The scandal that rocked Ohio State football and has fans all over the country looking at the Buckeye program with disdain cost them its greatest coach since Woody Hayes.
He is enjoying a brief retirement, but seems, at least based on some radio interviews, somewhat remorseful for what he did.
Whether his intentions were fatherly, or simply just to win football games, it's irrelevant because of the illegality of his actions.
And while he has technically not been punished, his biggest punishment is not wearing the trademark sweater vest on the Ohio State sideline this Saturday against Akron.
Odds are though that Tressel will likely receive a similar penalty that former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl got from the violations at Tennessee—a three-year show-cause penalty.
What that means is that for three years, the school hiring a coach under penalty will have to appear before the NCAA and explain why he should be allowed to coach again.
But after what happened to Ohio State, Jim Tressel is likely not going to coach again.
Woody never coached again after he was fired.
Neither was John Cooper, although his reason was performance-related.
Tressel is not a young guy like Will Muschamp or Jimbo Fisher. And the odds are that he will not be able to coach into his 80s like Joe Paterno is still doing at Penn State.
The game hasn't passed him by. It's the culture of kids that has changed around him and has pushed him out from the game he loved.
Say what you will about whether he was a cheater or a misguided father figure, his resume speaks for itself:
— Eight Big Ten titles (shared or outright)
— Over 90 victories in 10 seasons (not including the vacated season of 2010)
— An 8-1 record against Michigan (Cooper only won 2 games against the Wolverines in a longer timeframe)
— The 2003 BCS National Championship
— Three other BCS bowl victories
It's very difficult to find many coaches with that type of resume.
But, if Tressel is handcuffed by the NCAA to ever coach again, we have seen the last of the vest in college football.
And it's a shame in some ways.
In other ways, he paved his own way out of college football.
He certainly can coach again, but he probably won't.
His legacy is what we make of it; whether it be a winner or a guy who made the wrong choice and not only hurt himself, but the school he loved and still loves.
Jim Tressel is always going to be a Buckeye. Even though the players still know him as Coach Tress, he is now just a fan. And nothing more.