Question of the Day: What will and should Ohio State do about Jim Tressel? [Updated]
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel, who has been accused by the NCAA of withholding information and lying to keep Buckeyes players on the field who accepted improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor.
Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
The Jim Tressel question comes down to this: Should one monumental screw-up end his reign? I’d be willing to give The Vest a second chance if he’d finally fess up about why he lied to the NCAA and failed to inform superiors that some players had traded their reputations for tattoos.
It wasn’t that he was “scared” about an investigation involving the FBI. Tressel hid the truth because he didn’t want his players suspended and thought he could get away with it.
Ohio State, though, will have to pull the plug if the NCAA treats the school as a repeat offender and decides to take away scholarships, TV time and victories from 2010. That stain will be too strong for Tressel to blot out.
[Updated at 10:54 p.m.:
Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times
Ohio State blew its chance to do "something" about Jim Tressel when it staged a dog-and-pony press conference in March after the initial charges came out and fawned all over the Buckeyes coach.
Remember? President Gordon Gee said he was lucky Tressel didn't fire him. Ohio State should have come down hard on Tressel then instead of suspending him only two games, only later accepting Tressel's offer to accept the same five-game suspension his players received for the 2011 season. Athletic Director Gene Smith gushed about Tressel in March, but now he says he can't comment on the NCAA indictment against his coach and his school.
Ohio State has lost all credibility on the Tattoo-Gate issue, and now it's up to the NCAA to clean up the mess by suspending Tressel at least one year and mandating Ohio State vacate all victories from 2010. The leaders lost their chance to lead, and now Ohio State's only choice is to follow the NCAA to the Aug. 12 hearing in Indianapolis.
Bill Kline, the Morning Call
Good thing for Jim Tressel that he always beats Michigan, that he’s won his last two BCS bowl games and that his program brings in $70 million annually. Otherwise, by now Ohio State would have fired him.
And he should be fired. He’s had issues in the past (see Maurice Clarett and see Youngstown State). And now, he’s lied to the NCAA. Ohio State should teach its 53,000 students that character matters (as Notre Dame did when it dumped George O’Leary after he fabricated parts of his résumé). Instead, Ohio State merely will extend Tressel’s existing suspension to an entire year.
Meanwhile, just in case the NCAA insists that Tressel go away forever, the Buckeyes will be stashing some of that football cash for a certain Ohio native by the name of Urban Meyer.]
Photo: Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel. Credit: Jay LaPrete / Associated Press