Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Just Like All The Others? Jim Tressel's Transgressions

I had a long drive last night after finishing a business trip to St. Louis. Listening to sports talk radio 700 WLW out of Cincinnati, I was able to hear highlights of the Jim Tressel press conference and local Cincinnati reaction to the story.

Jim Tressel was obligated to report information he received in emails about Ohio State football players selling/exchanging memorabilia with a tattoo parlor owner in the Columbus area months before the information became public this past December. The players implicated have received 5 game suspensions to be served at the beginning of the 2011 football season.

Jim Tressel screwed up. He said as much in the press conference last night. Talk radio callers generally gave him credit for standing up and taking his punishment. I'm not so sure. First of all, he didn't come out and self report it. He was caught. He had to face his punishment.

Secondly, I have to wonder about the inconsistencies of the punishments related to this incident. The players received a 5 game suspension for selling the memorabilia. Jim Tressel, the man who is supposed to be their leader, the man who is supposed to set an example for these young men, withholds information he was obligated to provide to his superiors, and signed an NCAA certificate of compliance at the beginning of the 2010 season stating "he has reported any knowledge of possible violations to the institution". What is Coach Tressel's punishment? A 2 game suspension and $250,000 fine. The NCAA will probably add to this punishment. But shouldn't the coach receive a harsher punishment than the player?

My take? No defense for what Jim Tressel did. He didn't get fired because he beats Michigan, wins Big Ten titles, and has won a National Championship. The disappointment for me is Jim Tressel seems to hold himself to a higher standard as does The Ohio State University. Both the coach and the institution are no different than any other College football coach or program.

But in the end, who cares? All will be forgiven when Jim Tressel leads The Ohio State University to another win over Michigan, another Big Ten Championship, and another BCS Bowl game.

As reported in the Columbus Dispatch:

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