Sports Illustrated reveals Tressel’s lengthy, reportedly dirty history

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As it turns out, Harold Camping wasn’t completely wrong about the date of the rapture; he was a week or so early and the day of judgement was merely quarantined to Columbus, Ohio.

And the rapture was swift.

It took months of building, but it was over before anyone had a chance to realize what had happened. Jim Tressel, after 10 seasons as one of Ohio State’s most successful coaches next to Woody Hayes, was forced to resign. While the resignation happened much sooner than anyone had reasonably expected, rumblings of a Sports Illustrated reveal last week might have been the final thread holding Tressel’s sweater vest intact.

“I’m told it is likely my SI mag story will be posted at SI.com later today/tonight. Timing of Tress dec[ision]. will make sense after you read it,” article author George Dohrmann tweeted earlier today.

And it does make sense that Tressel was forced to resign given his history. Boy, does it ever.

The in-depth look into Tressel’s history of NCAA shortcomings, which can be read HERE, paints a  jumbled picture of priorities and ethics that would make even Picasso scratch his head in confusion.

“Yet while Tressel’s admirable qualities have been trumpeted, something else essential to his success has gone largely undiscussed,” the article states. “his ignorance.”

It starts with Ohio State’s most recent allegations surrounding the six Buckeye players who sold memorabilia items for discounted tattoos and other impermissible benefits. That was just the beginning.

“SI learned that the memorabilia-for-tattoos violations actually stretched back to 2002, Tressel’s second season at Ohio State, and involved at least 28 players — 22 more than the university has acknowledged. Those numbers include, beyond the six suspended players, an additional nine current players as well as nine former players whose alleged wrongdoing might fall within the NCAA’s four-year statute of limitations on violations.

“One former Buckeye, defensive end Robert Rose, whose career ended in 2009, told SI that he had swapped memorabilia for tattoos and that “at least 20 others” on the team had done so as well. SI’s investigation also uncovered allegations that Ohio State players had traded memorabilia for marijuana and that Tressel had potentially broken NCAA rules when he was a Buckeyes assistant coach in the mid-1980s.”

Dohrmann also explores Tressel’s management between then-quarterback Ray Issac and Mickey Monus, a wealthy school trustee and the founder of the Phar-Mor chain of drug stores, while Tressel was with Youngstown State. According to the report, upward of 13 players were illegally holding jobs at Phar-Mor and Issac, in addition to collecting roughly $10,000 in cash from Monus, was also driving a car provided by Phar-Mor.

Tressel was aware of the car. At times, Isaac told SI, he asked the coach for help in getting out of traffic tickets. “He’d slot out two hours to meet and say, ‘Ray, I need you to read this book and give me 500 words on why it’s important to be a good student-athlete,'” Isaac says. Afterward the ticket would sometimes disappear, which, if Tressel intervened, would be an NCAA infraction.”

Less than a year before Tressel took the job with Ohio State, Youngstown State announced self-imposed sanctions, including the loss of two scholarships.

At Ohio State, Tressel reportedly turned a blind eye to former running back Maurice Clarett and quarterback Troy Smith, both of whom received improper benefits from boosters.

“The Clarett and [Robert Q.]Baker scandals were further evidence that Tressel was, at best, woefully ignorant of questionable behavior by his players and not aggressive enough in preventing it. At worst, he was a conduit for improper benefits, as Clarett alleged,” the article accuses.

Clarett, Smith, Pryor — the list goes on.

In the end, even if a portion of the reports in the SI article are true, Tressel deserved to be fired. Because, let’s face it, it’s doubtful he resigned by his own accord.

But among the myriad of allegations and accusations of wrongdoings, the fact of the matter is that Jim Tressel lied to the NCAA. And however misguided and bureaucratic the NCAA is, a coach simply can’t do that.

No matter how much a man of character he is proclaimed to be.