Dear Diary: For the Good of the Nation

Submitted by Seth on May 30th, 2011 at 9:02 PM

Tresselleaves Tresselgate

(clicks get larger) Unlike other Tricky Tressel images today, MINE SHOWS JIM IN A SWEATER VEST!

Dear Diary,

They will still celebrate him in Columbus. The name Tressel will mean 9-1, will mean 2002, will mean an era when in-state talent and Big Ten Championships were Ohio State entitlements. But as of today, the argument over the last decade will be simply academic. Jim Tressel has resigned as head coach of Ohio State and a new legacy, a stained legacy, will now be written (#WhileWaitingForDohrmann) (UPDATE: It's here)

To you, hyper informed Michigan fan, there will be few surprises. We knew about the cars ever since Maurice Clarett told police in 2003 that $10,000 worth of stuff had been stolen from his "borrowed" ride. We guessed about the improper benefits too when Clarett corroborated his teaching assistant's claim of academic impropriety, and it came out that Troy Smith's mystery suspension had been because he (as a backup RB) was taking a booster's money. We figured it went higher when the university shot back at Clarett's allegations by discrediting him, then welcomed him back with open arms the minute he backed off his claims (which killed the case). We figured the institution was on board when every "investigation" into a reported incident came back finding there was nothing more than was originally reported.

This weekend former Buckeyes took to the Twitters to evoke "The Sacred Brotherhood" when Ray Small broke code.* Raise of hands: who didn't already figure out that Tress puts put particular value on discretion?

Of course we saw it because we're Michigan, naturally ready to believe the worst about the Buckeyes. Why didn't anyone else though? SI's Andy Staples took some of the credit (emphasis mine):

If the three highest profile players of a big-time coach's career all got dinged by the NCAA, you would think that coach might be dirty. So why, after Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor all faced NCAA sanctions, did people still think Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was squeaky clean? Why, after Tressel admitted in March that he played ineligible players and lied to the NCAA about it, did people still rush to his defense, claiming him an otherwise perfect coach who made one little mistake?

Because Tressel, Ohio State and a compliant media -- yes, I'm just as guilty as the other two parties -- sold that narrative so well.

Like other organizations built on loyalty over honesty, the loyal will remain so. Ohio State's best possible outcome now is for the NCAA to believe Tressel was solely at fault, take the resignation as evidence it's not an institutional problem, and in five years or so revive the sweatervest as a Buckeye legend who won big then graciously took the fall when the gotchyas got him.

Through my blue-colored glasses, that this incident exposed an institutional – not just a coach - problem is wholly believable, particularly in light of the period of time, and how the president and AD have handled themselves since last winter. That the NCAA will see it that way is not so clear. They'll certainly wonder how Ohio State had the gall to think it could get away with feigning ignorance, handing out a few suspensions, then asking for dispensation to play in the Sugar Bowl. But to admit that the tats and the cars were systemic is to admit the NCAA has been blind to the improper benefits at Ohio State manifest for 7 years.

Tonight we expect an SI article by George Dohrmann that may make NCAA's decision for them. In August, unless that's moved back to add more violations, will be the big hearing. Prediction: a lot more popcorn will be consumed before it's all over.

Caveat: There are a lot worse things a person can do than to give a free car to a guy you're still ultimately "paying" a tenth of what he brings you (Ballparking here: Pryor room/board/education/car: ~$12,000-$15,000? Pryor jersey sales: $1 million - 13,334 sold at $75/pop?) They cheated and lied and it was unfair but let's keep this in perspective.


* He's recanting today but The Lantern posted some of the audio. Undisputed: Ray Small likes to say "you know."



EPIC GIF by the monarch:

And it gets better from there.

Your Diarist of the Week is BlueNote, who had the most informative article to date on this blog about the outlook for Ohio State and its efforts to keep information within the Brotherhood:

Takeaway #3:  OSU is playing hardball

The general crappiness and irrelevance of the documents retrieved by the AP signals to me that OSU is handing over very little.  The school is challenging the AP to keep fighting.

Takeaway #4:  The fight will continue

The fact that the AP actually published a story about Doug Archie’s 2009 performance evaluation means that this topic is gold to the media. If this non-story gets major national press, imagine what the AP could expect from a story about Sarniak emails?

In other words Ohio State plans to give up every inch in gallons of blood, and the AP can get so much play off any Ohio State scandal related article they're happy to oblige. Also: BlueNote thinks the highly anticipated SI article tonight might be a (state version of the) Freedom of Information Act tidbit that revealed more than it was meant to.

As for Michigan (oh yeah, us), two great diaries this week on Hoke's recruiting. The first is a fancy schmancy "my guess at the final Class of 2012" thing by JC3. The other: I was pleasantly surprised by the thought put into oakapple's discussion on early commitments and whether they will be a benefit or a great risk. He's talking mostly about the consensus 3-star types. Count me among those in favor of classes large and early, with a "moar study needed" caveat. Recent memory has plenty of last minute offers (Feagin, Butler, Criswell) who didn't pan out (recent last-minute guys who did were in the immediate aftermath of a coaching change). I'd rather hit January wondering if we can squeeze in somebody than have the staff trying to pry guys away, and have a year to focus on 4- and 5-stars with a safety net.

Geaux_Blue put together an APR Comparison Chart for football:

The purple line at the top is who you think it is, the light blue one just under it is going to fuel at least one Penn State fan justifiably acting arrogant toward you at some point in the future, and the worrisome navy line which started among the leaders and which has been going down down down while everyone else is going up up up…c'est nous.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo introduces us to the latest Varsity Men's Sport: Lacrosse.

After the jump, 10,000 words on what I plan to do on my summer vacation.






May 30th, 2011 at 10:05 PM ^

I think the part about them selling memoriblia for weed was new.  Didn't hear that part before.  Maybe it was just new to me. 

But you're right, while there wasn't anything earth shattering I did love some of the quotes though, especially this one:

Says the former colleague, who asked not to be identified because he still has ties to the Ohio State community, "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."


May 30th, 2011 at 11:18 PM ^

Thanks grahambino, I couldn't find the quote fromt he SI article re Tressel cheating kids in a cleat/helmet/jersey raffle ...

'That's Jim Tessel". Of course he could beat the Hurricanes, he cheated in that game, too.


Funnny, glad to see OSU fans beatifying a cheater. Shows their family values.


May 30th, 2011 at 9:32 PM ^

Nice summary, Mis.  Liked your caveat in particular.  They cheated, but in the moral realm, there's a lot worse than paying kids you're making a lot o' dough off of.  It explains why they owned the B1G to at least some degree and that enough for me.  It was a lot tougher to live with before this all got wrapped up with a pretty bow.


May 30th, 2011 at 9:54 PM ^

Rose has no regrets. "I knew how much money that the school was making," he says. "I always heard about how Ohio State had the biggest Nike budget. I was struggling, my mom was struggling. ... It was just something that I had to do. I was in a hard spot. ... [Other] guys were doing it for the same reasons. The university doesn't really help. Technically we knew it was wrong, but a lot of those guys are from the inner city and we didn't have much, and we had to go on the best we could. I couldn't call home to ask my mom to help me out."


May 31st, 2011 at 12:44 AM ^

This is a very, very important quote. The same reason why the Fab 5 scandal occurred back in the day, ultimately.

I enjoy that they're getting their just desserts, but I do like a little perspective. I don't think Rose should have any regrets. It's not his fault that his coach was unable to teach him and give him a leg up in integrity and ethical conduct.

It also adds to my sense of perspective that his last name is Rose. When I read that comment, I read it as if Jalen Rose had said it. I'm glad that this article was largely an indictment of Tressel, not of the players.


May 31st, 2011 at 9:41 AM ^

Lacking context that quote is persuasive but in general these guys were believed to be trading memorabilia for tattoos and maybe weed not food and lodging.

That struck me as a pretty big rationalilzation. Ink and pot are not requirements for life. Was he really going to call his mom and ask for a couple hundred dollars for a tattoo even if she had it?


May 30th, 2011 at 9:45 PM ^

They're the things we've all been saying for years, but I've always thought they were at least a little exaggerated. Now I know we haven't been giving Tressel and his thugs nearly enough credit. Coming from an investigative journalist if what he reports is untrue he's open to massive libel/slander lawsuits, but he doesn't hold back at all. I for one am really surprised to have not seen a single Spongebob Best Day Ever reference.

Wolverine In Exile

May 30th, 2011 at 9:49 PM ^

I disagee with ixcunicle- there's amplification of older claims wiith new details that OSU isn't going to be able to MoC with "he's a dirty guy" type claims. We now have multiple tatoo parlors, a source with photos of OSU players in the parlor who weren't listed in the OSU doc, Pryor giving a lot more than just a jersey and a sportsmanship award, a player giving bowl game tix to rife for a car (which the university now can't claim Rife isn't a booster per NCAA definitions), posible weed for tat's trades... pretty juicy stuff and through it all, the atmosphere of non-compliance and lack of institutional control is prevelent. Including an absolute prose pants-ing of Gene Smith's "isolated incident" claim. This is not good and now more reporters will be on the ground. But it's OK you know, b/c everybody gets tat's, kills people, steals stuff from universities, you know.


May 30th, 2011 at 9:53 PM ^

I think some of us are losing perspective on the ariticle that was published. For 49 other states and the NCAA this is a big bombshell. But for us this is just 'meh'. 

You also can't forget that this is far from over. We are three months into an investigation for everything. The NCAA is just now getting into the cars. USC's investigation took 5 years. So you have to figure this one will take 2-3.


May 30th, 2011 at 11:49 PM ^

I was mentally scanning my recollections of the Tressel saga and occasionally checking a point vs. the Genuinely Sarcastic timeline that was posted the other day.  Most events lined up perfectly, though the stoner man-cave in the tat parlor was funny, as well as Tressel himself rigging raffles.  Talk about a Scrooge.


May 30th, 2011 at 10:01 PM ^

On a positive note, our APR is kickin ass and taking names. 

(I should probably inform you that I am abysmally color blind and any line not bright yellow or blinking black all looks the same to me.  That line at the top of the chart looks blue to me and that's all I need).  Go Blue (or purple, or black, or brown, green.....wait.  no, not green.  To hell with green)!


May 30th, 2011 at 10:03 PM ^

So Tressel decides to fix a raffle for OSU summer campers, so that the kids who OSU wants to recruit win the raffle, the other kids, well, thanks for playin' chump, got your money, now go home.... and the article states that for many of these youngsters, that raffle money meant something.

20 some years later, Tressel bud, pay back.

Who cheats kids out of a raffle? At your own camp? WTF? Dirty, sick man. Cheater.



May 31st, 2011 at 8:16 AM ^

I will give 11 Warriors blogger credit for this statement ..."or even an allegedly rigged raffle thirty years ago (the very idea of which makes me recoil in utter contempt and horror)." to know that a man cheating little kids at his own camp is a moral failure.

Earl Bruce doesn't look so bad now, does he?

Everyone Murders

May 30th, 2011 at 10:08 PM ^

Re: the caveat.  I'm all for being charitable to our friends down South (not really), but it's not just about the OSU players selling things that are arguably theirs.  This is about Tressel lying, implausibly, and then lying again.  And again.  And the OSU administration backing him every step of the way until today.  It's not SMU dirty, but it's pretty dirty.  Like a chimney sweep.

This shizz is gonna blow up, and those stocking up on popcorn are doing the right thing.



May 30th, 2011 at 11:31 PM ^

I had an interview for a job in Ann Arbor four months ago with a guy who, though now a Michigan fan, played for Tressel at Youngstown State (we talked strictly football for the first five minutes of the interview for a non sports related job which was awesome) and had Tress in his home recruiting him.

If I had known of all this coming out at the time I would have taken the job just to ask him about all of this and if he knew of any players on his team getting improper benefits and such.

It really is amazing how long this stuff has been swept under the rug successfully. Tressel might be the greatest liar college football has ever seen.


May 31st, 2011 at 12:13 AM ^

I can't stop thinking about that "prayer request box" on Tressel's desk.

Or Dantonio's own Bible on his.

At some point people are going to wake up and stop being so damn credulous.

So this is how "prayers come true".  Like Mike Murdock, you "plant a seed". 

Say a prayer and ouila: find that elusive special job, a brand new set of wheels, uncover that little extra cash to pay the rent $800/mo rent (wtf!) and call momma long distance.  Now watch other blessings rain down on you. See those speeding tickets and court date "disappear".

From the perspective of 18-23 year old students and their parents, it's probably seemed like a nice notion, you know, to have a "man of God" on your side and looking after your sons.

"What does it matter?", they will say. 

"So what if God didn't answer our prayer.  The prayer was answered all the same.  How can that be a bad thing?"



May 31st, 2011 at 12:29 AM ^

It's kinda hard to believe that Tressel was the only OSU coach who knew of NCAA violations. I can think of a few other OSU coaches who probably also knew, should they be adequately interrogated..... like Luke Fickell and the rest of the staff. I think the sweater has just begun to unravel..... Let's just hope the NCAA puts up a REAL investigation.


May 31st, 2011 at 7:03 AM ^

D*mn, ScarJo can even make eating popcorn look sexy!

Regarding the SI article, I was a little disappointed as I was (incorrectly) expecting some of the things that one poster (BILG?) was alluding to: pay-for-play, car deals, housing deals, etc. This was merely an extension of the "Toys for Tats" scandal, although it does provide a way for the NCAA to slam OSU for multiple years of infractions (bringing with it charges of failure to monitor and/or loss of institutional control) as it is the same violation occuring over an extended time period.


May 31st, 2011 at 7:42 AM ^

You could make Carrottop the OSU QB and he would sell a $1million worth of jerseys.  People are OSU and Michigan fans...they will buy anything Maize N Blue or Scarlett and Gray.  Chris Webber had the same argument.  At least according to Mitch Album.  "I don't get any of the #4 $75 priced Jersey."  No you don't Chris...neither does the plumber's apprentice, the candy striper nurse or any student intern.  What you get is a free education, a chance to grow, mature and put yourself in a position to make a ton of money and have a rewarding career.  Which you did...all you need now is patience and a respect for the rules.  Yes, it isn't is cheating and lets keep perspective.  They (Tressel, Tat 5 and the fab 5) are and forever will be cheaters.

Enough with the "these athletes need to be paid" BS.  Live in the free dorms, eat the free food if you can't pay the bills.  Also, I'm quite sure when they go out in Ann Arbor or Columbus they ain't exactly paying for their food (or cars or tats or whatever).  Play by the rules or get out.  Don't sign the letter if you are not going to live by it.  Jalen Rose is absolute disgrace to the M&B.  He discussed the Tat 5 (obviously sympathetic to them as a result of his own boorish behavior as a child star) and their need to "scrap up rent money" and seeing Tressel make millions frustrates the kids according to JR.  So on Mike and Mike yesterday Rose stated as much.  Robert Smith, of all people, had to admonish him that TATS aren't exactly RENT.  These players DO NOT NEED TO BE PAID.

I'm not saying I'm just saying.


May 31st, 2011 at 7:44 AM ^

Tell the Tat 5 their services are no longer required.  Give them the choice of getting their OSU degree or leaving immediately and waiving the one year requirement allowing them to play immediately (subject to their 5 game NCAA suspension).

They won't but that is what they should do...TODAY.


May 31st, 2011 at 8:06 AM ^

There's another former OSU assistant who might know something:

“He (Tressel) is very special to me and our children. He is special person in our life.  Going all the way back to when I was a grad assistant at Ohio State in 1983-84.  We also had the time we spent to together at Youngstown State and again at Ohio State. He is a difference maker.  He has been for his players and he continues to be that for the coaches who have coached for him."

"I am from the Jim Tressel school of thought. This position has to be about winning more than football games. I am not naive we will be judged by that, but we have to serve people and this state.  We have to try and make it better. Whether it is the youth camps before the spring games, summer camps, or whether (we’re) going and seeing coaches or visiting high schools to speak at a national honor society event. I am in this place and I need to do more with it than just win games. I have young men who will watch me as a role model. I need to lead them."

Who is this guy?

In 1986, he began a five-year stint on Jim Tressel’s staff at Youngstown State as a defensive secondary coach.

In 2001, reunited with his former Youngstown State boss and good friend Jim Tressel to serve as defensive coordinator at Ohio State University for three seasons.

Like his mentor Jim Tressel, this guy is a paragon of morals and ethics.


May 31st, 2011 at 8:18 AM ^

I disagree with your caveat, what they did was against NCAA rules and who knows how this rampant cheating has helped recruiting for tOSU. 

Other than that I disagree with the ocmpensation student-athleates get.  Its not just tuition, there is free room and board (~5000 per year at UofM when I was a student if memory serves), there is also all the training they get in world class facilities along with trainers and coaches (I can not really put a price on this but I would ballpark it in the tens of thousands a year if not hundreds), they also get all sorts of memrobillia (jerseys, rings etc) for free which they can do whatever they want with it once they graduate.  For football the training is required if you want to make the NFL, how many freshman could make the NFL and be productive (my guess would be none).  

I would like to see the numbers on how much the University makes off of each jersey sale.  Its probably only a fraction of what they are selling in the store. 

The point being, I dont feel sorry for student-athletes.  Not only are they getting a great education they are also getting great training in there sport.


May 31st, 2011 at 8:29 AM ^

How do you make these lines a permanent part of every one of your posts?  This is what I would like at the bottom of every post I make (at least for a while):

Says the former colleague, who asked not to be identified because he still has ties to the Ohio State community, "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." 

That, my friends, is the definition of hypocrite.