Ohio State Grows a Set and Punts Jim Tressel

by Kent Sterling

The only question I would ask Jim Tressel today is whether the moments of joy he experienced were worth his decisions to lie about NCAA violations.

Ohio State president Gordon Gee finally had enough.  The constant Chinese water torture of the drip, drip, drip of information about screwy violations that were nothing more than kids doing what kids do pushed the button that made Tressel a bigger liability than an asset.

(Yeah, yeah, I know this is being painted as a resignation, and technically it was a negotiated resignation, but anyone who believes Tressel left of his own volition is delusional.)

Once again, we learn that lying is what eventually causes the unraveling.  If not for Tressel’s decision to not share information with his boss and the Buckeyes compliance department and then to sign the NCAA form stating he was unaware of any NCAA violations, he surely would have survived the scandal of players selling memorabilia for cash and tattoos.

There is no way to stop players from selling stuff they own, but a man like Tressel has to be resolute in his role as part of a solution, not part of the problem, and lying to protect players makes him the poster boy for the problems that plague college football and basketball.

While this is a sad day for the Tressel family and those in Ohio who revere the man in the sweater vest, it’s a solid day for morality in college athletics.

Click here follow Kent on Twitter @kentsterling

Until the NCAA decides whether BCS football and men’s basketball are minor leagues for future professionals or part of a college education for amateurs, the line between success, failure, good and bad will constantly be gray and elusive.  Rules prohibiting kids from selling their own property are absurd, and the coaches know that.  Who can blame a kid without a dime in his pocket for taking $2,000 for a Big Ten championship ring, especially when he collects one every year?

Tressel didn’t blame the kids, so he lied to protect them.  Now, he’s out of a job.  If a man can be right and wrong simultaneously, Tressel has done it.

It’s not that I have any patience for liars or those who knowingly break rules while leading young men who are in dire need of a quality mentor, but the NCAA as an organization of oversight is culpable for their role in this mess as well.

This is no different than the chaos in Knoxville that cost Bruce Pearl his job.  Cheating is one thing, but lying about it to the NCAA is another.  Losing track of the vagaries of the rules is one thing, but lying when you get caught is inexcusable.  Helping a kid put some food in his stomach is laudable, but lying about it is how you get fired.

Tell the truth.  Always tell the truth.  That’s true not just for coaches like Tressel, but for everyone.  No result is positive enough to justify a lie.  Expedience is no excuse.  Wealth is no excuse.  Trumpian morality, the likes of which the Donald teaches on the various versions of “The Apprentice” has made the decision to tell the truth situational in our society, and what a tragedy that is.

Without men like Tressel being publicly scorned and dismissed for lying, I don’t know where the next generation of young men would learn to respect telling the truth as a virtuous measure of character.

Today was a bad day for Tressel and Ohio State football, but a great day for the truth as a relevant concept to motivate behavior.

8 thoughts on “Ohio State Grows a Set and Punts Jim Tressel

  1. Neil

    There are several issues raised here in this article. One is the part about Ohio State (or the administrators and board) growing a set but I think it is the opposite. They stated their position earlier supposedly. They were standing beside their man Jim Tressel. I suspect something has changed and they are trying to bail before everything begins to unravel. There are a lot of rumors circulating around Columbus right now. These people aren’t suddenly more ethical because they pressured Tressel out, indeed they even appear more cowardly since they didn’t come completely clean then just plain say they were firing him and why. Telling the truth and only the truth all the time is great but only one person has ever lived that could make the claim. There is a story in the Bible about “reaping what you sow.” We, as a society are doing just that right now. We are greatly concerned about the ethics that are now espoused and not only by people like Trump. Our political leaders stand front and center on this one. About 49 years ago they decided that we didn’t need prayer in schools or religion there either. They thought we could just get by fine on the “golden rule”, whatever that was, since our ethics are sort ill defined now and presumably just based on our good senses. Now telling the truth or having ethics is more about trying not to get caught than having a real reason to be truthful. We now have a system of behavior that is based as much on deciet and posing than real integrity. So Jim Tressel is gone but I am sure there will be others waiting to take his place. Pushing Tressel out was more a business descision and not an ethical one. Ohio State and their sports are big business and one coach isn’t going to get in the way of that.

  2. Jeff Showalter

    When OSU dumps Gee and the AD, then I’ll believe they have grown a set. All they did so far was give the lions some fresh meat hoping they fill up.

  3. chuck stake

    another good man fallen victim to those who believe it’s really amateur sports and don’t understand the concept of the athlete-“student?”

    1. kentsterling Post author

      If he hadn’t lied and withheld information, you would be closer to right. Tressel is the victim of his own arrogance. In deciding what is right and wrong himself, Tressel put his reign at Ohio State above the NCAA’s charter to police college athletics. Had he come out at the time the emails were sent to him, and raised hell that this kind of thing is simply the result of foolish rules that are unenforceable and wrongheaded, I would have driven to Columbus to shake his hand. But he didn’t do that. He hid like a coward hoping the OSU AD and compliance staff would never find out about it, and signed an NCAA document that documented his ignorance of any NCAA violations.

      Those are not the actions of a good man, but those of a chicken shit who believes he knows right from wrong and is afraid to stand up for those beliefs.

  4. Brian

    I guess BOBBY KNIGHT is somewhere crying in his beer, since he does not think this coach did anything wrong. How about Bobby going back on the MIKE AND MIKE SHOW and talk about this!!!!!

  5. Mike in Hendricks

    This is done in many sports and money and benefits are exchanged freely. There are three problems that people who have posted need to get straight. Tressel LIED and with held evidence. BIG MISTAKE. Two the young men who did the accused activities were STUPID knowing what they did was ILLEGAL What part of that do you posters not get. Not saying it isn’t done but if you are going to do something you know is wrong pick who you do it with and shit not a tattoo artist. How fking stupid is that. Last but not least, Once the media starts on something come clean quickly. The car salesman is a prime example of the money trail. Now the shit has hit the fan and OSU knows who he has talked with many times and so did OSU’s leadership. Tressel was stupid, his players were even more fking stupid, and so where those who compromised THE OSU.
    Does payment for play need to be legalized, YES if you want to no longer have AMATEUR sports which we don’t have anymore and haven’t had for a long time.

    Either keep it amateur or get the fk off your collective azzes and set out a payment plan like Amateur track and field does with it’s runners and field personnel. They make so much for participation that is kept in an account for the athletes. Make it the same in all sports or make it purely amateur. None of this inbetween SH*T. Geez if you are going to cheat don’t leave a fking money trail. How bogus is that. Sorry for the rant but sometimes stupidity of actions just defies human logic just like the Heisman’s dad. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE with a brain believes he didn’t know his dad was shopping him to the highest bidder. NO ONE unless you are just and Eagles lover and want to overlook the obvious. Like driving around campus with a brand new car. Sorry no sympathy for stupidity from this quarter.

  6. Neil

    One comment for “Mike” would be to proof read your reply before submitting. The grammar,spelling and “colorful” language take away from your message. I hope I wasn’t one of the other posters you were referring to about not getting it. Tressel is a creep among creeps. Read the Sports Illustrated article and this becomes abundantly clear. But it also presents a pattern of behavior that has been at Ohio State long before Jim Tressel ever got there. Although not illegal at the time even Woody Hayes had a “special” group of supporters that “helped” the football team. As the article presents, these types of “help” were ruled immpermissable in 1983. I suspect that it was Tressel’s false image and ability to play within Ohio State’s phony system that got him the position of head coach of the football program. The school operates with an attitude of “entitlement” when it comes to sports and most especially football. Straighten the school out not just one coach or the whole process starts all over again.

  7. Mike in Hendricks

    No you weren’t one Neil I do enjoy your posts but being an ex professional athlete STUPIDITY at the administration level just rankles my fur to the point my fingers work faster than my brain and my mouth gets poignant to make points. Anyone in this day and age that thinks there is such a thing as amateur sports is delusional. There are probably some clean programs out there somewhere but with Terrell allegedly having six cars, and some of the kids who came to OSU who couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time, were dumber than a box of rocks to begin with, or from families who didn’t have a pot to p*ss in, driving new cars, red flags were or should have been in abundance. A big part of that is on the AD and the President. They need to go also if OSU wants to be taken seriously as a clean program. Like Auburn and Bama, NO ONE takes them as clean programs. It is the good old boy syndrome at work. Probably in five years someone will step up like someone did for Reggie and USC and then it will hit the fan all over again. People who usually indulge in this kind of activity aren’t usually smart enough to pull it off on their own and there is ALWAYS someone who has sour grapes and spills the beans to get their just come uppances. Have a good day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *