I had my laptop open on my lap for nearly 45 minutes, constantly and nervously hitting the “Refresh” button (even though SportsIllustrated.CNN.com automatically updates) waiting for the Ohio State article to come out. After the Jim Tressel resignation this morning, I made the assumption that things were about to get even worse for the Buckeyes. And then it happened, George Dorhmann’s article, The Downfall of Jim Tressel, hit the website, and my eyes were glued to the three page story.
And now… I am completely torn on what I just read. There are several new allegations against former coach Tressel, such as:
- 22 more players that have received free tattoos in exchange for signatures and memorabilia, dating back to roughly 2002
- Setting up work for student-athletes with businesses known to pay the players
- Arranged car deals for players
- Tolerating and allowing “trouble” boosters to be around players
- Rigging prize drawings to reward top recruits as an assistant coach under Earle Bruce
The article was scathing and difficult to read, as a Buckeye fan, but not unbearable. I was fully prepared for Dohrmann to bring down OSU’s world with proof of countless more wrongdoings. However, when I finished the article, I was disappointed, but not broken. I am disappointed in Jim Tressel, Gene Smith, and the OSU compliance department for not having a better grasp on what the players were doing with the tattoos and, potentially, the cars. I understand that these young kids may have had cars thrown their way, and they should be accountable as well, but they are kids and the adults, whose job it is to control their behavior, should have known when and how to step in.
The bottom line is that this article did little more than to portray Jim Tressel’s moral leader persona as a lie that started decades ago. The violations are a regurgitation of allegations that we were already aware of. I feel a sense of relief that this article cemented things I knew to be true (i.e. OSU players have received tattoos and possibly car deals), but did not shatter my hopes that OSU may not have much more coming from the NCAA. I think that some wins may be vacated and a few scholarships may be lost, but that seems a fair price to pay.
What OSU needs now is for a head coach, be it Luke Fickell or someone to come next year, with the full support of the athletic department, to put a foot down on any wrongdoings by making an example out of each player that breaks the rules. We can no longer afford to have a coach that tries to guide and lead players as a friend, but instead a coach that demands respect through discipline and excellence on and off of the field.