While fighting off equal parts of sleep and boredom on a slow Memorial Day at work, one of my co-workers scrolling through Facebook mentioned that Jim Tressel had resigned. Naturally, I went right to ESPN and my initial reaction was laughter. Not because I was happy to see him go, but because the little picture they had up in the right hand corner was so comical. The sheepish frown on Tressel’s face made him look like one of the seven dwarfs and had me wondering if the good folks up in Bristol added a hint of Photoshop to it.
After that, I really didn’t feel anything except maybe a bit of relief. This story has been dragging on since early January and has grown like a snowball rolling down a mountain, which is crazy because the resignation briefly made it feel like closure was on the horizon.
As a lifelong Ohio State fan and alumni, I never thought that this would be Tressel’s undoing when the story first broke and it only became a real possibility to me a few weeks ago when he hired a lawyer separate from the university (we know how that worked out for Shyne). The timing of it seemed a little funny and I thought they were trying to give it time to burn out on a slow news day. It couldn’t be that simple though, as reports of OSU trying to cleanse themselves of Tressel before a Sports Illustrated article could blow the floodgates open on the wrongdoings going on at the Horseshoe. Larry Brown Sports was kind enough to provide a Cliff notes version of it but the main points include:
— While at Youngstown State, Tressel helped his star quarterback get out of traffic tickets.
— Terrelle Pryor made no attempt to hide his exchanges of merchandise for tattoos.
— Players traded memorabilia for weed, among other things.
The question now is what’s next for Ohio State? We’ll have to wait until August to see how severe the NCAA sanctions are and who knows what else will come out between now and then. As for Jim Tressel, it’s never good to see a successful coach leave under a cloud of scrutiny, but that seems to be the norm these days in major college sports.