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Tressel lost more than his word in this fiasco

March 11, 2011
By MIKE MATHISON

Did Jim Tressel deserve to be fired?

Don't know and don't care.

But, his reputation and record against Michigan I would guess sure helped him stay as the Ohio State football coach.

But, his reputation and testimony took a hit with the recent problems.

A big hit.

"Admittedly I probably did not give quite as much thought to the potential NCAA part of things. My focus was on the well-being of the young people. Also it was very emphatic that there be confidentialitythat confidentiality was critical," Tressel said.

You see, Tressel still needs to sit in someone's house, talk to someone's mom or grandmother and convince them that he is the coach to watch over their child for the next four or five years.

He's the one who has everything at stake.

Agreed, so do the Buckeyes administration, but they, once again, have placed all their football eggs in Tressel's basket.

I don't blame them.

But, he has things to overcome now. None of us ever thought he would put himself in this position.

None.

His reasoning for doing what he did is like the house built upon the sand.

What he did is between he and God, he and the administration.

Personally, I don't care what he did.

My son will not play football for him.

Remember, what Tressel did what not a mistake.

It was a choice and a series of them.

But, his life is forever different, forever changed.

"I probably - or definitely - didn't move forward with this information to anyone simply because in my mind I couldn't think as to who that best would be, with the seriousness of what was discussed in the e-mails and the confidentiality component," he said.

Ohio State can no longer claim they are above reproach when it comes to NCAA standards.

They cannot be high-and-mighty over SEC schools, or ACC schools or Big 12 schools or other Big 10 schools.

The Buckeyes are not USC, but they are not Dartmouth, either.

The NCAA cannot just sit idly by, either.

The powers-that-be really need to put the hammer down on Tressel and add to his two-game suspension, which is a joke.

The guy who is supposed oversee the football program, know the rules and try to keep athletes on the straight and narrow cannot get a suspension three games lighter than they players.

I say Tressel get suspended for the final seven games.

I say Tressel coaches the first five games without the five players and then sits out the final seven games.

So, instead of The Vest missing home games with Akron and Toledo, he misses Big 10 games with Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Penn State and Michigan.

That is punishment.

The hypocrite machine that is the NCAA needs to actually make a statement here.

It's bad enough the governing body allowed the five Buckeyes players to suit up and play against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

But, now that is has come out that Tressel knew of these shenanigans eight months before it hit the press, the NCAA must take gavel to hardwood with force.

The early story was that Tressel might lose his job. I don't think that was ever in the works.

Athletic Director Gene Smith and Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee backed Tressel, as they should, since they kept him on staff.

That doesn't mean they really like what he did because they don't.

But, you back your people while kicking them in the backside.

Tressel said his biggest concerns were the safety of his players and keeping his pledge of confidentiality to the attorney who first alerted him of the problem.

Gee said, "Coach Tressel and I had an extended conversation about this. We sat in my house for about three hours and discussed this issue. I can tell you there is a great deal of grief in this man. By that I mean he feels very sorry about this and this is very difficult for him because this is a man by every fiber and by every action who believes in the law of integrity.

"This university is very committed to this coach. This university president is very committed to this coach."

And the NCAA should commit itself to throwing the book at Tressel.

There is still talk of 11 Big East basketball teams making it to the NCAA tournament come Selection Sunday.

The Big East is overrated.

Period.

Villanova should not make the tournament.

Neither should Georgetown.

Villanova is 5-10 in its last 15 and has lost five in a row. That's not tournament material, especially losing to a barely mediocre USF team by one in the conference tournament.

The Hoyas have lost five of six since Chris Wright went down and its only win was by 6 over that same USF team.

The referees who choked the final seconds of the Rutgers game against St. John's should have stepped away from participating in the conference tournament.

It was their only choice.

You see, they didn't make mistakes, either.

They made choices and terrible ones.

Three officials watched a Rutgers player get mauled in the lane and not make a call. Three officials then watched some guy step out of bounds, travel and throw the ball in the stands, all with 1.7 seconds left in the game.

At the very least, the kid throwing the ball in the stands was a technical foul - ask the Louisville cheerleader.

Those three quit blowing their whistles in the final 20 seconds and should be ashamed of how that game ended.

That game, right there, is why officials cannot just let the final 20 seconds of a game play out without officiating it.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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