Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jim Tressel's Apologies, Mistakes Will Be Swept Under the Rug

Jim Tressel lied. It's really as simple as that.

Over the last few weeks, I've watched my twitter feed and have seen everything from those who believe the Ohio State head coach should be fired to those who think this is a "non story."

At first, the university wanted to suspend him for only three games until Tressel felt the heat from the media and subsequently put himself on a five-game suspension. The same amount of games his five players were suspended for selling merchandise to Edward Rife, the owner of a tattoo parlor, who at the same time was being investigated for drug trafficking.
Even with Tressel's self-sanctioned suspension, those outside the university couldn't imagine the NCAA would allow him to set his own time away from the sidelines. It would set a bad precedence. Wouldn't it?

During his first press conference, Tressel seemed to be apologizing because he had to not because he truly felt remorse for not telling anyone he knew about his players selling the merchandise more than eight months before the sale took place. It was almost like he couldn't believe this was a big deal.

He wasn't alone as Ohio State fans took to twitter and every other social media outlet to voice their support, claiming people wanted to see him fired.

Um, he lied.

So here was Tressel sitting in front of media cameras right next to athletic director Gene Smith and gave a half hearted attempt at explaining why he never said anything in the first place. Nevermind the fact the US Attorney's office came to Ohio State to let them know the merchandise had been found in Rife's possession during their investigation.

Tressel could have easily come clean right then. He knew full well where the merchandise had come from and he knew who sold it to him. Yet he still remained quiet.

Chris Cicero, a Columbus based attorney and former Ohio State player in the 1980's, emailed Tressel to let him know quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four other teammates had not only sold the items but had received free tattoos from Rife's store.

Tressel was asked about those emails during his first press conference and whether or not he had forwarded them to anyone else. He nodded his head but was cut off by Smith before Tressel could elaborate.

Now we find out Tressel did in fact forward the emails he received from Cicero. In fact, they were forwarded to Ted Sarniak who is the Pryor's mentor and a local businessman in Pryor's hometown of Jeannette, Pennsylvania.

He lied. Again.

So, another press conference was held by Ohio State with Tressel, Smith, and interim head coach Luke Fickell who will take over the coaching duties for the first five games of the 2011 season.

Except this press conference wasn't to address the head coaching lying for the second time in a matter of a few weeks, it was only to address the team's positions heading in to spring practice. Though Tressel did apologize for "letting people down," the school made it clear they would not address the NCAA's ongoing investigation.

What happens from here? Well, popular opinion among those who root for Ohio State and those who see them from afar is this will be swept under the rug, the NCAA will keep the self-imposed five game suspension on Tressel, and we won't hear anything else about it.

There are others who believe this will or should cost the head coach his job but I think we all know that isn't going to happen.

Recruiting violations are a big deal to the NCAA. Lying to them, twice, apparently is not.

This is what we've come to expect from a governing body who does everything but. There will never be another "death penalty" like was levied upon SMU. Something the school is still trying to recover from almost 25 years later.

They won't make an example of Jim Tressel and the school won't fire him. He's too important to both parties.

This will just be a slap on the wrist and a stern, "don't ever do it again."

Follow Todd Kaufmann @T_Kaufmann on Twitter or find him on Facebook

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