA - JANUARY 3:  Tailback Maurice Clarett #13 of the Ohio State Buckeyes takes in the victory over the University of Miami Hurricanes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on January 3, 2003 in Tempe, Arizona.  Ohio State won the ga
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Everybody knows of the Maurice Clarett scandal, as it was one of the biggest news stories of the past decade.

    Both cash and cars fell into Clarett's hands during his freshman season at Ohio State.  The first incident that got the NCAA's attention was when Clarett had a black Monte Carlo broken into, which was a loaner car from a local used car lot.

    Clarett was eventually suspended for receiving at least $500 in cash and having his cell phones paid for by Bobby Dellimuti.

    Clarett eventually claimed that Tressel pointed him in the direction of the people who loaned him cars and money.  When first asked about Dellimuti, Tressel denied ever hearing the name.  However, he later admitted to first meeting Dellimuti before Clarett's sophomore season.

    When reports first emerged about Clarett regarding academic fraud, Tressel had no response and said he only read bits and pieces about the reports. 

    Really?  Tressel's star player is being accused of academic fraud, and he doesn't know much about it?  Maybe Tressel was trying to protect his players at the time. However, letting them cheat and sending them in the direction of cash and cars is not protecting anybody.

1. "Tattoo-Gate"

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    Another episode of "As the World Turns" starring Jim Tressel was completed when reports emerged that Tressel had knowledge of his players selling memorabilia to a tattoo artist before the NCAA did. That is baffling.

    Tressel was afraid to report his players because he knew he had a chance to win a national championship last season and did not want to rat himself, nor his players, out to the NCAA.

    Tressel was fined $250,000 and suspended for two games for hiding the information about his players selling memorabilia to a tattoo artist from the NCAA and failing to report the incident.

    The worst about this whole situation was Tressel's press conference, in which he stated, “I don't think less of myself. I felt all the time as if I was doing the right thing for the safety of our young people.”

    Tressel cannot possibly keep his players safe. That is not his job, that is the job of the police department.  Tressel needed to be up front with the NCAA and not make excuses for himself.

    Tressel, if he was not a successful coach, would likely be and should be relieved of his duties as head coach at The Ohio State University.

    Unfortunately, things don't work like that, as college football is quickly becoming more and more corrupt, and that starts with head coaches like Jim Tressel.

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