Which is one reason I don't mind living in Cincinnati.
things go poorly
[Ed: I said on WTKA this morning that I didn't think this should cost Tressel his job, but I changed my mind upon reading the Hayes piece that contained details of exactly what Tressel did in the months between April and now.]
So I was pretty pissed yesterday. It was one of those moods that's obscure until suddenly it isn't, and the moment of clarity came when one of the Eleven Warriors guy pinged me on IM, suggesting that I must be happy today. I responded that I'd be happy if Ohio State's prospects for the near future had actually been affected… and there it was.
Jim Tressel was dishonest and his team benefited to the tune of a Big Ten co-championship and a BCS bowl victory; Ohio State's response to this was to suspend him for games against Akron and Equivalent. Ask Georgia fans who watched their team stumble to 1-3 start absent the services of AJ Green how that feels:
As a partisan, my immediate reaction to the complete bullshit which emanated from last night’s Ohio State presser was a question: what was Jim Tressel’s first thought upon hearing the news that A. J. Green had been suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season? “Suckers“? “There but for the grace of God go I”?
I'm a partisan too but a couple months ago I went on the Bucknuts podcast and told them I though Tressel was a top five coach who had created a problem I never thought I'd have as a Michigan blogger: lack of material. I bought the Senator act wholly. My biggest complaint was that he was boring beyond belief.
I've now reverted to default partisan conspiracy-mongering and hatred. It's hard not to when the mea culpa press conference features Tressel lying his ass off about emails now in the public domain, forcing out stumbling answers that are such obvious crap that not even the state of Ohio thinks Tressel got what was coming to him:
Even the deepest red section of the country looked at OSU playing see-no-evil to a BCS bowl victory and said "uh-oh." In no way is OSU's response proportional to the crime. That's what pisses me off. Michigan eventually proposed penalties that were reasonable given precedence and were accepted essentially as-is by the NCAA. (The committee added a third year of probation, as they are wont to do.) Ohio State proposed functionally nothing for a far worse offense. Twelve coaches have violated the NCAA bylaw Tressel did in April, and eleven were fired.
What's more, they spent the press conference announcing their gentle wrist massage lying. Tressel invented a fiction about how he couldn't look into the matter because of "confidentiality" that absolutely would not prevent him from interviewing the accused or finding out whose frickin' names were on the pawned memorabilia and then suspending them for the proverbial violation of team rules. This would not have exposed anyone to lethal payback from ruthless drug dealers or whatever, not that anyone was actually in danger.
Ohio State's trying to pull a fast one, and the NCAA should hammer them. A show-cause for Tressel is just as viable as the one widely speculated to be heading down the pike at Bruce Pearl. Tressel's lies were repeated. OSU's official letter to the NCAA lays it out. As summarized by Matt Hayes:
• Tressel signed a document on Sept. 13, 2010 that said he was not aware of NCAA violations.
• He failed to tell school officials on or around Dec. 9, 2010 about emails he received in April explaining players’ involvement in selling memorabilia.
• He failed to tell school officials about the emails — or his knowledge of players selling memorabilia — when specifically asked on Dec. 16, 2010. He also misled school officials that day when stating he “did not recall from whom he received the tip,” and that he “did not know that any items had been seized.” …
Another significant — and potentially more damning — issue: In a Feb. 8, 2011 interview, Tressel admitted it was “inevitable” that players named in the email had committed NCAA violations and would be ruled ineligible. In other words, Tressel knew the players were ineligible and played them anyway.
Whether it's a lie of omission or commission it's a lie, and Tressel's had a much larger effect on his team than Pearl lying about whether or not Aaron Craft was at his house. It is impossible to believe he did not remember the repeated correspondence from this lawyer. He probably sent it up the chain, making this a department-wide decision, but we have no proof of that. We do have proof that Tressel had at least four opportunities to come clean, starting with the day he got the first credible email from that lawyer, and failed to take any of them. As a result Ohio State won a Big Ten title.
With serious benefits should come serious repercussions; Ohio State's incredibly weak self-sanctions are an insult to the NCAA. If the association doesn't want to make themselves a joke they will come down hard on OSU with a thorough investigation stretching back to 2001 with the potential for vacating multiple years and a show-cause penalty that should make it impossible for OSU to continue employing Tressel as their head coach. That's a punishment that fits a very serious crime in the eyes of the NCAA—eleven of twelve fired before the NCAA had a chance.
The NCAA should use this and the Pearl case as a warning.
Which is one reason I don't mind living in Cincinnati.
The M flag flies proudly in the front yard year round here at my house, in the town that has hosted the Michigan Marching Band most of the last 10 years for The Game. And, as my alma mater, div. III North Park University, says in one of their songs, "Don't send my boy to OSU, the dying mother said. Don't make my boy a buckeye, I'd rather see him dead."
now have a legitimate reason to hate JT and OSU.............
We need some law folks to take this up pro-bono for the NCAA.
Hell, make up evidence if you have to!
Surely someone could find pictures of Tressel punching dolphins or kicking nuns that would suggest nefariousness, no?
Maybe if you play his book on tape backwards there are satanic messages?
We need to unite the brainpower of this blog now to get MGoMedieval on their asses.
Al Capone was ultimately busted for Tax Evasion but that didn't take away from the brutality of his other crimes.
And for all the O-$tate fans out there and posting on message boards, still experiencing complete denial or throwing out the "happens everywhere" excuse or the ... "it's only kids getting tattoos, what's the big deal?" I think they have a big surprise coming.
From YSU to Lil' Mo-Mo to T Smith to TP and his three "loaner cars" I think the NCAA is on to a solid thread now and will begin to pull.
The depth and breadth of corruption in Columbus will be shocking when more comes out and though Tressel may never officially be "fired" I think the chances of Urban Meyer (35+ arrested at UF under his tenure) following him become slimmer and slimmer.
After USC, Cam Newton, Oregon and now O$U ... it may just be the case that O$U is made an example.
One can certainly hope anyways. I mean it's not like Ed Martin's money made C-Webb dunk any harder or Jalen Rose dribble any better ... or that when the F-5 punked Jimmy Jackson and the Bucknuts in the tournament, that the game now didn't happen and OSU went on to win a title.
Cheating is cheating and there's been a lot of cheating in Columbus over the years. I am betting the situation gets much worse for O$U. Just my two-cents.
Tressel should have just flat out said "Shit! I screwed up, I did this, but I'm sorry." No, he has to go down with his sinking ship, though.
Yeah but he's such a man of integrity ... a "God-fearing man" who loves his country, loves his military and loves his Bucks.
It must have been a personal hell for him to keep quiet about these known violations of NCAA law, being such a man of integrity and being so God-fearing and straight forward.
I mean, come on ... the guy makes a sweater vest seem boring!
We can dream, can't we? Boy, it would sure feel good to see the NCAA slam the Buckeyes.
The NCAA needs to get some Tiger Blood, and fast!
Damn! Those lions so bad ass they be straight-up eatin' a goddamned dimetrodon!
*Appendix: Picture of a dimetrodon:
I thought the same thing.
OSU should get the hammer, and that should include foreiture of games. Not vacating -- forfeits. The record should show that OSU lost every game in the 2010, and everyone else's record should show that they won. Oh and thirteen. Michigan wins The Game, Purdue has a two game winning streak, and Arkansas gets the Sugar Bowl trophy. Vacating is a gutless, worthless punishment. If I were an OSU fan, I'd be delighted and relieved if the punishment was limited to Tressel getting suspended for one year and the 2010 season getting "vacated".
I know that's the current focus, but it's not unheard of for the NCAA to go back farther and wipe things out if it turns out that the stain goes back farther.
I know, now I'm way off the rails, and a lot of people don't care what happens to seasons that have already completed, and there's still that statute-of-limitations whatever that seems like it's a legal thing rather than a we-make-the-rules thing, but if the NCAA decided that OSU had to forfeit all games under Tressel involving ineligible players ...
I'm pretty much in agreement.
At the very least, all of Pryor's games are still withing the statute of limitations.
The NCAA has to annihilate Pearl and Tressel. They have no subpoena power, so they have to rely on getting information from the schools and the coaches and players, be it self-reporting or in an investigation after they receive credible info that a violation has occurred, or sometimes on investigative reporting done by someone else (Yahoo!). To that end, they simply have to crush anyone who lies to their face about something and is proven to have lied. If coaches and players can lie to the NCAA or just not bother to report things they know are violations (and it is clear Tressel knew), then the NCAA will lose much of its ability to enforce its rules, and we may as well just go wild west (no) rules at that point (we call it the SEC har har har).
Also, it takes a special kind of balls/stupidity to lie about something more than once, especially at the press conference, when (a) you yourself know there is a paper trail that contradicts what you are saying and (b) you know that said paper trail will go public because you are at a public institution subject to FOIA. I mean, good god, does Tressel actually believe the shit he is saying, even when he knows the documents don't back him up?
Listen. He broke the rules. Did he do gain an advantage on the field? No. Did he do it to cover up his own breaking of the rules (like Bruce Pearl)? No. Should he get punished more than the fine, rules seminar, and 2 game suspension? Yes. Will he? Probably. Fired? No. I mean, he didn't punch a player or anything. Come on.
I'm gonna continue to stick up for him, because I know him better than you all do. Your current coach has stuck up for him. Your old coach has stuck up for him. But I know you all want to see him gone. I can understand that.
Replacements, just for the sake of discussion, from my perspective:
Urban Meyer has claimed that OSU would be his dream job. I think at the minimum, this scandal will make Tressel very happy to step aside at the end of his current contract in 2014. At that time, I wouldn't be surprised to see Urban throw his hat in the ring, and I'd be happy to have his hat in the ring.
Chris Speilman, beloved by Ohioians and Michiganders a like, could be a possibility.
More realistically, Luke Fickell, who is the main recruiter for us right now. He's a great defensive coach, and would transition well into the head job IMO.
was allowing players who'd received improper benefits to play the entire 2010 season.
"He broke the rules. Did he do gain an advantage on the field? No."
I wish I could put you on ignore after the line above. How did he not gain an advantage on the field by playing ineligable players?
How did he not gain an advantage on the field. The rule he broke was related to the eligibility of several star players. If he doesn't break the rule, he loses Pryor, et al for 4 games to start the season. With how bad your QB situation was behind Pryor last year, how can you, with a straight face, say Tressel didn't gain an advantage on the field by breaking the rules?
Because, those players are innocent until proven guilty. He gets to play them until the NCAA, Big Ten or otherwise tells him he can't. It's why Cam Newton got to play this whole season. You can't punish them until they are in trouble, not even when you think they will inevitably be in trouble some time in the future. That time is not now.
"He gets to play them until the NCAA, Big Ten or otherwise tells him he can't."
I don't know if I should even bother pointing this out, but this is a lie. NCAA Bylaws require a school to suspend a player if it has any knowledge that he is ineligible. The school must suspend the player and then appeal to the NCAA for reinstatement (as Auburn did in the Cam Newton case that you brought up).
From the NCAA Website (emphasis added):
"It [the reinstatement process] always begins with the institution acknowledging that a rule has been violated. The school, not the NCAA, declares the student ineligible after citing a specific bylaw that has been violated. Bylaw 14.11 states that once an institution knows that a violation exists, school officials are obligated to report it. It is an obligation of membership.
Once the school does that, officials have to decide whether to seek reinstatement. In some instances a school will not seek reinstatement because the student-athlete did something against the advice from the institution. In the event that a school wants to seek reinstatement, officials submit the circumstances of the case and any mitigation to the NCAA reinstatement staff explaining why the violation occurred and addressing the student’s culpability. The staff then makes a decision, which can be appealed to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, composed of representatives from NCAA colleges, universities and conference offices."
Well that all turns on the knowledge element. When did Tressel "know" (under this rule) that the players had violated a rule. When someone finds their stuff at some drug dealers place, does that mean he knows how it got there? Autographs obviously paint a different picture than their awards, jerseys, etc., but how did those things get into the drug dealer's house. Did someone steal them? Did the players give those things away and someone sold them to the dealer? I mean, Tressel's not an idiot. But the standard for that rule is knowing, specific intent. That level of mens rea is hard to pin on Tressel, even after looking at those emails, as far as when he knew the players would be ineligible.
He--or the University--knew that the players were ineligible on December 20, 2010. That is the day that Ohio State University (not the NCAA and not the Big Ten--Ohio State University) suspended Jordan Whiting, Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, Devier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas. The question is did the University learn something during the weekend of December 18-19 or the morning of December 20? Or did they have this knowledge before then?
Sticking your head in the sand is not a defense for not suspending the players--if the University knew that there was a possibility that they were ineligible, they were required to act on that knowledge and investigate the situation.
The NCAA and Big Ten couldn't tell him they were ineligible. He was covering up the fact that they had done things that made them ineligible.
And even accepting a mountain of other bullshit, there's no denying that jt did not come forward with this info. during the Tat5 suspension saga in DEC. He lied to the NCAA and TSIO. He would never have brought this forward if the legal dept. hadn't inadvertantly found it.
The violation wasn't that big of a deal. It's the coverup that will get him. He needed to report the possible violation immediately per NCAA bylaws.
Whatever it is that you're on, please share the wealth.
OK, but if it turns out you are wrong then retroactively, you used ineligible players and you forfeit all of those wins and face sanctions.
Plus your position on not gaining a competitive advantage on the field would be the same if the players had all signed with (or were alleged to have received benefits from) agents (see UNC). UNC sat them out until their eligibility had been determined. OSU did not. Again, that means that OSU would forfeit any game in which an ineligible player competed, plus additional penalties. That's the minimum.
the burden of proof is not on the ncaa in order to suspend players
nor is the standard beyond a reasonable doubt, both are a bunch lower.
its a privlege for college athletes to compete, not a right as you seem to think.
"Did he do gain an advantage on the field? No.'
An unrestricted payola machine makes it a lot easier to attract some star recruits. So yeah, he did gain an advantage on the field. He has had a big unfair advantage on the field since his days at Youngstown State. This time, after years of denial, he is finally caught red-handed.
You had better pray that the NCAA doens't uncover any paperwork concerning Terrelle Pryor's Vehical of the Month Club. Consider yourselves fortunate if the only punishment here is vacating a season's worth of wins and Tressel getting fired.
At the time of the emails, it does not make him know for sure that they are getting paid. He certainly didn't go recruiting people saying, "Listen, I can't pay ya, but I'll look the other way if someone else does," either. That's not what's going on here. He kept his mouth shut, most likely because he thought it could get them shot. That's just my opinion on the matter, pure conjecture. Tressel doesn't even run other programs through the mud to recruit kids. He isn't a dirty recruiter. Don't even try to start to call him one.
I understand that he's the head coach and therefore the teams mistakes are his mistakes. It was a mistake for players to get money, discounts, or any benefit from selling jerseys, autographs, awards, etc. But Tressel did not let that behavior continue. He punished those kids. He stopped them from breaking the rules that he knew the had broken. Just because he didn't tell the right people in the right amount of time, but he did not participate, encourage, or foster said breaking of the rules.
Are you serious? You can't think of any other reason that he didn't tell anyone? Like, say, having those players ruled ineligible?
He punished them? How? Do you have documentation of this? Tressel did not let that behavior continue? I don't buy that for a second. You've had former players come out and saying they've been getting benefits since 2001. But I'm sure Tressel stopped it before the 2010 season....
On top of all of this, you have Terrele Pryor getting pulled over in multiple vehicles, none of which belong to him. "Test driving" them for 100s of miles... You can't be seriously trying to say OSU runs a clean program.
Tressel didn't tell the right people in the right amount of time, because he was never planning on telling them. He signed documents that were clearly conflicting with what he knew. Maybe he didn't participate, but letting this kind of stuff go unpunished IS encouraging it. You need to take a step back and look objectively at what's going on, and you'll find that it isn't the pretty little alternate reality that you describe.
He was a good man when Bo died and I was extremely grateful for the respect he displayed during that time. And most of us don't want to see OSU go down for this, or at least I dont. I would strongly prefer to beat OSU, with Tressel at their absolute best every year. I actively root for you guys to go undefeated before playing UM so that we can rip something special away from you at the end of November. The rivalry is at its best when both schools are excellent.
That being said, this violation is particularly egregious because he let athletes play that he knew were ineligible. He could have suspended them for violations of team rules or some other similar subterfuge but he didn't. He played them the whole season with no remorse and then even had the stones to request they play in the bowl game and continued to lie about having any knowledge that they were ineligible. There is no way to justify, at the very least, suspending the players that he KNEW were ineligible, even if he had to keep the details of WHY they were ineligible secret to protect them. "Violation of team rules" is around for a reason.
You are asking everyone to believe that Tressel did this for the best interest of his players in the most circuitous and non-sensical way possible. Your version is possible, but no sane person would go about accomplishing Tressel's supposed aims in the manner he acted in the past 9 months. The only thing I could possibly believe is that he turned the emails in and that your administration told him to do what he did and they now want him to cover up for them. That is unlikely, but at least in the realm of sanity/possibility. What you're proposing occurred is neither probable nor rational. Not reporting a violation of the rules is, per se, encouraging further violation of the rules, not to mention not punishing it for over a year (will be 2011 season before they will be suspended).
For the record, Maurice Clarett claimed that Tressel was an active participant in the payola machine, directing him to boosters who would stuff his pockets full of cash. Nobody has ever disproven what he said. He was simply dismissed as being a crazy pathological liar. Doesn't look that way as much anymore, does it?
But it doesn't matter. "Lack of institutional control" doesn't require conspiracy on the part of the coach. Steve Fisher never had proof that Chris Webber was taking cash from Ed Martin, and Pete Carroll didn't have proof that Reggie Bush was on the take. But that didn't stop the NCAA from lowering the boom on those programs. That's because it's the coach's responsibility to make sure that his players comply with the rules and create an atmosphere of compliance. Jim Tressel was made aware of these violations months before they became public and took no action. Then he lied to the NCAA about it. Then he lied again in December when it became public. It's a pattern of behavior that he has had going back to his Youngstown State days when he "didn't know" that his star QB was getting cash. If you ask me, "lack of institutional control' is giving Tressel the benefit of the doubt.
This will be hard for you to accept, but your program has been dirty for the past ten years. Rotten to the core. It took me a long time to accept that the Fab Five era was a fraud and that Steve Fisher's recruiting genius was largely the result of ignoring Ed Martin and his payola machine.
BucksfanXC: That's the bias talking. Tresell's in the wrong and everyone but biased supporters can see it.
He didn't even try to find out, in your story. The email doesn't make the players guilty, no. But in APRIL it's his job to go to the players and find out if they did it. If they did, suspend them THEN. If they ALL convincingly lie, and NO ONE with the team or around it can contradict it (because college athletes keep secrets better than the CIA), then when you DO find out they were lying to you, they're done. Not suspended. Out of school. You just bald faced lied to my face about committing major violations. You may play college football again, but it won't be at Ohio State.
It's not the world's job to prove something is true. It's his job to know what's going on in his program. And then not lie about it.
"Listen. He broke the rules. Did he do gain an advantage on the field? No. Did he do it to cover up his own breaking of the rules (like Bruce Pearl)? No."
Actually, the answer is yes to both. He played ineligible stars to make a title run and he covered up breaking the rules by signing his annual statement saying that he wasn't aware of any players being ineligible.
I think you're naive about Meyer coming back--or at least coming back with the same level of success. He quit one of the best jobs in America because his drive was gone.
Meyer coming back at half drive is still enticing to me. Plus, I think he had to quit because he couldn't go all or nothing. Not because he didn't have the drive, but because the drive was going to kill him. I don't wish for him to come to OSU to coach himself to death, but I hope that he can take a step back for a few years here and come back when he can coach at non-life-threatening levels of awesomeness.
Florida might be one of the 2-3 most talented teams out there, and look at what a coach at half-speed got them. I think he'll analyze and consult forever, but that's just me.
If 'jt' were forced to vacate.. osu would also be nailed with huge infractions and pentalties. why would Meyer take a job with huge infractions?
Yeah, he broke the rules because he was scared for the sake of his players. Spare me.
You need to open your eyes. Tressel is in some deep shit anyway you want to look at it. He openly lied to tSIO and the NCAA. He may not get fired, but I'm sure his 2 game suspension and $250,000 fine will not be the end of it.
Lying to keep Pryor eligible is a competitive advantage. Had he been suspended you'd have been looking at 7-5.
I was at that game. Behind Pryor was bleak last year. Less bleak this year. I'll give you that. I guess I just refuse to believe Tressel cares more about the on the field success than he does about the off the field success. Maybe that's because I'm a biased OSU homer. Maybe that's because I know Jim Tressel better than you do. I don't know.
I applaud your participation in hostile territory, but most rational discussions on a debated point don't begin with "I just refuse to believe" X. If you refuse to believe something in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, you're just in denial.
I know a lot of people are calling Tressel's character into question (or just flat out calling him a variety of terrible things), and personally I don't necessarily agree with that. He's clearly done a lot of good outside the program and I buy that he's actually a good guy.
But that doesn't change the fact that there's been massive amounts of smoke around the program for years, and that OSU has gotten by (in my opinion) largely on the reputation of Tressel. Now there's irrefutable proof that the guy hid violations of star players and lied multiple times about it. Not only is the current situation bad, but I think it calls into question a lot about the program's last decade.
All this doesn't make Tressel a bad person outside of football, but it clearly raises huge questions about his ethics (or at least his willingness to work within the rules) regarding running a big-time football program.
Clear something up, how well do you really know Tressel? Are you friends with him? If he saw you on the street would he greet you by name? If the answer to either of those questions are "yes," then you should be having a frank conversation with your friend on how he could be that stupid instead of speculating on a random message board. If the answer to either question is "no," then you don't actually know him any better than we do. Fans always like to think they know the players and coaches that they follow religiously, but it just isn't true. What we know is the public image they project.
An example from my life, is that I thought I "knew" Michael Jordan from following his career religiously, seeing all his videos chronicling his career as a kid, etc. But if I really knew Michael Jordan, I wouldn't have been so surprised at his Hall of Fame speech that showed he was just a vindictive asshole in person.
I may be wrong, you may actually be close to Tressel, but my guess is just that you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, you want to buy into his reasoning, you want to think that his violation didn't benefit the team last year, you want to ingore the possibility that Tressel has looked the other way for years, not because you know him, but because the image of him that you have known for years would be utterly destroyed.