Tressel resignation not shocking but inevitable
By the powers vested in him, Jim Tressel stepped down from his position as football coach at
The Ohio State University. It isn’t a shot heard round the world, though the resulting Internet chatter would make it appear to be, but it does end the 10-year reign of one of college football’s elite coaches.
We were already aware of allegations that continued to mount as the days rolled on. And with each revelation that surfaced new, the athletic department became strapped with fewer weapons to stave off the heavy hand of enforcement.
Tressel was a round already set in the chamber. And as the bloodhounds came sniffing closer, it was only a matter of time before the trigger was squeezed and projectile expelled.
His resignation was inevitable, with the Buckeyes no longer in a position of if, but when. Rules violations swirled around memorabilia and players past and present, but it was the man designated as the program’s leader that sat in the eye of the storm. His lack of action last fall led to an act of farewell the following spring. It is a timeline of quick descent, pulling him from the pedestal of Columbus demigods to be sacrificed before the NCAA altar. But as some may see forceful surrender as a startling last resort, it’s actually the first major move on the chess board, with expectations of more to come.
As of today, Ohio State’s self imposed package is light. And even with the removal of its head coach, it may not be enough to satisfy the NCAA’s hunger for justice. What remains on the table is a 5-game suspension for players named in the memorabilia selling ring. What hasn’t been offered, as of yet, is a vacation of achievements, being that those players competed for an entire season while ineligible to play. Also not appearing on the menu is a reduction of scholarships, after the program’s leader ignored infractions and allowed offenders to participate.
In comparison, Boise State’s self imposed package is greater for acts less severe. The Broncos have shaved the number of practices before the 2011 season, as well as three scholarships over the next two years. Meanwhile, Ohio State has been indecisive, beginning with a 2-game suspension for its coach, which eventually expanded to 5, before finally forcing him out the door. It’s obviously a penalty process dependant on discovery, and fresh items continue to appear.
When it’s all said and done, Ohio State may be staring at penalties similar to those imposed on USC. But the Buckeyes do have one thing that the Trojans did not, and that’s an athletic department with a relationship with the NCAA, something Mike Garrett’s never had.
Tressel is just the first domino to fall, and we should expect more to follow in coming days. The broom is in motion, sweeping aside any eyesores, in an effort to clean house before the NCAA arrives for inspection.