I guess it is time to comment on the troubles at Oho State. I have stayed away from this because they didn't need me adding to what was already a monumental mess. By the way, their troubles are self inflicted, and Ohio State is doing a pretty good job of trashing themselves.
With the resignation of Jim Tressel today, all of you that come to this site for my take on things like this deserve my take on it, so here goes.
I am not suprised that Coach Tressel is gone. There were allegations of wrong doing and violations of rules leaking out every other day. The preponderance of these charges just made it untenable for Ohio State to sit back and do nothing. They were getting hit by left jabs, right crosses, uppercuts, and other punches every day...they needed to stop the bleeding. They put a band aid on the damage by asking Tressell for his resignation.
Lets face it, this is an embarrassment to The Ohio State University. The President, the Athletic Director, and the Board of Trustees, and many alums, saw their University taking hits on a national level as this story went viral. Even the hint of suggestion that Ohio State was an outlaw program was too much for them to stomach. The other sad fact is that there are some members of Buckeye nation that don't care. If you beat Michigan and win games, all is forgiven. Luckily for the Big Ten and Ohio State, those people don't run the University.
The other sad fact is that Tressel knew of these violations, and chose not inform his own bosses, let alone the NCAA, which is required when this kind of thing happens. That decision doomed Tressel to pay the ultimate price. It was the coverup that when revealed, cost Tressel and his reputation.
I find it interesting that everyone is now opining on what Coach Tressels legacy is, given his resignation under these very shady circumstances. Correctly, they point to his winning record, his BCS Bowl appearances, his record against Michigan etc, etc, as his shining gift to Ohio State. I find that short sighted, and superficial. In my opinion, a legacy is a bit more than a won and loss record. Lets ask a question; Did Jim Tressel leave the Ohio State program in better shape than when he arrived? Given what is going on in Columbus with the Buckeye program, the answer to that question is, NO!
The damage is not yet over. At least in my opinion, there will be more revealed about this program in the near future. The NCAA hasn't had their say yet either. If they choose to add a charge of "lack of institutional control," Tressel's indiscretions will put his Athletic Director, and University President on the firing line. If Ohio State should find themselves on NCAA probation, to whatever degree, like victories vacated, or no TV, or no Bowls, or scholarship limits, whatever, what would Tressels legacy be then? Depending on the final resolution of all the verified violations, this could cripple the Ohio State football program for years. That is not the kind of legacy anybody would want.
The suggestion that Tressel did these things, or looked the other way, because he was protecting his kids/players is very hollow to me. Look, it's naiive to think these kids/players did not know that what was going on was against the rules. For the coach to cover it up, to look the other way, when these rules are broken, sets an example to his kids that is hard to defend. Right is right, and wrong is wrong! "Wrong is OK if nobody finds out," is NOT the message I want my coach to deliver. Sorry, in no way does Jim Tressel come out of this thing looking like a monument to honesty, integrity and the American way. There will be some who will try and spin it that way, but, from my view it doesn't hold up.
This whole deal is a black eye to Ohio State, but it is also a black eye to the Big Ten. Think about it. If you are in the Ivory Tower in Chicago at the pent house of the Big Ten offices, the standard bearer in your conference in the most economically important sport on the books has just dropped a bomb on you. The conference is now gearing up for damage control. Thats not exactly what you want on your "things to do list" when you are welcoming Nebraska to your ranks and trying to negotiate bigger and more lucrative media contracts. Nope, this is embarrassing on a lot of levels. Everyone in the league office and league members will find themselves defending the conference because "the rest of us don't do this stuff."
I don't take great joy in writing this, but, it is what it is, and what I just wrote is the way I feel. The speculation of who may be a permanent replacement for Tressel is way too premature. Give interim coach Luke Fickell a chance. Besides, as I said earlier, this is an ongoing story. When it's fully written will be the time to reflect and react.