The Warden's Exit
latter via @lukezim
Well, that was anticlimactic. One day you're all lawyerin' up with Gene Marsh and the next you're calling up Rich Rodriguez for that sweet CBS College Sports hookup. That's life as a warden: one day the cop cars roll up and there's just one way out.
More anticlimactic yet was Waiting For Dohrmann, the end result of which was one (anonymous) awesome story about Tressel rigging a camp raffle and a few more violation-type things that may or may not end up part of a very long document issued by the NCAA. The Dispatch story about Terrelle Pryor's eternal test drive seems more damaging at the moment. That came with strong rumors that Pryor is done at Ohio State as the result of an honest-to-God investigation; the Dohrmann piece is just talking to a couple of unreliable-seeming dudes who may go Ray Small on us once it becomes clear to them that they're going to have to follow Herbstreit out of town. As far as camel-incapacitating things go this was not the anvil promised by Tressel's sudden resignation. It was barely a straw.
So either there's more coming or Ohio State knows that the cats being loosed willy-nilly all over yonder and back can be sourced better than SI can put together on short notice. That's not a huge leap. At this point we have statements from six OSU athletes—Robert Rose (new in the SI article), Ray Small, Antonio Pittman, Maurice Clarett, Mark Titus, Marco Cooper—that hookups on everything from tats to cars were widespread dating back to 2002. Pryor's had at least a half-dozen loaner cars and drove up to a team meeting yesterday in this baby:
Note the temporary tag on the back. Terrelle Pryor is the biggest dodged bullet in the history of the concept.
The picture painted by sketch tattoo artist, discontented former players, random humor-writing walk-ons, and, you know, evidence collected by a federal investigation and a billion public records requests makes—wait. We've done this already. I've used the phrase "beggars belief," and since then we've had the Titus thing and the Small thing and the Pryor car thing expanded and the car guy says he's talked to OSU compliance more than 50 times and, yes, Dohrmann talked to a couple of sketch guys who indicted another three dozen or so Buckeyes. We passed the point where it was obvious Ohio State had come to define "lack of institutional control" about a month ago.
All the steady trickle of information that's come out since has done is confirm what Michigan fans knew in the deepest, most deranged bits of their conspiratorial hearts. All that stuff that the goofiest winged-helmet-baseball-cap wearing fanboi said was the rotten core of the Buckeye empire in various all-caps posts on your favorite message board is… like… true. Close enough, anyway. If it's not yet, accurate-to-date Buckeye insider types rumble about "much more."
But Ohio State's date with the NCAA is months away, possibly longer as they attempt to compile the ever-expanding pile of doom into a coherent narrative. Tressel's done now.
And what is he? Last summer I went on the Bucknuts podcast and grudgingly admitted Tressel was top five coach who had halted the parade of embarrassments OSU suffered under Cooper (Ken-yon Rambo's 0.0 GPA, losses to Michigan, etc). I'd been taken in like everyone other than the tinfoil hat wearers of the internet. He's not that.
He's not a paragon of virtue, either. The most annoying meme in the aftermath is about how Jim Tressel is a saintly man who made a "mistake" and the world is worse off now that he's not a football coach and will not be helping young men from rough and tumble backgrounds meet eligible young boosters:
Jim Tressel’s departure at Ohio State is a sad loss of a man with character. College athletics needs more men like Tressel among its ranks. Sadly, the atmosphere is not conducive for good men lasting too long.
With some notable exceptions, Ohio State fans on the internet have turned into Tammy Faye Baker.
click for slightly big
Tressel did not make "a" "mistake". He has spent the last 15 years of his life cultivating a studied ignorance of obvious NCAA violations. He may be a nice, Christ-fearing dude—not like anyone has flogged the Bible to shield himself from criticism—but he can still do that as a civilian. The fact that he texts psalms to former quarterbacks ("Get yours"—Tressel 3:16*) doesn't mean a series of choices spanning more than a decade is a mistake. He's not even trying to play by the rules everyone else signed up for.
So spare us the hymnal, cooler-poopers. Jim Tressel
is was a football coach, not a social worker. As he did this he turned boys into men like every football coach does. This just makes him a football coach. He's also a hypocrite and liar who lived up to the "Senator" nickname in the end, his moral rectitude just a cover.
He got what was coming in the end, and now a comically inept Ohio State administration—TWO GAMES!—is going to get theirs. We have not seen the last of the gun in the desk drawer in Columbus.
The Importance Of The Stuff In The Dohrmann Article
While you'd have to be a Vest true believer to believe the accusations leveled in it are false, without a federal trail of evidence the track record of such things actually resulting in boot to the face is not great.
To me the most important bit about the SI article is the accusation about Pryor—love you, big guy xoxo—raiding the equipment closet for rad epic loot. That's something trackable. Not tracking it: failing to monitor. Tracking it and not being like "hey, Pryor, why do you need sixteen sets of shoulder pads": some other variety of major violation. Complicit equipment managers are a relatively common source of major violations.
Meanwhile, if the NCAA can't get Rose or Small or someone on the record it won't matter how obvious it is the entire Ohio State starting lineup should be suspended since there's no evidence other than "jeez, duh."
A Strong Contender For Animated GIF Of Forever
Via "The Monarch."
Why Tressel had to go, and why it was obvious, in the words of Mike Riley:
"Jim's deal is a lesson," Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said last month. "Anything that comes up, you've just got to give it to compliance right now. In our world today, you think it's not going to be found out eventually?"
Our world today, indeed. Ohio State discovered Tressel's knowledge of the tattoo parlor case in January only by digging up e-mail correspondence from April 2010.
"I tell our players all the time," Riley said. "As soon as you start going down the wrong track and you start doing something wrong, the clock starts ticking until the day you get caught, because it's going to happen."
If he wasn't fired the above would not be true and the entire rickety structure of NCAA compliance—built on self-reporting—would collapse. Ohio State suspending Tressel for two games was an outrageous joke that shows you the stark difference between the way Smith and Gee handled this and how adults would have. They've botched this from the start and will reap the whirlwind for their efforts.
BONUS: Wetzel on the react to the original press conference:
The moment called for solemn acknowledgement of a mistake and the promise to the university that the truth would be gathered. Instead it was a pseudo pep rally. My phone was flooded with calls and texts from administrators at other schools and conferences who couldn’t believe what they’d just witnessed.
Meanwhile, you can't throw a rock without hitting a Buckeye player excommunicating another Buckeye player for outing the program shenanigans. Tyler Moeller is the latest, this time taking shots at Mark Titus for stating the obvious. Can't wait to see the reaction to Robert Rose now. How many ex-Buckeyes have to state that many in the program are on the take before the others give up the ghost?
And, God, Pryor… I maintain an almost total ban on badmouthing specific kids as bad people but it's impossible to talk about Ohio State football without remarking on the fact that Pryor is a sociopath and this was obvious from the start:
Pryor showed that he felt entitled when he met questions from those who attended his collegiate announcement by scoffing, “Whether I was a bad kid or not, you‘re all still here.”
Not even the Touch of Tressel can redeem him. The car! He shows up anywhere in that car! He's not even a well-written villain—it's like he's a foil for Jackie Chan. Twitter search his handle for schadenfreude? Twitter search his handle for schadenfreude.
Former players react as in an ambivalent fashion. Wojo says this opens the door for Michigan, which yeah. It's almost reassuring that you can rely on David Mayo to come up with the stupidest possible take. Mets Maize has a cat + Keanu Reeves picture via serendipitous Google Image Search. Also words. Genuinely Sarcastic has the full dossier of Tressel's funny business, and he posted it Friday(!). BWS was hoping for more.
*[I know this is not a psalm. TIA.]
This makes the feeling I had after the 2006 game even worse now. I feel so bad for our guys. If they don't vacate wins I will be extremely disappointed.
Do you really think any of the players on the Michigan team are sitting at home saying I hope they vacate those wins? Vacating wins means absolutly nothing.
as of this moment, the three best tressel players - troy smith, pryor, and clarett - ALL have gigantic asterisks attached to their accomplishments. that means something.
it doesn't make the losses to those guys any less frustrating or meaningful. it does mean that we didn't compete on a level playing field.
Tressel will go down in history with a 9-1 career record against Michigan. That shouldn't sit well with anyone given that the players he had out there were being paid to play.
Vacating wins means that in the history of college football and the rivalry these years meant nothing as well they shouldn't. Miami should feel cheated as well.
based on the way that game ended, miami should have felt cheated anyway.
I think if I was one of the guys in '06 who had their perfect season ruined by a bunch of a-holes from Columbus the day after Bo died, and then found out the whole time said assholes were flagrantly violating NCAA rules to live large while the Michigan team was scraping to get by like most college kids, I would be pretty happy to see any kind of formal censure leveled against them.
Not to be a total devil's advocate, but major college football has "bad guys" on both sides of the field. I'm scared to think what would happen if Pryor had come to UM because the culture here is different, but my sense is that there are skeletons in every closet. OSU's may be bigger and more voluminous than most, but let's not make this a morality/"our guys are good, your guys are bad" argument about college football teams.
That's what I liked about Wetzel's column--he said as much.
It's not so much that the violations happened. Hell, every program is at risk, you can't control all the jackhole boosters who circle around your program and your kids. Of course you can try (and you damn well should) but every program is vulnerable because those wankers care more about winning and building connections to star players than they do about rules.
What matters are the values you keep trying to hammer home to your players, and how you react when a player makes a mistake. That's where OSU deserves condemnation, because they effed up the second thing and it's starting to look like Tressel may have effed up the first thing too.
A vacated win is not a forfeit. It would not change our season record. We still would have to count the game as a loss.
I am well aware. I would like it not to count as a win for them against us or anybody else for that matter. What a fucking sham it has all been for the last decade. That's sad.
Until a thorough investigation proves otherwise, Tressel's record against Michigan is *-1.
I just went on wikipedia to relive what might have been in that season, and I never connected the fact that Brady Hoke was behind that Ball State team that gave us a little bit of scare that year. Although I remember being a little upset back then, yay for the future now?
Your point about Tressel's Bible-thumping is well-taken Brian, and as a person of faith I find that particular aspect of Tressel to be most irksome: that he could espouse a belief in being an honest individual while conducting himself without any regard for rules, or (as he should know so well) the "spirit of the law". What a disgusting hypocrite.
I believe it was Reggie Germany, not Ken-Yon Rambo who achieved a 0.0 GPA.
Didn't Katzenmoyer also pull a 0.00 for one semester and that was why he left for the draft?
I believe so. I remember during our national championship season, he was a frequent punchline on the radio. Jokes about him needing a tutor for Walking 101 and Advanced Bowling happened all the time.
Not sure about that one. It had a pre-req that I don't think he passed.
not Reggie Germany.
What a fool. I can't recall, but I would assume he's a Sparty lover, right? Why else would you lump RR's Strechgate in with USC and OSU? It starts to make sense now why #97 Wolverines jersey wearers would always type U$C and O$U into message boards.
Mayo must have really be empathetic about the memorabilia for weed storyline.
'Whether TP was a bad kid or not, TUOOS is still f**ked'
Stay classy TP....nice ride
The article was very damning. As we all know, in the eyes of the NCAA, turning a blind eye is about the worst thing a coach/athletic program can do. What the article pointed out is that Tressel has been doing this for decades. While there was no sexy single violation uncovered, in the eyes of the NCAA, this was devastating--both Tressel and tSIO (who hired Tressel and also looked the other way during lots of shenanigans) have eyes that are blinder than blind. The NCAA hammer is going to come down in an unprecedented manner.
If this article did nothing, but cause the NCAA to investigate deeper and open a separate investigation on Pryor, then it has served its purpose.
One of my favorite parts was where he said that the neighborhood kids knew to go to the tattoo shop to get Buckeye autographs. Either the OSU compliance staff knew less about their own players than the average child in Columbus, or they were fully aware of what was going on. Either way it sounds like a lack of institutional control.
"Equipment managers have been involved in 7 previous major infractions cases."
relevant tweet from the bylaw blog
What is Infante's twitter handle?
He's worth following, for sure.
reporting about activity there's solid evidence of. More tk.
Two most damning bits in the Dohrmann:
"Tressel was aware of the car. At times, Isaac told SI, he asked the coach for help in getting out of traffic tickets. "He'd slot out two hours to meet and say, 'Ray, I need you to read this book and give me 500 words on why it's important to be a good student-athlete,'" Isaac says. Afterward the ticket would sometimes disappear, which, if Tressel intervened, would be an NCAA infraction.
"In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel."
From my POV, this is plenty damning. No, we don't have a lot of drug info; no the free housing isn't documented here. But the stunning outright hypocrisy is there for all to see. Pryor isn't the only psychopath in this mix.
Jesus--the raffle story was the highlight of the SI article, and how many years ago was that? Still--the image of the Vest, hidden in a backroom, rigging those raffles tickets, is precious.
He will cheat anybody to get an edge. What an ass.
Just surreptitiously tape a few near the apeture of the ticket drum, and memorize which one to pick out when the wheels stop turning.
with the analogy of the warden in Shawshank Redemption. In fact, Cowherd just made the same comparison on his show. I currently live in Columbus (ugh) and it feels like this thing isn't over. GO BLUE
I think that's the best metaphor for Tressel I've read so far.
I wonder who he stole it from. (Rim shot!)
i love the label on the pryor car pic--pryor-fucktard..LMAO!!!
The reference to Titus in the SI article, and in Brian's recapitulation of same, troubles me. He didn't offer any insight in his capacity as "former Ohio State athlete" -- rather, he expressly said that he has no inside information, and was merely noting that any OSU student could have told you that football players seemed to drive nice cars. I could have said the same thing about Michigan basketball players circa 1995-98.
Given his disclaimers, it really bothered me that the Sports Illustrated article mentioned him by name, and suggested that his statements were evidence of anything. It really cast doubt on the overall level of reporting in the story, in my eyes. g
mously confirmed. That article has been scrupulously examine by SI's lawyers, who have also grilled Dohrmann on its contents.
I totally agree. If Titus is your source then you've got nothing.
Get a better source than some comedy writing guy, who doesn't even mean much of what he writes, who says up front he has no inside sources. They are basically sourcing a random OSU student off the street. "I saw them futbaw players drivin' them fancy cars how they get them fancy cars? I ain't got me no fancy car?"
Parts of the article were just "some guy" told us that "some other guy" traded stuff for drugs. Like, what is that?
They've got something but SI appeared to rush this item.
"So spare us the hymnal, cooler-poopers."
Too funny, Brian. Well done
The "Monarch" should have his copy of Photoshop rescinded. That is a horrible gif even by the worst standards of photoshoppery.
Can "Spare us the hymnal, cooler-poopers" be the new blog slogan, at least this week?
Am I to understand that you (Brian) don't think the NCAA has an iron-clad case without someone like Rose or Small going on record (under oath)?
Can someone shed some light for me on the "Everybody murders people" comment? I've heard this thrown around recently, but did Pryor really say that? That's just awful..
I so enjoyed hearing that again. One of the best days in the last 4 years to be a Michigan fan was the day he turned us down and picked tosu. We didn't know it at the time, but it really was.
Ah God, I love that. What an idiot.
Yes, he did actually say this. But it shouldn't surprise you. This is the same guy who just pulled up to the football building in the aftermath of the biggest scandal in school history involving him and his whips in a new, pimped out Nissan 350Z.
One of the OSU fan commenters on the 11 Warriors article linked above: "I can see why he considers LeBron a friend."