Fire Jim Tressel
[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.
The best way to punish the Buckeyes is to legally require each person desiring to enter Ohio Stadium to sing "The Victors" before they can enter.
are whining, "but he couldn't disclose it because it was confidential." What a load of shit. First off, confidentially does not even get mentioned until the 2nd letter. Furthermore, simply saying something is "confidential" doesn't fucking make it so. If I say, "Hey, Steve is breaking into your house right now, but this info is confidential," that doesn't in any way stop you from telling other people (e.g. the police).
Legally binding confidentially comes from either statute/common law, or from contractual agreement. At best(for the dumbshit Buckeye argument) the information was confidential in virtue of being protected by attorney client privilege, and it wasn't clear to me whether the attorney e-mailing Tressel was actually in an attorney-client relationship with the part with the info (this would mean that the attorney is in serious trouble with the Ohio Bar). This would be confidentially that comes from statute. If so, the requirement of confidentially does not magically extend to Tressel, who neither an agent of the attorney nor an agent of the client.
The next best interpretation for Brutus would be that the statement in the 2nd letter that the info was confidential was an implicit offer of entering a non-disclosure agreement that Tressel accepted by responding and continuing to receive the info. This is an example of confidentially coming from contract. It's like someone saying "I'll only tell you if you promise to keep it secret" and then you agree. Let's ignore whether we could properly consider this a contractual argeement. Even if it was a valid contract, Tressel could not properly accept it because doing so violates his contract with the university. You cannot agree to tell the university about any violations and then agree with another party to keep info about violations secret. Either the contract with the university was violated the moment he agreed to keep the info confidential or this implied confidentially agreement was void to begin with.
So this whole confidentially thing is just pure bullshit. God I hope OSU burns for this.
I think you are assuming that the second letter that you see is the second letter Tressel got. I don't think the email we were shown are all the emails. I think he did delete some or there were some to another account or something. We don't have the whole picture.
But yeah, saying confidentiality is the reason he didn't speak up is BS. I think Tressel probably talked to a lawyer, and maybe that lawyer told him, "you don't have to say anything," but no lawyer (not any good ones) would tell him, "if you do say something, say something that isn't true." Which is what he did when he signed on Sept release.
I keep seeing Buckeye fans refer to mysterious "other information" that must exist somewhere that, if not exonerates, at least explains Coach Tressel's decision to keep the two (or three or four or five) April e-mails to himself. But that information, or message, or outside pressure simply could not exist. Here's why:
Circumstances under which the FBI can prevent you from speaking to a lawyer: 0.
Circumstances under which any law enforcement agency can prevent you from speaking to a lawyer: 0*.
Circumstances under which anyone in the United States can prevent you from speaking to a lawyer: 0.
There is no possible hypothetical situation - none, zero, zip, zilch, nada - where Coach Tressel would have been compelled to not seek the advice of the OSU general counsel on April 2nd in this case. None. There is no possible excuse for not passing that e-mail on to some sort of OSU-affiliated lawyer. Talking to a lawyer does not ever, under any circumstances, constitute "interfering with a federal investigation." "Interfering with a federal investigation" would be... I don't know, putting those two players on a private plane to Venezuela and getting a mafia crew to come in and clean out their apartments on April 3rd. But that's pretty far afield from forwarding that April 2nd e-mail to the OSU general counsel's office and saying, "It looks like we have a situation here."
If he did that, if he actually did forward those e-mails to anyone in the OSU general counsel's office, or even the compliance office and THEY advised him to do nothing... then that's a whole different, and much more serious story.
(* - I suppose if you are serving a long-term sentence in a federal or state penitentiary then prison officials can limit or ration your access to a lawyer. But they can't punish you for meeting with one, nor would it ever be illegal or unethical to meet with one.)
For those calling for this death penalty stuff, consider this...OSU turned this story into the NCAA in January. If they were really crooked they would have buried it. If the NCAA slams 'em with death penalty, what motivation do schools have to come clean?
you are miissing the point here ....
They LIED about what they reported .... or the other explanation is that the NCAA voluntarily choose to ignore this. c'mon 347 reported violations over 10 years .... this is normal way TSIO transacts business.
Go Blue !
Tressel's last statement in the email chain should not be overlooked. He wrote, "I would like to hold some collateral, if you know what I mean." This was in the context of their rings arriving. So he knew the two players were screwing up, and his response was not to report them or suspend them, rather, he suggested he would hold back their rings so they couldn't sell those, too! Yeah, JT, you are a real class act. What a hypocrit.
As much as I would like to see OSU get hammered, I don't have much faith in the NCAA which is responding erratically to recent allegations at different institutions. I would not be at all surprised if they deem OSU's punishment as fitting to the crime just as they bought in to Cam Newton's claim that he didn't know about the $180,000.
I've said this more than once but this situation and Cam Newton are nothing alike. The evidence is against OSU is out for everyone to see. As guilty as Auburn appears to be, no one has proven that they ever offered Newton or anyone money. No one has proven that Cam Newton himself requested money. It may seem obvious but there's no evidence that would hold up in a court of law. There is in Tressel's case.
The Winner's Manual to the Game of Life says to do in these situations.
Woody would slap the shit out of Tressel for this
1. Suspend ineligible players and take away twice as many scholarships, 10, as ineligible players for two years.
2. Vacate all wins in which ineligible players participated.
3. Suspend OSU from post season play for 2 years since they used ineligible players in last season's bowl game.
is...what do all those great Ohio high school seniors think right about now??? "Wow! I'm not going there!"
Michigan just needs to offer every single Ohio HS senior it can.
Beating OSU this year (hopefully) will sadly be tainted by all this crap going on. I was really looking forward to good 'ole Wolverine beatdown of the Buckeyes at the Big House. All this stuff going on just gives mindless Buckeye fans an excuse why, if we beat them this year.
Whatever I will still take the win. tSIO fans will make excuses no matter what happens.
How could they use this as an excuse? "we got caught cheating, so your victory over us is less impressive than our victory over you with ineligible players"