to play football, not to play trumpet
The map you see below is a compilation of all the players that have been on the U of M roster starting with Bo and ending with RichRod.
There is a lot of information here...but lets start with the Michigan/Ohio region and work our way out to the rest of the country.
Michigan vs Ohio
There has been a lot of discussion on this board about the Great Wall of Tressel, and how he shut down the border. Lets take a look at how our roster was compiled with Michigan and Ohio kids over the past few decades.
A couple of things stick out here...
- During Bo's era 1 out of 4 kids on the team were from Ohio. From Lloyd's tenure and to the present it was 1 out of 10.
- Our presence in Ohio started to decline long before Tressel got there.
- RichRod always caught a lot of flack for not recruiting Michigan players, but he averaged more Michigan players then previous coaches (Yes, I know we are dealing with sample size, and most of his roster was still Lloyd's players.)
Here is a look at some of the raw data I was working with...
Rich Rod's Midwest:
Regional and National Footprint
The graphs you see below break down our roster by Region....
I was pretty amazed to see that 82% of Bo's roster was compiled of MidWest kids. I'll update this or do a Part 2......but it will be interesting to see how Hoke's first class will break down once it's complete. Right now its leaning torwards Bo's percentages.
** note: All data was pulled from http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/football.htm
[Ed-M: I used basically the same database for this year's HTTV article on recruiting Ohio, and ran into a similar problem: walk-ons. Bentley doesn't say who's a scholarship player and who isn't. Also the nature of a 4- to 5-year turnover cycle makes it hard to see what effect a coach is having except by tracking trends, not total % of players. For example, Bo's Ohio recruiting had been trending down for a long time in his later years, so that when Moeller took over it looks like the story is Mo recruited nationally and Bo was a Midwest guy. In truth, Bo took over a team from Bump that had been capping at 80% people from a mitten- or trash can-shaped state. Bo started by scouring Ohio but once his program was established he went all around the country. To wit:
If you break that into trend-lines...
...the conclusions are radically different than the percentages above suggest. Also RR and Mo weren't really there long enough to make any judgments, except the first chart shows a pretty radical growth in Ohio prospecting by RR replacing in-state success of Carr.]
Four star wide receiver Amara Darboh (6'2", 190 lbs, 4 Star) took in Ann Arbor the past few days with his basketball coach. The Iowa prospect wanted to get a better feel for what Ann Arbor had to offer, and also try to gain a level of comfort with the Michigan coaching staff. He's on his way back from his visit now and updated me on how the visit went. I couldn't find much film online, so here's a nice play from him and what he had to say about the trip.
TOM: So tell me how the trip was overall, was it better than you expected?
AMARA: Yeah. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a great visit. I had a great time. We got to meet all the coaches and got a chance to sit down with the AD. Just being in the Big House and the feeling in Ann Arbor, it was great.
TOM: I know you got there Monday and left today [Wednesday], but when did the visit actually start? Did you and your coach see anything on Monday?
AMARA: Yeah, we got there Monday and went over to the Big House. We looked at the new scoreboards and everything. We got a chance to talk to Coach Mallory for a little bit, too. Tuesday we watched some players finish their workout, met some more coaches, and met some players in the locker room. After that we talked to Coach Hoke and I got to hang out with some of the players like Roy Roundtree and [Devin] Gardner.
TOM: You told me your basketball coach is a Michigan fan, too. Was he having fun on the trip?
AMARA: My coach was having a blast. He just kept thanking me for having him come with me, but I kept thanking him. We were in the Big House together and we just kept on saying how small we felt. We were on the field just looking at everything.
TOM: I know you said before the trip that you would probably have some questions once you got up there. Did the coaches answer any of your questions and what were they mainly talking to you about?
AMARA: Yeah, the coaches were telling me how I would fit in to the offense they were bringing in. They answered all my questions really with what they told me. They told me how the offense works and how everything is run there.
TOM: Now that you've gotten a chance to sit down and meet the coaches do you feel comfortable with them?
AMARA: I feel a lot better with them. They all seem like really nice guys and they have a great staff there. This visit helped Michigan a lot, and it also helped with my comfort level, so yeah.
TOM: Since you say it helped Michigan do you think this will help speed along the process at all? Last time you said you would probably take a few official visits and then decide, is that still the case?
AMARA: I think this is going to help speed up the process a little. I still want to take official visits, but there's certain schools now that I know that I fit in with, so it helped that part.
Once the news broke that the NCAA didn't find any new infractions with the Ohio State case naturally everyone turned their thoughts to recruiting. How would this affect any prospects that are considering Ohio State, and more relavent to Michigan how would it affect Kyle Kalis?
There has been some scuttlebutt among Ohio State fans that Kalis would eventually switch back to the Buckeyes despite the fact that a good amount of their fans trashed him on the internet for making the switch in the first place.
Kalis has been saying all along that he is solid to Michigan and won't re think his decision no matter what happens with the sanctions at Ohio State. Today he had this to say about the situation:
Despite all the speculation about the limited sanctions that Ohio State will receive, I've grown to love Michigan too much to ever consider going back. I'm excited to get up there next season and to start what I know is going to be a new chapter in Michigan history, and with the amazing class that my head coach Brady Hoke is putting together.
Pretty strong words for a soon to be high school senior. When I brought the topic up he laughed and said none of it was true. There's always speculation that happens with recruiting, and I never say never but this should reassure Michigan fans on where Kalis stands on his recruitment.
Kalis has also been recruiting for Michigan, and has already started to build friendships with his future fellow classmates.
This weekend will be a big event for Michigan with the BBQ, but there will be a big time visitor before the cook out as well. With limited spots left prospects could start to make decisions depending on what their peers decide to do themselves, so every spot left is on watch. Here's a look at what happened this week and what's happening in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH and email me with any tips at [email protected].
6'2", 190 lbs.
West Des Moines, Iowa
Darboh is a four star receiver that has shown interest in Michigan for quite some time, bnut has been unable to make it up to Ann Arbor. That's about to change, as he has finally set up a visit to take in the campus and environment.
I'm going up to Michigan tomorrow [Monday the 25th]. Me and my basketball coach are going. He's a Michigan fan and he was able to give me a ride, so he wanted to go. We're taking off here at 8am on Monday, staying all day Monday, all day Tuesday, and then we might be back for a little bit on Wednesday too.
This is a big visit for both parties since Michigan is currently looking for wide receivers and Darboh hasn't been able to meet most of the coaching staff.
I have met Coach Mallory, but I haven't been up there yet. I'm excited, I don't have any questions right now but I'm sure once I get there I'll have some. I'm just excited to see everything. I've heard a lot of good things from my coaches. I've talked to the Michigan coaches over the phone, but I want to meet them and hopefully meet some of the players too.
As far as where his recruitment stands Darboh says he will likely narrow his list down by the time his season starts.
I thought I'd have a top list already but I'm not going to have it until my season starts. Hopefully when my season starts I'll have it narrowed down to a top five and then just go from there. If I take an official visit somewhere and I feel comfortable and it feels right then I'll just commit there. Right now everything changes every now and then because I haven't seen everywhere yet. I don't want to name a list until I finalize it, but I think Michigan has a good chance to be in the top five. I'll know more about them after my visit.
Amara also holds offers from Florida, Iowa, Iowa State, MSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin among others.
6'7", 320 lbs.
Braden has been committed to Michigan since March, though it seems much longer with all the other commitments Michigan has reeled in since. At the time, little was known about him, but since then Braden made quite a bit of noise at Michigan's camp with his size and performance.
I went up against a lot of good defensive linemen. Towards the end of the camp we were given the option to switch to defense, so I tried that out too. I did get to meet some of the other prospects and we were all kind of getting to know each other more than anything. Right now my height is 6-foot-7 and my weight is 320-pounds. I'm not really focused on a certain weight, just getting stronger and faster and better. That helped this year at the camp, but I still have some things I'm trying to improve on.
Ben is starting to realize that his last year of high school football is upon him, but is just trying to focus on one step at a time.
It's all starting to set in with all the seniors, but I'm just trying to worry about the season. With Michigan my family and I are going to try to get up for a few games. I do want to get up to the night game against Notre Dame.
There have been fans that are concerned with what the final product will look like for Michigan on the field in 2011. They've been wondering how that translates to the recruits, and what their perspective is on how well Michigan does this coming season.
Just from meeting the coaching staff I'm very comfortable with their methods and how they teach technique. The biggest thing that I really love and a huge key to why I committed is the family atmosphere. With Brady Hoke and all the coaches I think this season is going to be great, it's going to be huge. I know that they're going to do great. With recruiting I think it's cool that we have a lot of good athletes that are committing to my class. I know we're all excited to interact and build friendships too.
Braden's size and performance at Michigan's camp, in my mind, don't match up with how he's rated on the recruiting sites. As Tim speculated in last week's Friday Night Lights primer, he should have a shot to move up.
6'2", 186 lbs.
Powe is a four-star receiver that has recently come to the attention of Michigan fans. He has shown interest in Michigan, and says the Wolverines are among his top group.
I'm trying to visit Michigan. I've been talking to Coach Heck about when I should come out there. [In order] Oregon State, Michigan, UCLA, Miami, and Cal are on top right now. I'm trying to wait everything out to see all my choices and narrow everything down.
Powe's teammate and fellow wide receiver Malik Gilmore is currently committed to Oregon State, but also had interest in Michigan at one point. It will be interesting to see how Powe's recruitment plays out. He says that he's a fearless playmaker that isn't scared to go across the middle of the field to make a play.
I posted today that 2011 OL Graham Glasgow switched his preferred walk on commitment from Ohio State to Michigan in mid June. He's a 6'7", 295 lb tackle that has been showing some potential so far. Another walk on OL that seems to be holding his own is Gary Yerden from from Parchment, Michigan. Others have pointed out on the board that Yerden was formerly a weight lifter and broke the dead lift record in high school.
If you somehow missed the visitor list for the Big House BBQ this weekend you can find it here. This should be a big deal for Michigan; there are a few uncommitted prospects at the event and there might be potential for a few things to keep an eye on. We'll see.
2013 QB Shane Morris, 2012 DB Terry Richardson, and TE Ron Thompson are all at the Gridiron Kings event in Florida this week. If you've missed coverage of it you have not been on the internet because it's everywhere. Just in case, here's a link to an article. In that article Tom Luginbill says that if Shane Morris were in the 2012 class he would a top five or six guy in the country.
Action since last rankings:
7-18-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Jack Lynn.
7-19-11 Penn State gains commitment from Skyler Mornhinweg.
7-22-11 Penn State gains commitment from JP Holtz. Indiana gains commitment from Darius Stroud.
7-23-11 Purdue gains commitment from Jimmy Herman.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte is not included in Minnesota's average.
On to the full data:
|#1 Michigan - 19 Commits|
No change for the Wolverines. May next week's BBQ recruiting event get the ball rolling again?
|#2 Notre Dame - 12 Commits|
No change for the Irish.
|#3 Ohio State - 11 Commits|
Though NCAA allegations may be scaring off out-of-state recruits, the Buckeyes are putting together a decent class - entirely from Ohio.
|#4 Penn State - 12 Commits|
Nittany Lions pick up a couple new commits. Yes, Mornhinweg is the son of NFL coach Marty.
|#5 Michigan State - 11 Commits|
No change for the Spartans.
|#6 Wisconsin - 8 Commits|
Wisconsin still looking for ratings for a number of their commits.
No change for Northwestern. 24/7's concept of their commit list is... limited.
|#8 Indiana - 13 Commits|
Hoosiers pick up JuCo linebacker Darius Stroud.
|#9 Minnesota - 16 Commits|
Rivals still doesn't include Nick Rallis as a Gopher commit. Jack Lynn has picked Minnesota.
|#10 Nebraska - 5 Commits|
No change for the Huskers' small class.
|#11 Iowa - 6 Commits|
No change for the Hawkeyes - though ESPN is reporting another commit in offensive lineman Ryan Ward.
|#12 Purdue - 8 Commits|
Jimmy Herman is finally a commit according to Rivals. The Boilers pass Illinoi on class size.
No change for the Illini.
This Diary is brought to you by MGoBlog user Michael Scarn. I posted a link to the full 139 pages of Tressel's interview last night and Mike went through and pulled a number of notable quotes and banter... Enjoy
I planned on laying out a grandiose narrative to introduce this diary, but decided most of the analogies, hyperboles, and myriad other literary devices had already been used by writers more talented and creative than me to discuss this topic. That, and the several tumblers of Macallan 18 I’ve consumed this Friday evening while writing this have left me with only so many remaining grammatically correct sentences in the keyboard. The bottom line is, we have access to the transcript of Jim Tressel’s February 8, 2011 NCAA interview, in all 139 pages of its glory. Knowing that you all are probably interested in the interviews substance while turned off by its length, I tried to highlight the most interesting portions. What follows is a mix of amusing quotes, the most interesting questions and answers, and just generally relevant stuff. Enough chit-chat, let’s get down to it:
Jim Tressel, and apparently others in the OSU athletic department, referred to his speeches to players as “sermons”:
Tressel (describing interactions with members of the compliance department):
“Or, there’s times when it’s just the opposite. Doug’s office gets the call. Doug comes into us and says, ‘Hey, you know, I don’t have a whole bunch on this, but I’m hearing they’re going to this bar a lot. And the word is that, you know, they’re letting ’em, you know, have a couple pops because they want the football players,’ or the basketball players or, you know, whether, the athletes, ‘there. In your sermons, you know, you need to weave that in.’”
Ted Sarniak wanted Terrelle Pryor to go to Notre Dame
Tressel: “Ted wanted him to go to Notre Dame. Strike that from the records.”
I, personally, prefer him taking this rival down. Charlie Weis took care of the Irish for us. Tressel also discussed how during Pryor’s recruiting process, there were some benefits waived in front of Pryor, but everything was so heavily redacted it’s not possible to get a remote clue of whom he was referring to. Tressel paints Sarniak as a great guy that kept Pryor’s head on straight.
Tressel claims the reason he didn’t move forward with information was that Cicero’s email that discussed a federal investigation scared him:
“But probably the thing that knocked me off my socks was at the bottom when there was a little description of this criminal. And, again, I didn’t emblazon in my mind his name. I just emblazoned in my mind, ‘Oh, my God. There’s a homicide. There’s drug trafficking. There’s possession of criminal tools. This is a bad situation. This is, you know, this isn’t like the girl that called from the hot dog stand. This is not like the guy that calls from the bar and says they might be getting a drink. This is frightening.’”
And, you know, it – I was scared, quite frankly, as I read that. I answered ’em and said, ‘You know –‘ I think we were in practice, and I got back after practice and happened to start grinding through my e-mails again and saw this one. I thought, you know – I said,
‘Thanks, Chris. Blah, blah, blah.’ And, you know, I guess I had a lot of the scared part of me elicited some things, you know?”
I know what I say when I’m scared. Happy Easter!
Tressel was scared the players Cicero was talking about in his emails were in a drug trafficking ring and involved in criminal activity. With the benefit of hindsight, he would’ve gone to the university’s legal counsel because he was scared of the federal investigation:
“Knowing what I knew – not knowing who all was involved with it– I mean, I knew one name. So you sit there saying, ‘Oh, my God. Do I got 25 guys drug trafficking? Do I got, you know, X number of people selling their stuff so they can feed their drug habits?’
You know? I mean, you go through a million things. If I fastforwarded to today, I think I have the answer to what I would do. I would go to the university legal counsel because it’s a federal issue. I wouldn’t go to the athletic department legal counsel. I wouldn’t go to the compliance office.”
When pressed on the fact that Cicero’s emails focus on his player’s involvement in memorabilia, not on any criminal activity by them, Tressel went back to his fear, and felt that any NCAA sanctions might end up being moot. He thought:
“I guess it won’t matter what NCAA problems you have if you’re in jail.”
Tressel Claims he went to Sarniak to protect Pyror:
“I don’t wanna be dramatic, but I would have a hard time having a second guy murdered or a second guy get incarcerated.”
When another name comes up from Cicero (Pryor was the only one at first), no parent or mentor for that player is contacted. So, he was concerned for Pryor’s safety, but not the second players…
When Chuck Smrt (I guess vowels were expensive the day his family got its surname), who was one of a few outside consultants for OSU present, offers to take a break, Tressel says something that comes off a little like he’s performing, rather than just speaking the truth:”
Tressel: “We’re rolling…I don’t wanna go and have a halftime, and come out and play a bad second half.”
Tressel says he sat down with the Tat5, and said that he vaguely told them to avoid people they were involved with, didn’t mention Rife, and never asked any questions about drugs or memorabilia, or anything really. No great quote for this, just a lot of rambling, so either take me at my word or read the whole document yourselves, ya filthy animals.
Tressel seems to have a slip up and talks about a plan for the “inevitable”(Chuck and Beth are members of the outside compliance firm hired by OSU:
And the last thing that I mentioned to Chuck and Beth was that what was critical in my mind was that preparing for this inevitable, we had to come up with a way to make sure our student athletes stayed in the educational process, because witness too often that when our guys error, then they’re some consequences, then they’re outta college. And I go back to sitting in that living room and saying it’s gonna be safe. We’ll do our best to help take care of ’em. It’s gonna be paramount in my mind that they get their degree because I know if they stay here long enough to get their degree, their maturity level will have been enhanced.
And so we better be thinking through and talking through, and even planning seeds, you know, about the importance of making sure, you know, we stay through this process, through the educational process. Didn’t plant seeds by saying – calling ’em in and saying, “Hey, you’re in some serious stuff,” you know, and all that. “And, by the way, you’re gonna get some consequences. But after you get the consequences, you gotta stay in school,” you know? We didn’t say that.
But just ways to, you know, to come up with a plan, you know, for when the inevitable occurs. And interestingly enough, when the inevitable did occur, which was a lot further down the road than I thought it might, seeing how we were sitting there with June 1st
with someone supposedly going to prison, well, now we know that they were using him, you know, obviously, ’cause they – I don’t think they sent him to prison, did they? No. He pled out, I think. So they were using him for all that time to go get the next guy, or whatever.
But when the inevitable happened to us and the letter came, you know, the hallelujah letter, in my mind was – from the US Department of Justice was there was no allegation that any of these players were involved in or had knowledge of Mr. Rife’s drug trafficking. I’m like, “This is the greatest.”
Now, we got issues. And all along, you know, we’ve known that one of the things that we’ve gotta be preparing ourselves for is we gotta find away to keep these guys here. Now when the NCAA, after all the reinstatement discussions and all that, decided that the guys could play in the bowl game and then they would be sanctioned later, okay, at first, I was really disappointed.
Later, on the “inevitable”:
Chuck Smrt:So what is the inevitable?
Jim Tressel:The inevitable is are we gonna be drug traffickers? Are we gonna be drug users? You know, are we gonna be a group of folks that sell their memorabilia, you know, as cash to buy my drugs that I gotta have? Who knows? Are we gonna be a group that violated selling memorabilia, which we know we can’t do? Inevitably, something’s gonna come from this. And I’m rooting for the least.
Chuck Smrt:You said earlier, back when we talked about the first e-mail and what you did and why you did it.
Chuck Smrt:Now we’re six weeks later –
Chuck Smrt:– almost seven weeks later, and it’s gonna be resolved, it looks – there’s a resolution.
Chuck Smrt:Why not go at this point then to compliance or to Gene Smith or someone?
Jim Tressel:Well, I don’t know that it’s gonna be resolved from a drug trafficking standpoint. Just because they put one guy in jail doesn’t mean, you know, that there’s not drug trafficking going on or – I mean, kinda like I mentioned, you know, when the feds want our help and our involvement, they’ll, you know, request it.
This is something that I’m just going to let you read on your own, nothing to really introduce, this is probably the most interesting part of the interview, and requires no interpretation, other than your own. I will say that there is a RIDICULOUS amount of hand holding/help by the NCAA ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ENFORCEMENT. He sounds like Tressel’s attorney, not an investigator:
Tim Nevius(NCAA associate director of enforcement):
You were aware that violations regarding student athletes, particularly and had either occurred or likely occurred.
Tim Nevius:Is that correct?
Tim Nevius:And you did not report that those violations to anyone in athletics or compliance or the NCAA. Is that correct?
Tim Nevius:Okay. And were you aware that as a result of those violations that the student athletes would likely be ineligible then for participationduring the 2010 season?
Jim Tressel:No, I didn’t think of it like that. You know, I didn’t take that progression of thinking. I mean, I knew that inevitably they were gonna have a problem. I don’t – you know, I can’t sit here and say I thought, “Oh, these guys are ineligible.” I didn’t think it of it that way.
Tim Nevius:Okay. But you knew that the young men who were involved in the violations were going to participate in the 2010 season then.
Jim Tressel:Mm-hmm. You talking about –
Jim Tressel:Right. You’re talking about we’re sitting here at what point?
Tim Nevius:Anytime before the 2010 fall season –
Tim Nevius:– you knew they had engaged in violations –
Tim Nevius:– and that they were gonna then participate that season.
Tim Nevius:And that you had not reported any of that information to –
Tim Nevius:– the athletics or compliance.
Jim Tressel:And I knew why. But, yeah.
Tim Nevius:Okay. And I understand, and you’ve explained your reasons why. Do you understand that it is an NCAA violation not to report information concerning violations?
Tim Nevius:Okay. And then in that regard, can you provide us with any further context or explanation as to why you didn’t report that information?
Jim Tressel:Outside of what I already have? No. Outside of the gravity of what I thought the federal criminal investigation was, outside of the confidentiality request that was in front of me, you know, those – outside of that, no. I mean, just what we’ve talked about.
Tim Nevius:Okay. Did you think it was against the law at all to reveal the information that Chris had provided to you in those e-mails?
Jim Tressel:You know, I didn’t know. I didn’t know that.
Tim Nevius:Was that a thought that crossed your mind?
Jim Tressel:You know, it crossed my mind about, you know, the attorney/client privilege kind a thing as, you know, I think I had mentioned earlier in the day of like, “Is he allowed to do this?” You know? And did I know for sure why he wanted it confidential? Was it that? Was it that, you know, you could interfere with the federal, you know, investigation? Could you, you know, obstruct justice? You know? Exactly why, I did not know.
So to answer your question, did I think it was against the law? Yeah, I guess I thought it could be. I wouldn’t have said it that way. But –
Tim Nevius:Well, then is that why you did not report the information? Does
that help explain why you did not report the information?
Jim Tressel:If it helps explain the compliance – or the confidentiality part. But, no, I would say as I have been saying, I thought this was first and foremost a criminal investigation and that anything I would do to interfere with that would be against the law. You know? I did feel that way.
Tim Nevius:And did you feel that reporting the information would be interfering with the investigation?
Jim Tressel:You know, anything I would do with it, you know, I would think would have been, yeah.
Tim Nevius:So any action that you would have taken, you felt would have interfered with the –
Tim Nevius:– federal investigation?
Tim Nevius:Even if it’s just simply telling someone?
Jim Tressel:Well, now I’ll say this. If you’re talking about how did I feel then, yes. I thought anything I would – now, I would say to you as I’ve learned is if I would have gone to the person in our world that’s, you know, at that level that, you know, could speak to that federal criminal investigation part of it appropriately, that that’s what I could have done. Did I think there was anything I could have done, you know, that would have been appropriate? No.
Tim Nevius:You’re saying at the time?
Jim Tressel:At the time. Yeah.
Tim Nevius:You didn’t think there was – you thought the most appropriate thing was to not do anything.
Jim Tressel:Right. It was to let the federal investigation happen, you know, and that – again, you know, hopefully, that wouldn’t be something we were a part of.
Tim Nevius:And you felt that even though you knew that NCAA violations had occurred, and that you were gonna go forward with those student athletes participating in the 2010 season.
Jim Tressel:Yeah. Then we would – there would be, in my mind, as I mentioned it there somewhere, is that inevitably, we were gonna get as our works deserve, as we say. You know, we were gonna pay the fiddler, you know? And how – what, and how many, you know, who all? I mean, you know, I didn’t have a clue, nor did I have a clue to who and how many and all might be involved in a federal drug trafficking thing that might be, you know, huge in the federal arena. I mean, I didn’t know.
Tim Nevius:But did you anticipate that that would include – the consequences would potentially include NCAA sanctions?
Jim Tressel:Even if we were guilty of drug trafficking, you know, I’m sure we would, you know – I’m sure we would, along the way even though I suppose the guys wouldn’t be here. You know? I mean, there’d be record of that I guess is the way I’d put it. It would be, you know, somewhat irrelevant. But – and I tried not to infer that I really think these guys are drug trafficker. You know, I don’t think I’ve tried to say that.
But I also think it would be a poor defense to say, “Well, you know, I knew my guys weren’t involved in that.” (Ed: NO SHIT, SHERLOCK) And so I wasn’t gonna ignore any of the federal investigation. That’s their problem. I gotta go get my guys squared away and, you know, take care of their NCAA issues.” I just felt that there was a hierarchy. I don’t know.
Tim Nevius:I appreciate that, yeah. And I can understand what you’re thinking there. But I guess what the problem is that there was no action taken on either the NCAA issues or the federal investigation.
Tim Nevius:So despite the concern of one of those issues being more problematic than another –
Tim Nevius:– I don’t think that you – the facts are that you didn’t address
Jim Tressel:Right. And the federal ones weren’t over. So I couldn’t address. I had established in my mind, right or wrong, that there was a hierarchy, and that there was a confidentiality. And that there – in the higher part of the hierarchy, it had not been – there’d been no action. And I don’t know if all of a sudden, just ’cause – and I guess what I’m hearing you say is, okay. Now we’ve moved to September in your mind. And we’re talking about playing in the game. Okay?
That’s the way I’m feeling it, anyway. It’s not you decided to put ’em in a game. Okay? Well, to me, you know, it wasn’t tied to time. You know, just because, well, it’s the summer and there’s no games and, you know, we’ll wait on the federal, you know – the hierarchy is bigger federal now. But now when the games start, you know, the NCAA becomes bigger. You know, I did not think that way, no.
Tim Nevius:And I’m not suggesting that – I wasn’t necessarily jumping to September.
Jim Tressel:Oh, okay.
Tim Nevius:But it is important for a head coach to recognize that if student athletes had engaged in violations and they’re aware of that, that that information needs to be reported, and the student athletes have to go through the appropriate channels to be reinstated before they can participate in competition. You’re aware of that, too, right?
Jim Tressel:I am, yeah.
Tim Nevius:And you were aware of that at the time?
Jim Tressel:Yeah. I don’t know that I was thinking of it that way. But I mean, if you would have asked me the question, you know, if a guy sells memorabilia and we’re aware of it and so forth and so on, we have to deem him ineligible. You know, we’ve done that, you know, numbers of times. You know, not necessarily just memorabilia, but things come up and sometimes you have to declare ’em ineligible for a day ’cause something’s not paid or, you know, all that stuff. So I’m aware of that.
That didn’t all of a sudden come into my thinking and catapult over in my mind what was, you know, the biggest part of this situation. You know, and so then I was gonna shift gears and say, you know, “Now it’s – hey, now it’s different. We got games.” Well, I didn’t think of it that way.
Chuck Smrt:Did you – when – ’cause the first game, whether it’s August or September, before that first game, did you have a thought process, “Okay. I know in those e-mails I’ve got athletes that –” and I don’t know if the word is could be or are, but, “there are potential
eligibility issue.” Did you think about that in the fall prior to the –
Jim Tressel:In that context? No.
Chuck Smrt:And if you can, what were you thinking about their eligibility of at least those two guys –
Jim Tressel:I was thinking that when the situation is resolved, that they will certainly have penalties. And whoever else because, you know, the inference is in there where there were multiple, you know, X number of jerseys and, you know, stuff. So that, you know,
whether it be those two or those two and anyone who was involved, you know, there’s gonna be – you know, as I pointed out when I got off of my rambling thing there, is that, you know, we had to prepare for the inevitable, and there was gonna be an inevitable.
Chuck Smrt:All right. Okay.
Beth Chapman(Compliance Consultant hired by OSU):Can I ask just to – just so I’m clear, the letter from the feds that you eventually received, we you expecting that? Did you believe you’d get that at some point?
Jim Tressel:Yeah. I mean, I didn’t know anything about what form things take. I mean, the only reason I was given that is I was invited to a meeting to discuss the violations, the reinstatement process. “Here’s, you know, how this has come to fruition.” And I mean, I
didn’t know it would come, you know, just in this form. Nor did I know it would say so clearly, you know, the thing that, you know, was important.
Beth Chapman:But you thought at some point understand be notified that that investigation had concluded?
Jim Tressel:Yeah. Yeah. I mean, whether the guy went to jail or – I think in this case it says he pled. And I didn’t read it that close. But yeah, there was gonna be a moment. And, you know, I guess you could say, “Well, gosh. That could take three years, and these guys
could be long gone.” I don’t know. I guess it goes back to my – I don’t know what you’d call it – old-fashioned thinking that, you know, you’re gonna get as your works deserve. You know?
It’s gonna – you know, there’s no such thing as getting away with something. It’s not gonna happen. And now had all of these guys – whoever else – we knew how old were, okay? But let’s pretend that there was like nine other guys involved and they were all seniors, you know? And theoretically the only thing they could get sanctioned would be a bowl game. You know? I mean, that could have happened.
You know, I guess it – I guess in my – I use the phrase, as I was thinking about this whole thing is that I know there was times when I was paralyzed in the federal moment. I just was. And I guess I wasn’t concerned that that might happen. Now as I started to say before Chuck said I was rambling –
Chuck Smrt:I didn’t say rambling.
Jim Tressel:– all of a sudden, this happens, okay? They come to us. They say, “Our federal investigation is complete. Here’s a bunch of stuff. This guy claims he bought from your guys. We wanna know is it stolen or did they buy it?” We call our guys in. They say, “You know what? Yep. We got paid for it,” okay. Here’s the process.
Thing comes back saying they can play in the bowl game and they’ve got X number of games later.
And like I woulda felt a little bit better if they’d a said, “Don’t play in the bowl game,” because then I would know for sure that there’s no such thing as getting away with something. But the more I tried to think through what I had been thinking about for some time, which was there’s gonna be an inevitable day for whoever – for whatever. And we have got to find a way to make these kids be in school because they can’t run from their problems. They can’t run from their mistakes. You know? The worst thing they could do is flee and think that the world would be better over there.
And then it dawned on me, you know what? I think the NCAA did me a favor, because now I can say to those guys – it just so happened, none of ’em were seniors. And I can say to these guys,
“If you wanna play in the bowl game, ’cause the NCAA says you can, and your teammates want you to –” by the way, we went to the seniors first ’cause we always give the seniors – “Hey, if you don’t want these knuckleheads around, they won’t be around.”
“No, we want ’em, you know, blah, blah, blah.”
Went to the coaching staff. Went to Mr. Smith, you know, I’m sure he checked with the people above him. I said, “Well, here’s my opportunity to do just what we had been thinking about we need to get done to finish this job that we’ve said we were gonna
do when they were in their living room when we said, ‘Hey, you know, you have to sign this sheet of paper –’” which is not a legal document. I mean, it’s, you know – “But you have to sign this piece of paper telling me that you’ll live up to these things at the bowl game,” which is earlier curfew, go to the community outreach project, all the boloney, okay? “And that you are gonna be back for your senior year at Ohio State. And can’t get on the plane if you won’t sign.”
And so in my mind, the NCAA ended up doing me a great favor ’cause five guys signed the letter, had some moments at the bowl game where had to tell one guy I was gonna put him on the plane and send him back ’cause I had heard rumors that he was – you know, the head coach hears everything. I had heard rumors that he said, “I ain’t sticking around. I’m gonna play this game and have a great game and get drafted high. I’m outta here. I’m not sitting out five games.”
He was in, in his early curfew on New Year’s Eve. I said, “We’ll going out early. I can’t look at the NCAA in the eyes and not have any sanctions. Can’t do it. I can’t. Ohio State can’t. You know, can’t do it.” And so did I think about that there are sanctions, you know, and you have to, you know, live by the rules? Yeah.
Did I think about it preemptively before the federal issue was done? No, I did not. But I certainly did not – I guess my whole point in that ramble was that I don’t wanna give you the impression that that’s not something we don’t take serious is the fact that our guys, you know, and ourselves, have to take the consequences for the decisions we make.
Now do I wish he hadn’t a sent me an e-mail? Yeah. At the end of the day now I know how it turned out and I know our kids are gonna be in college and I know they’re gonna get a fourth year or a fifth year in some case, and I know they’re gonna be bet they’re prepared when they leave here, and I – yeah. No, it’s been painful and I know it’s been problematic and all the rest. But, you know, things happen. You gotta deal with it.
“Most of the time” #HALOL:
Chuck Smrt:Tim asked you earlier did you know it was contrary to NCAA rules not to report information. And what – and, again, what’s your answer to that?
Jim Tressel:Did I know?
Chuck Smrt:Did you know that it was contrary – do you feel like you have a responsibility –
Jim Tressel:Yeah, I definitely have a responsibility.
That’s why I do it.
Chuck Smrt:Okay. Okay.
Jim Tressel:Most of the time.
Jim Tressel:I mean –
So, that’s most of the substance that I found interesting. I’ll admit this was rushed more than a little bit, because I figured MGoFanatics like myself would want it quickly. This is not intended to be all-inclusive – I was trying to strike a balance between brevity and depth. Feel free to comment below with additions or changes or comments. Last few comments from my perspective:
- Tressel tries to play several sides. He likes to play ignorant, innocent and scared, but often sounds like an attorney in a deposition with phrases like “strike that” and repeated use of hearsay to describe why he doubted the substance of Cicero emails.
- The NCAA staff was disgustingly friendly to him. There were at least 3 or 4 times that I had to double and triple check that the NCAA staffers weren’t from OSU or Tressel’s attorney or something. To paraphrase Larry David, pretty, pretty, pretty, RIDICULOUS.
- Tressel didn’t worry about suspending his players or asking them about their involvement in terms of NCAA violations because he figured that would be moot if they were in jail? So not only was he playing ineligible players, he was playing players he at least somewhat suspected were involved in criminal activities.