Sad to say, but a man who comes across as a very straight-arrow, right down to the sweater-vests he wears while patrolling the sidelines of one of the most successful Division I programs, Ohio State's Jim Tressel, has been exposed. He joins Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl as a highly-successful coach who was caught doing the wrong thing.
When Tressel said he was "confused about what to do" with the information he received about his players, including five KEY OSU players, trading Buckeyes memorabilia for tattoos, to me, he lied. Tressel has been a coach for a long time...the man can make decisions on the fly in the midst of bowl games...yet he didn't know that IMMEDIATELY after hearing the news he should have taken that walk down the hall to his compliance officer? Bull!
He damn well knew what he had to do...but he didn't. He placed winning above everything, and taught these players that is okay to do things that are against NCAA rules. These kids have been coddled since they were playing youth football and it continues today.
Bruce Pearl made phone calls...a lot of them...and he entertained people (yes, I mean women also) on his boat...and UT made a quick decision. They did not fire him, nor did they ask for his resignation. They just did not PAY him. And the SEC also was involved in his punishment. Coach Pearl had to miss eight SEC games this season.
Tressel, in my opinion, did something far worse. He withheld information and has been given a slap on the wrist...he will miss the Buckeye's first two games next season...wow - he misses Akron and Toledo, games you and I could coach the Scarlet and Gray to victory in. By the way, those five players will also miss a trip down to Miami, and home games against Colorado and Michigan State.
I just hope Ohio State basketball coach Thad Matta is watching this and learning. Win a national championship and you can get away with anything.
I was very opposed to allowing the players in question for OSU play in their bowl game. The suspensions had already been announced, and they should have been punished by not being allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl (a victory over Arkansas). That was a privilege, and they should not only have not played, but they certainly should not have practiced or travelled to New Orleans. But I am old-school...and apparently, if you are an important-enough athlete, you are protected...coddled...oh, yeah, YOU ARE!
Coaches have always had it better than student-athletes. If a D-I player wants to transfer to another D-I school, they must sit out a year. If a coach wants to do the same, he does it and begins coaching immediately. It's time to come down on these coaches who think they can get away with cheating. And, no, I am NOT na??ve enough to think it does not happen at many schools. The old NASCAR saying, "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying" is very true. But, if you play with fire, you will get burned.
Now it's time for the NCAA to take a stand. Even in the small Big South Conference, NCAA investigators are looking into several charges at Coastal Carolina University and their basketball program and coach Cliff Ellis. Ellis has left two other schools only to have those schools be put on probation after he left...Clemson and Auburn...and now, Coastal is in the cross-hairs. One player was involved in an altercation with another and was kicked out of school earlier this season. Another, Desmond Holloway, who would have likely been the Big South Player of the Year, was suspended indefinitely by the NCAA due to academics. Coastal's dream season fell apart and they now are headed to the NIT.
The point of this article is simply that people cheat and people get caught. If you are caught, pay up. It's like that in life. Sorry Coaches Tressel and Ellis...it's time to pay up.