Jim Tressel: “The Buck Stops Here”
Following the news of significant NCAA violations and suspensions in 2011 for 5 prominent Ohio State players, Head Coach Jim Tressel and Athletic Director Gene Smith sat down almost immediately to address the media. Unfortunately, the “company line” delivered by these two shows us exactly what is wrong with the Ohio State program in my opinion, and on a larger scale, part of what is wrong with NCAA Football.
As you’ll see in the video below and as you may have already heard, the Buckeyes Brass is deferring all responsibility away from the players and they’re placing ALL blame on themselves. Why?
The reason is two-fold, simple, and disingenuous at best.
1. By taking the blame for what their players did and by saying that they didn’t properly educate the players, it gives credence to the verbiage the NCAA included in their ruling. The NCAA stated that part of the reason they allowed the players to participate in the upcoming Sugar Bowl was because the players weren’t educated and they didn’t know they were violating any rules. We all know this is total BS as the NCAA wants to preserve the ratings and revenues for their precious BCS game and maintain their prosperous relationship with Allstate and avoid setting a dangerous precedent that could affect future advertising deals.
But by going along with this BS, Ohio State is hoping to reduce the penalty by demonstrating that the players made a mistake but it wasn’t their fault. I have no idea if they were told about this particular rule or not and I don’t really care. It’s my opinion that it’s a stupid and selfish thing to do regardless of a specific NCAA rule. To sell your Big Ten championship ring and various awards shows the program, your coach and teammates exactly what it means to you. If I were Jim Tressel and the rest of the teammates, I would take this as a significant insult and sign of complete disrespect. Gene Smith tried to justify the actions by saying that they were selling the items to “help their families” which, I’m sorry, I don’t buy. Pryor, for instance, has thousands of dollars worth of tattoos. That money could have been used to help his family if that were the primary concern.
2. The secondary reason for the Buckeyes Brass taking all the heat on this issue is to try to preserve their relationships with the players and increase the odds of the players staying at Ohio State next season. Obviously, if the NCAA reduces the suspensions to 2 games for example, it would improve the chances of convincing the players to stay on for another year. In addition to just the NCAA suspension, taking the heat and publicly defending them should, in theory, gain favor with the players and improve the chances of having them return. Unfortunately, despite his incredible physical talents, I feel the Buckeyes will much better off once he leaves Columbus.
Here is an excerpt of the press conference: