The Ohio State Black Eyes

More punishment is headed Tressel's way. photo

It appears Jim Tressel has walked down the same road as Bruce Pearl.  He may have even stepped in some of Pearl’s footprints along the way.  There haven’t been any details of an infamous cookout in Columbus, but there are a lot of similarities.

Tressel’s missteps may be more egregious.  Ohio State received a notice of allegations from the NCAA notifying them that there could be “potential major violations.”  Tressel “permitted football student athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible.”  It also said he “failed to deport himself with honesty and integrity”, traits he is widely known for, he has written a book entitled “The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life.”  This all came to light when quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four of his teammates sold jerseys, championship rings, and awards and received improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor.  They have been suspended for the first five games of next season.

Tressel chose to play the clueless card.  Eddie Rife, owner of the aforementioned tattoo parlor, had his home raided on April 2, 2010.  Tressel received an e-mail from Christopher Cicero, a Columbus lawyer and former Ohio State walk-on, informing him of this.  That’s when all the sold Buckeye memorabilia was discovered.  When notified of this Tressel said he would “get on it ASAP.”

Tressel forwarded his e-mail to to Ted Sarniak, a Jeanette, PA businessman, and mentor and friend of Terrelle Pryor.  Turns out Sarniak ends up being linked to Eddie Rife, the tattoo parlor owner.  This isn’t the least bit shady at all.  Tressel’s getting on it “ASAP” didn’t involve telling his superiors what was going on.  At some point you would think he would bring his athletic director and president up to speed.  Not so according to Tressel, A.D. Gene Smith and President Gordon Gee, who’s just glad Tressel still employs him, remained in the dark because Tressel claimed he didn’t know who to talk to about the situation.  Heck, even Lane Kiffin in all of his rule skirting, line crossing, envelope pushing glory had to know that Mike Hamilton was the guy he would need to touch base with while he was in Knoxville just like he probably has an idea that Pat Hayden is the guy to talk to at USC.

Kiffin was only in Tennessee for barely a year, Tressel has been in Columbus for ten years, is an Ohio native, and has nothing but love for the school.  He knew who to talk to, and he knew what to do, yet he knowingly covered it up and played players that he knew were ineligible.  He even signed a mandatory school compliance form stating that he had no knowledge of any NCAA violations.

There is one positive for Tressel in all of this.  He finally beat the SEC in  a bowl game.  The guys who shouldn’t have been playing stepped up and made critical plays at critical times.  Of course, Arkansas played 45 minutes of awful football and still almost won, but that’s another story for another day.  They can’t take that away from you Jim, well technically, they can.

It will be interesting to see how hard the NCAA comes down on Tressel and Ohio State.  Fans in Knoxville will see if this plays out the same way the Bruce Pearl situation did.  No doubt Michigan fans will take note as well, because one school’s misfortune is another school’s opportunity.

Agree, disagree, agree to disagree?  It doesn’t matter.  Feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.

About the Author

My name is Vinny Hardy. I'm from Lynch Kentucky. I live in Morristown, Tennessee. My wife Katie and I have been married for 10 years and we have a 2 year old son, Micah. I would like to thank Will West of WNML in Knoxville for urging me to start blogging and the Big Show's very own Terry Hanson for his unbelievable mentoring and support. Without him absolutely none of this is possible. I hope you enjoy the blog. Leave a comment and definitely come back regularly and see what's new.