Ohio State is back at it again. It seems like the whole controversy involving Terrelle Pryor and his pals selling their memorabilia was quieting down and then we find out Jim Tressel knew about the whole thing in April, and never said a word. According to Yahoo Sports, Tressel was made aware of the situation and stated he would look into the matter. I guess he didn’t look very hard. Tressel is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or in his case a sweater vest.
Tressel has always been a cheater, and one has to look no further than his history at Youngstown State. When Tressel left Youngstown State for OSU, they were found to have a lack of institutional control, a major violation. His star quarterback at the time was found guilty of taking $10,000 in cash and had been given a car. These aren’t allegations, these are facts. Let’s fast forward to Maurice Clarett. The former star tailback, who led Ohio State to a championship in 2002, said coach Jim Tressel arranged loaner cars for him and that Tressel’s brother, Dick, a Buckeyes assistant coach, found him lucrative, no-show landscaping jobs. Clarett also said boosters slipped him thousands of dollars and his academic adviser selected courses he could pass without having to show up. Tressel issued this response, ”I can say without any reservations that all of the allegations made against me in that story are totally false. Additionally, I have spoken to Dick Tressel and the allegations directed toward him, as the mentor of our summer jobs program, also are false. I would never do anything to tarnish the image of this great game or The Ohio State University.” Really??? He must think outside of Ohio we are all deaf, dumb, and blind. Clarett wasn’t the only former player to accuse Ohio State of impropriety. Marco Cooper, a former linebacker whom the Buckeyes suspended after two drug-possession arrests, told ESPN he received free loaner cars from a local Dodge dealer, free furniture from an Ohio State booster and a $10-to-$12 per hour landscaping job set up through the football office that did not require his attendance. Cooper also said Ohio State’s academic requirements were so flimsy that when he transferred and met with officials at Grambling, they were stunned to see he had been given credits for courses such as officiating basketball and officiating tennis. Troy Smith, Tressel’s quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in 2006, was suspended for the Alamo Bowl at the end of the 2004 season and for the first two games of the 2005 season for taking money from a booster. Is any of this shocking when Jim Tressel is around? He is everything that is wrong with college athletics. His response when the players were caught in December was that this was all news to him, and this was the first he knew of it and that these infractions were reported and dealt with immediately. I guess his idea of immediately is 8 months later. Then we find out this little bit of information in January. The Columbus Dispatch reported on Jan. 2, that Pryor had been “stopped for traffic violations on three separate occasions while driving cars that were owned by a car salesman or a Columbus used-car lot where the salesman worked.” He’d also been allowed to test drive a car for the weekend to his home in Pennsylvania. This isn’t a violation, a local booster loaning out cars to players, just as Maurice Clarett had reported, players being supplied with cars. he doesn’t sound so crazy now, does he.
Now we have Ohio State AD Gene Smith parading out to let us know Tressel will be suspended for the first 2 games of the 2011 season and fined $250,000. Big deal??? Either Tressel lied to AD Smith, or Smith is complicit in the coverup of these violations. I believe the latter. Smith and Tressel are two peas in a pod. One must remember that AD Smith and Tressel successfully lobbied the NCAA in December to allow the 5 players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, No. 2 wide receiver DeVier Posey, All-Big Ten offensive tackle Mike Adams and backup defensive end Solomon Thomas, who were all found guilty of NCAA violations, to be able to play in the Sugar Bowl. The NCAA takes a hit here again. The players could play in the Sugar Bowl because the NCAA stated they didn’t want to deprive them of the “unique opportunity” to play in a bowl game. If the aforementioned players violated NCAA rules didn’t they forfeit the right to this “unique opportunity”. Not to be outdone, the OSU athletic director needed to add his words of wisdom again. “We have a lot of fans going down there,” Smith said. “A lot of fans. You have a lot of people who are committed to this bowl game. I felt that the sanctions that will be served in 2011 will be enough.” In other words, we are “the Ohio State” and are playing in a BCS bowl game in prime time, the rules don’t apply to us. These players will all be suspended for the first 5 games of the 2011 season. Again, Big Deal???
The NCAA needs to come down hard on Ohio State now that these new allegations have come to light, a self imposed two game suspension doesn’t cut it. Tressel and Smith both lied to the NCAA, and tried to cover up major violations. That is a lack of institutional control, and if OSU won’t do the right thing, and fire Tressel, then the NCAA needs to punish them. After these comments from Ohio State President Gordon Gee, who stated the following when asked if he considered firing his coach, “No, are you kidding?” he said with a laugh. “Let me be very clear. I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.” This is funny??? Talk about a complete lack of respect for the rules. They should not be bowl eligible for 2 years and should lose scholarships. There is a whole culture here that needs to change, and unless the NCAA hands down severe penalties for these infractions, there is no deterrent for OSU, or any other university, to follow the rules. The NCAA needs to stand up and be counted, it’s their move….
Rich Rodriguez should get one more year with the Michigan Wolverines football program. Unless of course, Jim Harbaugh is attainable. Michigan AD Dave Brandon has stated he won’t make a decision on his coach until after their bowl game on Jan 1st. Rodriguez will be in limbo until then.
Rodriguez has been under the gun since he took the Michigan job. He wasn’t a “Michigan Man”. Of course Michigan fans forget Bo Schembechler was an assistant to Woody Hayes. That was only the beginning of his problems. One of the first things he did was tell Ryan Mallett he wouldn’t be able to run his system. He immediately tranfered to Arkansas, who is going to a BCS Bowl this year. Mallett will be a top ten pick in this year’s NFL draft. Then OL Justin Boren transfered, to of all places Ohio State, citing a lack of “family values”. The Mallett transfer forced Rodriguez to start sophmore Steve Threet and sophmore Nick Sheridan, who was a WALK ON. Michigan finished 3-9, the worst record in their history. The following season they went with two freshamn QB’s in Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson. Michigan again had a losing season at 5-7. This season Denard Robinson had an oustanding season, although he turned the ball over too much in their losses. Their defense was terrible. I think terrible is an understatement. They couldn’t stop me and a few of my college buddies. They did manage to go 7-5 and to their first bowl game in 3 years. Rich Rod has the offense looking good since he has his type of players running his system. I think they will be fine on that side of the ball. He has done a terrible job recruiting athletes to play defense, and their schemes are awful. Rodriguez needs to be told to fire defensive coordinator Greg Robinson if he is allowed to stay. This has to be non-negotiable. His recruiting has to be better. Michigan has been a perrenial top 10 in recruiting classes. Not since Rich Rod got there. This must improve. There is also the little matter of getting embarassed by Ohio State the last 3 years.
All this being said. Rodriguez has his system in place with his type of athletes, especially on offense. The only coach I would look to replace him with is Jim Harbaugh. He is a “Michigan Man”. He also has a proven track record. Stanford was 4-8 in 2007 and is 11-1 this year. They are going to the Orange Bowl. Harbaugh is, in fact, the perfect fit. Stanford is prepared to offer him an extension, so this could get interesting. As I said, Rodriguez should get another year, unless they can get Harbaugh.