It has only been a few hours but the news of Jim Tressel “resigning” has begun to show me just how much people can put the blinders or their rose colored glasses on and see only what they want to see about a situation. I will admit that the last few months of allegations and scandals coupled with today’s news leaves me with an open wound. With that in mind it is very possible when time heals this wound I will look back differently, I’ll be able to focus on the good times I had cheering the wildly successful Buckeyes of the last ten seasons. But if you’re looking for a cheery faced, happy Buckeye fan to follow and read today, then I suggest you look elsewhere, because I am NOT that guy. This guy see’s Bud Kilmer come to life. The guy with the shiny reputation, that everyone loves, admires and will remember fondly, but there was another side to him that while some good may have been done, I have to wonder at what cost?
I have friends, family and, as I’m typing this, local Columbus media members all still making excuses and spouting some of the most short sighted ignorant views I’ve ever heard.
- “We don’t know what he was thinking when he first heard the allegations, he was trying to protect his players and the school, and he thought he could control it, just like every other coach in the country.”
- “He was just protecting his players, and his OSU family.”
- “We need to look at the entire system and ourselves. The community enables the players by giving special deals, we need to pay the players, etc.”
- “The players made the real mistake, more blame needs to be put on them.”
- “This resigning will help lessen the blow from the NCAA”
- “Why now, why today, it’s so shocking.”
Right now I encourage everyone to really take a good hard look at this situation and truly think. First let’s look at the timing. If you want an understanding of it, do two things today. One keep an eye on SI.com, an investigative reporter (George Dohmann) who has been in Columbus researching the Buckeyes story and Tressel for the last 2-3 weeks. Guess what he left town mid last week. His story was done, we’re about to find more detail about this story then we know. Two, take a look at the calendar, it was Sunday night before a major national holiday. The major news outlets, the big time talking heads on all the major radio stations are off on Monday. I’m not suggesting that OSU thought they could slip this under the radar, but by releasing the info today they are most assuredly not getting as big of a beating on the airwaves as they would have had this lead off the beginning of a normal work week. Add those two pieces of info along with the ever growing mountain of allegations that have built over the last 6-7 months then really ask yourself, are you shocked? If you can honestly answer yes, then I’m sorry but you’re just not paying attention. This was an inevitability, it was never a matter of “if” but only a matter of “when”.
As for the blame game. This is where my anger begins to boil and if you want to imagine me screaming from the top of my lungs the rest of the way then you may get the full feel for this part of the post. The entire blame goes too three men. Jim Tressel, E. Gordon Gee, and Gene Smith. They are the leaders of everything that happened over the last 6-7 months. Tressel may have initially kept the emails and info from the other two, but by last December all three knew very well what was going on, and everything that was handled from there on was done so as if they had never heard of SMU or USC. Not only will Tressel “resigning” not help us with the NCAA, waiting this long probably will anger the NCAA who will likely make an example out of us, expect something worse than USC got and pray we don’t get what SMU got. Hopefully by now you’ve caught on that I put resigning in quotes, this was not a resignation, the man was fired, and it should have happened as five months ago. The next two should follow him out the door, but as we all know if you can save your ass and kick someone else to the curb that’s the move you make. So right now Gene Smith and E. Gordon Gee are banking on the fact that nothing gets tied directly to them in any of this, if it does, I guarantee you they will be out too.
To me this is the point that needs to be made, and needs to be focused on from this point forward. These are supposed to be the leaders of young men, and a university that is supposed to be one of the most decorated and prestigious public universities in the world. The last few months they have treated it as if were something less than that. They’ve acted as carelessly with the reputation of The Ohio State University as…..well, hell. I would love to make a joke here that they treated the reputation of OSU as if they were leading The U, SMU, or some other lesser university, but I can’t. In all honesty I don’t know any other group of supposed trusted and great leaders that have treated what they are supposed to be protecting with such little regard. It’s absolutely appalling that any of them have a job at this point. More revelations may be in store. Maybe Tressel is the man that we all thought he was and he truly is being the ultimate fall guy and trying to protect what’s left of the schools reputation by placing all the blame on himself. If so, that is a selfless act and one befiting someone that publishes “The Winners Manual”. But as of now that’s not the perception. Right now there are two men leading college aged students and athletes that I wouldn’t trust to manage a fast food resturant, and they just fired the man that made them the success they are today in hopes of saving their own asses.
I was proud that I earned my degree from THE Ohio State University and I’m confident that one day I will be again, but I am not proud of its leadership right now. I know how great the university can be. That’s been taken from me, and I want it back.
So see you later Vest, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.