Liars, cheaters like Jim Tressel deserve to lose their job

Jim Tressel, here at news conference in March with his protector E. Gordon Gee, resigned under pressure Monday as Ohio State coach. (AP photo))

Jim Tressel, here with his protector, E. Gordon Gee, resigned under pressure Monday as Ohio State's coach. (AP photo)

(Originally posted: 11:15 a.m. Last update: 1:15 p.m.)

There is no shortage of problems with college athletics.

The NCAA too often seems overwhelmed. School presidents preach academics only when they’re not in meetings with network executives. Athletes make millions for universities but walk through campus bookstores, see replicas of their jerseys for sale and and know they won’t get a nickel for it.

But the biggest problem of all: Coaches who cheat and get away with it.

Jim Tressel has resigned as coach at Ohio State. Finally, somebody pays a price before fleeing for another job (see: Pete Carroll, Lou Holtz, etc.).

Tressel almost certainly beat Ohio State and the NCAA to the punch. He would’ve been fired and humiliated anyway. The NCAA is expected to hammer him and the football program for gross infractions, including knowingly playing illegal players for an entire season, all in the name of winning. Columbus hasn’t been subjected to this kind of embarrassment since Woody Hayes punched a Clemson player.

Jim Tressel is not just a problem. He’s the worst kind of problem.

The next time he works in college football, it should be mowing lawns or lining the fields. Just keep him far from the responsibility of  raising young men, preaching values and reaffirming right from wrong., In those areas, he failed miserably.

Tressel released a statement that read in part: “After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach.” Not even a hint of guilt or remorse.

Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee said, “The university’s enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions.” He and Tressel must have the same speech writer.

Some Michigan fans mocked Tressel recently with this billboard.

Some Michigan fans mocked Tressel recently with this billboard.

Gee should follow Tressel out the door. He exuded pomposity at Vanderbilt when he disbanded the athletic department, and more recently downplayed Tressel’s alleged NCAA infractions. Asked whether he considered firing Tressel, he giggled and responded, “I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”

Further proof that a wall full of diplomas doesn’t ensure a man has integrity.

Tressel learned in April of last year that five of his players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, sold memorabilia to the owner of a tattoo parlor (who also has been charged with drug trafficking and money laundering). Rather than report it to the school or the NCAA, he covered it up. He lied it about.

Coming forward with the truth would’ve led to suspensions, similar to the one that cost Georgia’s A.J. Green four games for selling his jersey.

Tressel’s defenders will scream that he merely was protecting his players. In fact, he was protecting himself. Winning games was more important.

The NCAA is expected to slam Tressel and Ohio State. It fired the warning shot two months ago when it wrote in its preliminary report that the coach “failed to deport himself … [with] honesty and integrity.” That’s their way of saying, “You’re guilty. We’re just deciding which penitentiary to send you to.”

Ohio State has long exuded a certain arrogance, and Tressel exemplified that. He wore a sweater vest. He looked senatorial. But there are skeletons from his days at Youngstown State, where his quarterback was given money and loaned used cars by a booster, Mickey Monus, a close friend of Tressel’s. (A thin and belated NCAA investigation led to the school being cited for lack of institutional control).

Three of Tressel’s highest profile players at Ohio State — Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith and Pryor — all have had issues with the NCAA. Former Buckeyes receiver Ray Small admitted recently he sold his championship rings while at the school and added that players there, “don’t even think about [NCAA] rules.” There’s also an investigation into a car dealer who reportedly sold about 50 vehicles to players and their families.

None of this means Tressel is the personification of evil. But it would be naive to believe it’s all coincidence.

Tressel had enormous success (106-22 record, seven Big Ten titles, one BCS title) in his 10 seasons. Ohio State remains probably one of the five best jobs in college football, one reason why Urban Meyer may be drawn out of retirement in a year. Probation won’t scare him away. If anything, the challenge of rebuilding a dented program and the knowledge of low early expectations might be attractions.

For now, there is only humiliation and embarrassment in Columbus. That could have been avoided if Tressel had just been honest. But when there are games to be played, apparently that’s too much to ask.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

543 comments Add your comment

David

May 30th, 2011
11:18 am

Barry

May 30th, 2011
11:20 am

First. And OSU was last – to recognize the problem.

Mark in ATL

May 30th, 2011
11:24 am

I’m tired of “selling jerseys with my name on it” argument. These kids go to school for FREE. The rest try to gobble together student loans…little $ from mom and dad…work a part time job…etc. They come out of school with debt.

Bob in SF

May 30th, 2011
11:25 am

I think the hypocrisy is the most appalling part of the whole incident; not only by “The Vest” but by Ohio State and the Big10. I’m sure Tressel and the OSU administration still firmly believe they are exemplary of NCAA values. And they’re right, but certainly not in the way they think they are but as yet another example of a coach using players and lying for his millions and a school turning a blind eye and deaf ear for winning.

GMAN

May 30th, 2011
11:28 am

Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio St, the mid west “untouchables”…first one is about to fall.

Bobby Walden

May 30th, 2011
11:30 am

Auburn is no better. And, what of the murderer who coaches at Notre Dame? Tressel, at least, is not responsible for killing a kid. Bottom line: Big-time college football is corrupt from top to bottom, rendered so by tv money.

SSIgator

May 30th, 2011
11:30 am

Jeff -

“Just keep him far from the responsibility of raising young men, preaching values and reaffirming right from wrong.”

Are you sure you are not talking about Mark Richt? Given the arrest record of recent years under his watch at UGA it certainly sounds like him.

PlusSizeModel

May 30th, 2011
11:31 am

As a Buckeye fan, it’s hard for me to get why this took so long. The writing was on the wall weeks ago, and all this delay did was tarnish the image of tOSU further. Tressel supporters couldn’t be more blind and enabling. We should be straight-up pissed at him for this cover-up and subsequent dragging of tOSU’s dignity through the mud.

Gene Smith needs to go too, IMO. He’s come across looking like a punk in the most crucial time imaginable. What else do we need to know about this clown? Hopefully he’ll be pulled over with some suspicious red panties soon—probably be the only way to get rid of him.

CarolinaDawg

May 30th, 2011
11:31 am

NCAA isn’t without blame. They let the players play in the bowl game knowing what they had done. All with the promise of “oh, we swear we’ll come back and play next year and sit out a few games.”

Cliff Levingston

May 30th, 2011
11:33 am

Coulndt ever beat an SEC team with any talent. ANd then had to use illegal players to beat a mediocre Arkansas team. BIg ten is a joke.

Samson

May 30th, 2011
11:33 am

I don’t think he should have resigned. He should stay. I am a Miami Fan and I hate Ohio State, but when we played him we usually lose. But his style of coaching made us fight harder. I wish he goes and coach Miami. Good guy, I like him. I dont think he should have resigned. Bump the haters.

dean

May 30th, 2011
11:33 am

Conversation between a Nebraska fan and non-Cornhusker fan yesterday.

Nebraska fan: “I can’t wait until Ohio State comes to Lincoln! It’ll be Tressel’s and the 5 players first game back.”

Non-Nebraska fan: “Ummm. The players? Probably. But maybe not. Tressel? Don’t be so sure about him making the trip.”

No tears for the coach. He never has to work another day in life.

RabidDawgFan

May 30th, 2011
11:33 am

I love to sit back and see UGA staying out of trouble this season and seeing all the haters come to the UGA blog EVERY DAY to see if one of our players have gotten arrested or into trouble. Yet, they come up with nothing. Here it is June basically and 0 arrests. Florida has some, Auburn has sanctions, Tennessee always has trouble, yet this season UGA has none. We’re focused on hungry. We’re gonna have a good year. Go Dawgs! ! ! ! ! ! Where’s Buckeye?

ozzfest

May 30th, 2011
11:34 am

The jerseys in the “bbokstore” DO NOT have the names on them. Do your homework.

David

May 30th, 2011
11:35 am

There is a big story coming out in a few hours is going to rock OSU. McSweater vest was fired to prevent OSU from getting the death penalty. Look for them to forfeit the 2002 NCS title. OSU is going to be the SMU of the 21st century.

PlusSizeModel

May 30th, 2011
11:37 am

As a Buckeye fan, it’s hard for me to get why this took so long. The writing was on the wall weeks ago, and all this delay did was tarnish the image of tOSU further. The Tressel apologists are killing me too instead of being pissed at him for dragging this out and further tarnishing the name of the school in the process.

Gene Smith needs to go too, IMO. He’s come across looking like a punk in the most crucial time imaginable. What else do we need to know about this clown? Hopefully he’ll be pulled over with some suspicious scarlet panties and a stripper in his car—probably the only way we’ll ever get rid of him.

Jeff Schultz

May 30th, 2011
11:39 am

Mark in ATL — I understand the “getting an education” for free argument, believe me. But that held more water back before the NCAA and school presidents sold out.

Ted Striker

May 30th, 2011
11:39 am

Jeff — Absolutely agree that Tressell should be gone based on what he did. Should have been gone before now. However as for calling him the “worst kind of problem,” I’d have to have more information before I pronounced him that.

dawgster

May 30th, 2011
11:41 am

@SSlgator…I have never ever said this to anyone, but you sir are a piece of trash….For the life of me I don’t uinderstand your obsession and hate for Coach Richt regardless of the topic you always trash our coach…You are a punk of the biggest kind…Amazing that the AJC continues to allow your posts on here…

Buckeye

May 30th, 2011
11:42 am

As I correctly predicted multiple times on these blogs……………

Tressel will resign sooner than later.

Jeff Schultz

May 30th, 2011
11:42 am

Ted Striker — In this case, I’m not alluding to the NCAA infraction of what the players did. It’s not even close to the worst thing we’ve ever seen. I’m addressing a coaches values and list priorities. Tressel knew what happened and he lied about it to protect himself and win games. To me, that’s the worst.

Vain Jangling

May 30th, 2011
11:43 am

Turns out, he was guilty as sin. It appears he was shocked, shocked I say, to learn. There are oh so many adjectives that describe the guy: overblown, phoney, arrogant, pretentious, selfish, self-righteous, disgraceful, hypocritical, and on and on. And those are just the ones that will get by your moderator!

RomeDawg

May 30th, 2011
11:43 am

Sadly, I fear that every school cheats to some degree. When a sport generates the type of financial revenue NCAA football does, it becomes ALL about money and winning. Integrity slips way down the list.

wdm

May 30th, 2011
11:44 am

Where are all those OSU fans who come on here talking trash about Ga football all the time? They must be busy eating crow this morning. Good luck getting all those feathers out of your mouth. You have a better chance of finding a Code Pink anti-war rally at an Obama fundraiser than finding an OSU loudmouth bragging about their prestigous football program today.

Jeff Schultz

May 30th, 2011
11:44 am

Ozzfest — right, “numbers” not “names.” Pretty much the same thing, but I’ll amend that.

Pago Pago DAWG

May 30th, 2011
11:44 am

Well, they still have one of the best bands in the big 10. Where is urban today?

Saint Mark

May 30th, 2011
11:46 am

Richt better clean up his recruits with character issues. These coaches are looking the other way with ear bling and tattoos at UGA as well. Its the money honey! Autographs for bling and tattoos are running rampant.

Wandering Georgian

May 30th, 2011
11:46 am

It turns out that there are some things that can’t be overlooked, even if you do beat Michigan consistently.

Buckeye

May 30th, 2011
11:47 am

As I predicted…..

Tressel will resign sooner than later.

SSIgator

May 30th, 2011
11:48 am

dawgster -

Calm down. Simply pointing out the similarities between the article and “Saint Richt”. Are you and Richt related? Don’t get you panties in a wad over it.

RomeDawg

May 30th, 2011
11:48 am

NEVER trust a man who wears a sweater vest!

Top Dawg

May 30th, 2011
11:48 am

These scholarship players attend school FOR FREE. If they don’t like it, they should not attend. Enough with the “poor, poor kid doesn’t make any money off of it” argument.

wdm

May 30th, 2011
11:49 am

You have a better chance of finding a Code Pink anti-war rally at an Obama fundraiser than you do finding one of the loudmouthed OSU fans on here bragging about their prestigous football program. Hey osu fan, where are you now? You always come on here talking trash about Ga football so what do you have to say for your team today. Not only have they always skimmed onto the national football stage by playing in an inferior conference but now we find out they were cheats all along. How weak is that.

Buckeye

May 30th, 2011
11:50 am

Rabid,

I’m here. Not running and hiding anywhere

GDP

May 30th, 2011
11:50 am

If you think this doesn’t happen at 80% of other schools, you’re naive. And what about richt and his 8 years allowing players to break the law and he keeps giving them second and third chances. Those slamming osu are homers who won’t admit they have issues too. The hammer is coming down and schools better watch out

BG

May 30th, 2011
11:50 am

Nick Saban needs to be next.

JustMyOpinion

May 30th, 2011
11:51 am

He’s probably crooked, but I really don’t care. As long as Michigan has a fair chance now is what’s most important to me.

Georgia Peach

May 30th, 2011
11:53 am

Scott

May 30th, 2011
11:54 am

I recall a garrison hearst driving around in a brand spanking new nissan at uga during his sophmore or junior year. This from a dirt poor kid from, at that time, the poorest county in the state, lincoln cty. Wonder where he got that money for that! It happens everywhere with big name players.

Cohutta Dawgman

May 30th, 2011
11:54 am

Excuse me while I get a big belly laugh out of one of the Sacred Cows taking one to the chin.

t

May 30th, 2011
11:54 am

Wonder how deep this will go? http://www.wedgeorgia.com

Abolish HHS

May 30th, 2011
11:55 am

Gee Jeff, didn’t some UGA players also sell uga football memorabilia just a few short years ago? I didn’t hear the outrage in your columns then, do you reserve that for out of state football teams? Seems to me the UGA players involved were only suspended for a few games, not an entire season. Since when can an American citizen not sell his own property in the open market? Either these gifts to the players were their property to do with as they please, or they were not gifts at all, rather some kind of “hold in trust” thing.

DIT

May 30th, 2011
11:55 am

The kids are educated and taught that they are to receive NOTHING, with the exception of a FREE education when they sign that scholarship. They are ALL aware of this, so please don’t speak about the players deserve to make money. My reason is this, the players that the school does make any money off of, to help pay for their education, will make it up 10 fold in the NFL! There is so much these kids get under the table from Alumni & Boosters it’s not even funny. I’ve witnessed it!
Trust me, they are not hurting for money!

Bone

May 30th, 2011
11:55 am

To all of the OSU fans on this board…please, go home and cry. I-75 doesn’t have any roadblocks.

To put it in NASCAR terms…if you are not trying to cheat, you ain’t winning. Every single NCAA program “bents” the rules. Just in this case, it was Tressel that was part of the problem. Richt and other coaches are not part of the problem… the athletes are the problem. The coaches know about it after the case, but not withholding the problems. That is what Tressel did, withhold information.

And now he is gone. The last strong-hold of the Big 12. Once Joe-Pa goes, what will the big conference do? Wah-Wah-Wah!

Steve

May 30th, 2011
11:55 am

Good morning Jeff.

I would like to offer a correction. University bookstores are not allowed to sell jerseys with players names on them. I believe they only sell the school jersey with the number being the actual year. For example, this years jersey will be #11.

nevah

May 30th, 2011
11:57 am

As a 1958 Ohio State alumna I can report that my important project of editing the 1957 Ohio State scholarship manual was taken away from me when the recently retired president learned that I had been a newspaper reporter. Does this give readers the sense that the problem at Ohio State endures through many decades?

Steve

May 30th, 2011
11:57 am

As for Jim Tressel, Liar Liar Vest on Fire!

Thank the good Lord Gordon Gee left the SEC.

Got Bling?

May 30th, 2011
11:58 am

I always wondered where A J got his ear bling…..

dawgster

May 30th, 2011
11:59 am

Ok..Hypocrits…come on here and tell us all that is wrong with Coach Richt…Coach Spurrier has once again reinstated QB Garcia on the team…How many times has he been suspended and reinstated…Bottom line is Spurrier has one thing on his mind and that is about wins only…Not sure what Garcia would have to do to be dismissed, and maybe he is really a good kid, but enough chances were given and he chose to repeat his offenses…I think Coach Richt has given extra chances before also, but I believe that has changed dramatatically…go dawgs

Rodney Dangerfield

May 30th, 2011
11:59 am

I have less respect for Gordon Gee than I do Tressel. I haven’t forgot how Gee blasted Boise State and TCU as unworthy of a chance at the NC last year. Not only does Ohio State play a soft schedule with no conference championship, but is crooked also. No respect!