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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Tressel’

Compare and Contrast 3 N.C.A.A. Rulings

The comparison is inevitable, and only natural. We now have three recent N.C.A.A. rulings at our disposal: U.S.C., from June of 2010; Ohio State, from last December; and U.N.C., with the latter’s Public Infractions Report hitting the wires yesterday afternoon. As a quick reminder:

U.S.C. Impermissible benefits and amateurism violations stemming from Reggie Bush’s relationship with the financiers behind the now-defunct New Era Sports agency, as well as the school’s failure to report said violations, led the N.C.A.A. to cite the university for a lack of institutional control. As a result, the N.C.A.A. penalized U.S.C. 30 scholarships over the next three years and handed out a two-year postseason ban.

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    The Year in Review: Ohio State (6-7, 3-5)

    Not that Luke Fickell didn’t have his hands full. And not that this wasn’t one of the youngest Ohio State teams in recent memory. And not that the team, planning on having Terrelle Pryor and company in the fold in time for the heart of Big Ten play, wasn’t thrown a loop when the old guard — DeVier Posey, for example — didn’t ride into town and save the day in October. But there’s one fact that can’t be ignored: Not counting the forfeited season of 2010, Ohio State finished with a losing record for the first time since 1988 and for only the second time since 1967. The slide was inevitable, perhaps, and so was the glee with which it was greeted by the rest of the Big Ten. Here’s guessing that Ohio State will have the last laugh.

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      A Disconnect Between 2 N.C.A.A. Rulings

      Scenario A: One player at a B.C.S. conference program accepts wide-ranging impermissible benefits. In response, the N.C.A.A. docks this program 30 scholarships over the following three years and a two-year postseason ban.

      Scenario B: Multiple players accept impermissible benefits at another B.C.S. conference program. In addition, it is discovered that the school’s head coach not only had knowledge of the rule breaking but denied all such knowledge – covered up the information, even. For that, the N.C.A.A. docks the program nine scholarships over the following three years with a one-year postseason ban.

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        No. 17: Ohio State

        So, to recap. In December, five players are suspended for the first five games of 2011 for selling jerseys, pants, rings — just receiving improper benefits, in short. Ohio State goes on to win the Sugar Bowl with these five in place, which some people take umbrage with. In March, it is first reported that then-coach Jim Tressel knew of these N.C.A.A. violations nearly a year before but didn’t report them to the N.C.A.A. or his own university. Tressel is suspended for the first two games of 2011 — later raised to five games — and fined $250,000. In April, the N.C.A.A. releases its Notice of Allegations; Tressel doesn’t come off well. Tressel resigns on May 30, leading O.S.U. to name Luke Fickell the interim coach for the 2011 season. In June, would-be senior quarterback Terrelle Pryor decides to forego his final season of eligibility. That same month, O.S.U. vacates its 2010 results and goes on two year of self-imposed probation. Did I miss anything?

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          Is Tressel an Aristotelian Tragic Hero?

          I thought Michigan’s Brady Hoke had the best quote from today’s Big Ten festivities, when he responded with incredulity to a question about whether Michigan was rebuilding: “I don’t think we’re rebuilding. Period. I mean, we’re Michigan.” That’s the sort of confidence the Wolverines need after three disastrous seasons under Rich Rodriguez. But the quote of the day came from Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, who uttered the following when asked about one of his mentors, Jim Tressel:

          “Every person he’s come in contact with as a player and a coach, he’s made a positive impact on their lives. To me, it’s tragic. He becomes a tragic hero in my respect, in my view. Usually tragic heroes have the ability to rise above it all in the end and that’s what I’ll look for in the end.”

          Jim Tressel, tragic hero?

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            Tressel’s Self-Inflicted Legacy

            Jim Tressel famously introduced himself to Ohio State at a men’s basketball game in early 2001, telling the assembled audience that fans would “be proud of our young people, in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Mich., on the football field.” It was a banner quote for a first-year coach, one that underlined typical coach-speak about staying on the straight and narrow off the field while promising success where his predecessor, John Cooper, had failed: against the hated Wolverines. At least Tressel followed through on one of his promises; it was the most important promise to a single-minded fan base obsessed with winning at all costs, but it wasn’t enough.

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              Following, But Not That “Blindly”

              The talented individuals at Eleven Warriors do admit that polls like the one along this post are flawed, as readers can vote as many times as they want; readers can opt to abstain from voting altogether; and those with an ulterior motive — say, a Michigan fan — might come in and skew the results. But the voting on this poll, held on the Eleven Warriors Web site, does suggest, albeit with a small sample size, that Ohio State fans don’t “blindly” support Jim Tressel, as Kirk Herbstreit has suggested.

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                Let’s Get This Out of the Way

                Let’s just do this and get it out of the way, alright? Call me crazy, but I find coaching innuendo far more entertaining at the non-marquee F.B.S. stops – tossing around names for a Vanderbilt, as we’ve done in the past, involves more thought and conversation than does the same action for an Ohio State, as I’ll do after the jump. Why is that? Maybe it’s because Ohio State – or another major power, by and large – will identify a small handful of big names early, and more often than not will get its man. Where’s the fun in that?

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.