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One gone, more to go

June 1, 2011
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor (mmathison@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

Now that the long overdue resignation of Jim Tressel as football coach at Ohio State University has taken place, more heads must roll.

It can start with, in no particular order, Terrell Pryor, Gene Smith and Gordon Gee.

All Buckeye fans who are now ripping Pryor are pretty much the same people who cheered him loudly on Saturday afternoons at the Horseshoe or from the comfort of your Lazy Boy when the Scarlet and Gray were out of town.

You applauded and paraded around when he chose your school over Penn State and Michigan and now you want to run him out of town in one of the eight cars he has driven during the last three years.

And, this folks, is going to get worse.

Much worse.

Scholarships will be taken away, as will bowl appearances.

The Buckeyes will soon be on a par with USC.

Understand that Pryor will never take another snap from center again in an Ohio State uniform.

I know you don't care now, but come September when some defensive end is barreling down on some wide-eyed first-year Buckeyes quarterback, you will care a lot.

You will care that those five guys are missing for those five games. And, don't be surprised if they never suit up again for your beloved team.

The NCAA hammer is going to come down hard on Ohio State.

And, once it does, tell me what major name college coach is going to come in and be hamstrung with all the sanctions to coach your team?

Urban Meyer will look hard on that cushy job at ESPN instead of rebuilding a program from possible rags to riches.

Yes, rags.

Once those sanctions come down, Ohio State players will be allowed to leave school by the NCAA to go some other place without sitting out the required year. It happened at USC and will happen in Columbus.

Which Stoops will take the job?

Will Bo Pelini want to leave what he has built at Nebraska to start all over again?

This is going to get ugly.

Period.

The NCAA also has to take a long hard look at itself.

It didn't have a problem declaring those five players eligible in five days last December, so they could play in the farce of the Sugar Bowl.

Think they are rethinking that decision now?

Yep.

This mess is more than five players and more than Tressel.

How in the world does one assistant coach or grad assistant not know what is going on?

How do those guys not ask questions?

And, if they did, why did they go unanswered?

Who didn't answer them?

I'm not sure what further proof the NCAA needs for lack of institutional control if this has been going on since the days of wunder-child Maurice Clarett.

How in the world does Smith, the athletic director, get through this mess unscathed?

He shouldn't.

Smith should also be shown the door.

He backed Tressel until he was backed into a corner and then he kicked the coach out.

The fact that you seemed to do little to really check into this situation from mid-December until that day you were called back from the Final Four, tells me you really didn't want to look into this complete mess.

Because you chose not to do so, this mess piled higher and higher.

"We're very fortunate that we do not have a systemic problem in our program," Smith said in December. "This is isolated to these young men and isolated to this particular instance."

Now, jump off that pile and go pack.

Smith will land on his feet much quicker than Tressel.

If you are going to clean house - clean house.

Gee should be next.

He actually put a panel together to look into how this situation was affecting Ohio State.

Really?

Dude, that answer was a no-brainer, much like asking for Tressel's resignation about 45 days ago.

Your football program is a laughing stock right now and you helped get it there.

You, Gee, did so in that infamous press conference, when you joked that you hoped Tressel wouldn't fire you.

Yeah, really funny.

Now, go pack your stuff.

Luke Fickell, the interim head coach, isn't going to survive this, either. How does the assistant head coach not know what's going on?

How does the assistant head coach turn his head?

How does the assistant head coach not see what Pryor is driving as a member of the car-of-the-month club?

And, seriously, you can say that with every member of the coaching staff.

Come August, Ohio State must answer to the NCAA. Its committee on infractions will review the alleged violations. It has been said that Tressel violated NCAA Bylaw 10.1 - Unethical Conduct three times.

Not once.

Not twice.

Three times.

Three strikes and you're out.

Buckeyes administration will immediately throw Tressel under the proverbial chartered bus in the meeting.

They are going to say that since they got rid of the rogue head coach, their punishment shouldn't be that bad.

They will argue that Tressel is no longer in his Ohio State chair and the program is for the better, even though they spent months doing their best to make sure the coach never left that chair.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

 
 

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