Coach Jim Tressel did not direct his players to sell gold pants or trade items for tattoos, but he recruited them. Jim Tressel did not direct his players to betray the team, the program or institution, but he recruited them. Though his motive may have been to protect his players when he chose not to inform President Gordon Gee and Athletic Director Gene Smith about the matter, his choice has made him accountable for unsound judgment.
For Buckeye-haters, know that in the past 110 years, no team has had more winning seasons. Our Bucks were the first team to go 14-0. Ohio State has wins in all the major bowls, but a losing bowl record. Since 1945, two teams OK and TEX have better winning percentages: Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas.
For Buckeye-haters, know that Ohio State stands fifth on the list for all time number of wins. No SEC team is in the conversation. Alabama should crack that mark in the next two seasons but for FLA and LSU, it will take decades.
For Buckeye-haters, know that Ohio State won its first national championship under the legendary Paul Brown, who invented modern football, when Army and Notre Dame dominated college football during World War II and the post war years.
For Buckeye-haters, know that Ohio State could have a dozen national championships, easily. The team lost decisive games in 2010, 2007, 2006, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1980, 1974, 1973, 1971, and 1969. Currently, the Buckeyes are tied with Nebraska for five undisputed national championships, behind Notre Dame, Alabama and USC.
For Buckeye-haters, know that the Bucks were out-coached by Urban Meyer; the Bayou Bungles played a home game. Come north in November and play Big Boy football in the cold.
Finally, for Buckeye-haters, know that we have Archie Griffin.
Ohio State football: More memorabilia exchanged than previously disclosed
THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011 10:36 AM
BY JILL RIEPENHOFF AND MIKE WAGNER
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Transactions between Ohio State football players and a tattoo-parlor owner are far more extensive than previously made public by OSU officials.
A letter sent by the U.S. Department of Justice on Dec. 7, which was obtained by The Dispatch today, shows that suspected drug dealer Ed Rife bought or traded for tattoos 36 different football-related items since 2008.
However, only some of the transactions were considered violations by the NCAA, which suspended five players for five games of the 2011 season for improper benefits and preferential treatment.
“There may be items in this letter that do not constitute NCAA violations,” OSU spokesman Jim Lynch said this morning in explaining why all the items were not previously disclosed. “The NCAA had this exact list as they prepared their notice of allegations.”
In the letter, the Justice Department said, “There is no allegation that any of these players were involved in or had knowledge of Mr. Rife’s drug-trafficking activities.”
On Monday, Ohio State made public the NCAA charges against coach Jim Tressel, who knew since last spring about his players selling memorabilia and getting deals on tattoos but failed to report the violations to his bosses or the NCAA.
The NCAA considers the case against the players closed unless new information is discovered. The case against Tressel, however, is ongoing.
In the notice of allegations delivered to Ohio State Friday, the NCAA listed 14 different items that quarterback Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Daniel Herron, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas sold or traded to Rife, the West Side tattoo-parlor owner who is the focus of an ongoing federal drug investigation.
Those items included five Big Ten championship rings, three “gold pants” awards, two pairs of pants, a watch, a helmet, a jersey and a pair of cleats.
The Justice Department said in its Dec. 7 letter that it intended to sell the property it confiscated in the May 1 raid at Rife’s house.
“We want to make certain that neither The Ohio State University nor the players involved claim any ownership interest in the items being seized,” the letter said.
The letter included seven pages of OSU-related memorabilia taken from Rife’s house. Several items he purchased on ebay such as a 2003 National Championship ring that he bought for $7,000.
Rife also received six items as gifts from current football players whose names were blacked out by Ohio State citing the federal student-privacy law. Those items included shoes, a Rose Bowl plaque, a helmet, and other memorabilia.
NCAA rules do not prohibit athletes from giving away memorabilia.
One player gave Rife four passes to the 2010 Rose Bowl and his watch in exchange for a 2003 Tahoe, which Rife purchased for $3,500.
Other memorabilia listed in the letter that was not mentioned in the NCAA’s notice of allegations include a 2008 national championship ring; several game jerseys that were autographed; and pants worn during a Fiesta Bowl.
The financial transactions between Rife and the players total more than $14,000. The largest cash deal involved a 2008 championship ring he bought for $1,500.
In exchange for game-worn gloves, he gave the players free tattoos.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
Tressel did what he did with the best of intentions.
It DOES matter if he was doing it to protect his players. Not to the NCAA, for sure. But it identifies his motivation as much less sinister, his ego as much less enormous. And his punishment as deserving of being much less severe. As well as public opinion.
These coaches don’t live in a perfect world today. Many of their best players come out of ghetto and near-ghetto home from broken families. Their moral barometer and the NCAA’s are vitally different. Coaches are too often caught in the middle, between kids hungry for a little cash to spend & anxious to get it no matter how, and the NCAA’s strict rules and rigid procedures.
The NCAA’s handling of the Cam Newton’s father situation has placed them in a severely disingenuous postion as an enforcer. They’ve become a two faced dragon, even as they try to sort out Tressel’s own two faced behaviours. It’s fair to speculate Tressel had never come up against such a dilemna in his career as this one. He is a good man, national press be damned, who clearly made a bad decision. I believe his loyalty to his players, which you can never challenge, caused him to go down a road he now wishes he had never taken. But protecting his players by taking the chance of having to fall on his own sword is an act often mytholigized in folk lore as courageous, not cowardly. Tressel at least deserves the benefit of the doubt til proven otherwise.
Motives do have some weight in deciding punishment in a fair society.
A truly outstanding response. Thanks to Buddha for putting thoughfulness ahead of hateful reaction by those who have neither the capabiltiy or the guts to “put it on the line” week after week before a crowd that won’t stand for anything less than 100%.
More memorabilia ……BUT IT WASNT AN NCAA VIOLATION. So geniuses, that means its not more lies, its not more fraud, its not more falsehoods(which last time I checked was a synonym for “lies”)
Sarniak has been looked at before. He had no connections to OSU, and wasn’t given Pryor gifts, therefore it came up clean.
And to say the whole Tressel era is a fraud because of this one event is a “falsehood” promoted by losers like Michigan fans who want to rationalize the sad impotent state of thier football program.
An isolated incident…
375 minor violations…leads the nation
Lying filthy cheat of a coach whose slime trail leads all the way back to ysu.
oLIEo st admin sold their soul to the devil when they brought the proven cheater in. And it was the relentless poundings administered yearly by the Meeeechigan Wolverines that brought them to the devil’s den.
Those beatings are about to resume.
Thee oLIEo st u….too funny!!!
Give Tressel the boot
By Grant Freking
Published: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Updated: Monday, March 14, 2011 21:03
The NCAA shouldn’t suspend Jim Tressel for more than two games. It shouldn’t fine him more than $250,000. It shouldn’t bar him from spring practice and summer workouts.
After it finishes its investigation, the NCAA should recommend Jim Tressel’s termination as head football coach at The Ohio State University.
This incident is further proof that college athletics is spinning out of control, and a message needs to be sent to university presidents and athletic directors who let rule-breaking coaches keep their jobs because they win games and sell tickets.
And that’s exactly why Tressel, who said he never considered resigning, didn’t tell the athletic department that he had received an e-mail from an attorney indicating OSU football players were selling memorabilia to Edward Rife. Rife, the owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor, is one of the focal points of a federal drug investigation.
Tressel’s contract states that he is bound to report any possible violation immediately.
When Regular Joe with a normal job breaches his contract, he gets the boot.
So should The Vest.
“I am sorry and disappointed this happened,” Tressel said. “At the time the situation occurred, I thought I was doing the right thing.”
Doing the right thing? Surely a deeply religious man with a newly released book titled “Life Promises for Success: Promises from God on Achieving Your Best” knows the difference between right and wrong.
Or does he?
Maurice Clarett and Troy Smith, the highest-profile players of the Tressel era other than current Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were both suspended for accepting improper benefits. Tressel also had a player do the same thing at Youngstown State.
It’s clear that Tressel, also author of “The Winner’s Manual,” wants to win at all cost. The mantra is shared by athletic director Gene Smith and university President E. Gordon Gee, who make up the university’s “Big Three.”
When asked whether he considered firing Tressel, Gee gave a clear indication of who actually runs the university.
“No, are you kidding?” Gee said with a laugh. “Let me be very clear: I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”
I rest my case.
At this point OSU has given Tressel a slap on the wrist. The NCAA should break his arm.
From the Ohio State Lantern:
Finally, a courageous OSU student calls for Tressel’s firing. I commend you, and agree 100%.
Wed Mar 23 2011 23:36
Many facts of the case are still not public. Many of us are following this case through media outlets. These outlets at times fail to disclose all pertinent information or, mitigating circumstances. Only when the rules committee and the athletic director are satisfied all information has been presented should public judgment be made.
I will hold my judgment until a complete investigation is published.
Thu Mar 24 2011 15:18
Go Blue forever
Silly, silly OSU fans. Great article Grant, to say things that need to be said. And to have a standard that most of these yahoos will never understand. Maybe if The Senator had them, this article would not exist.
Sat Mar 19 2011 17:15
I am a Michigan fan, but if a Michigan coach had done the same thing, I would be in favor of firing him also. Tressel may be perceived as a “good man”, but in my opinion, he operates as many so-called ministers; presenting a “holier than thou” public image while doing his dirty work under cover. I am not saying this as a Michigan fan, but as a football fan who believes that the sport has spiraled out of control because of the money involved in its operation. My empathy to the players and others involved in the program who play the game with dignity. I may be from the old school, but I would rather lose playing byt he rules than win by fraud.
Fri Mar 18 2011 08:24
If a student violated the honor code as blatantly as Tressel has the NCAA code, would they get the same laughing reception and wrist slap that OSU’s AD gave Tressel?
Fri Mar 18 2011 08:38
Walter “Keb” Leeman
Tressel is one of the finest coachs in the Nation. OSU will go a long time before they will get as fine a man to teach young men after Jim Tressel.
Wed Mar 16 2011 23:58
Ken “Kenny G” Glonek
It’s amazing there are this many haters of a man I totally respect.
I’m a Buckeye fan through and through. I even have a picture of Woody Hayes hanging in my office, and proudly wear my “Clarett” jersey around the house.
Thu Mar 10 2011 07:38
As an Ohio State student, it’s easy for me to see what the reasoning is behind the lack of punishment by the school, the laughing off the serious allegations by our school president, and the absence of humility by the school. The Ohio State University is about one thing, and one thing only; money. Jim Tressel runs a program for this university which is a revenue stream, and a large one at that. Ohio State has one of the few athletic programs in the country that is completely self funded. If you think for one second they are going to throw him aside in the name of moral falterings, you are sorely mistaken. This university is absolutely run as a business, and it’s times like this that it shows. This is no different than a senior executive at a fortune 500 company getting caught doing something wrong. The company says they will take measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again to please their shareholders (in this case fans), but all they are really doing is telling him, “Hey you messed up, no big deal. We just have to make it look good so no one makes us out to be the bad guy. Everything’s alright.” I hope the NCAA has a field day with this situation.
Thu Mar 10 2011 07:17
It’s about time someone at east one Columbus journalist called a liar, a liar. Kudos!
Thu Mar 10 2011 06:37
More troubling news for Jim Tressel, OSU
By Adam Rittenberg
Jim Tressel violated NCAA rules by not sharing emails that warned his players were in trouble with officials at Ohio State.
But the Buckeyes’ coach reportedly didn’t keep the information all to himself.
The Columbus Dispatch reports Friday thatTressel forwarded emails from a Columbus attorney to Ted Sarniak described as a mentor to Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The emails stated that Pryor and an Ohio State teammate had been selling memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor owner under federal investigation.
Jim Tressel forwarded emails about his players’ troubles to Columbus attorney Ted Sarniak, who has a relationship with Terrelle Pryor, but not to OSU officials.
Tressel nodded when asked at a March 8 news conference if he had shared the emails with anyone. He didn’t elaborate — athletic director Gene Smith quickly swooped in — because the NCAA is still investigating the case.
Ohio State didn’t confirm Tressel’s forwarded emails, telling The Dispatch it won’t comment until the NCAA investigation is over. The school’s compliance director, Doug Archie, acknowledged Pryor’s relationship with Sarniak, saying the businessman from Pryor’s hometown of Jeannette, Pa., was the quarterback’s contact person during recruiting but isn’t considered a booster.
“Mr. Sarniak and Terrelle Pryor have been friends for a number of years, and their friendship dates back prior to Terrelle’s enrollment at Ohio State,” Archie said in an email to The Dispatch. “As the friendship developed, Mr. Sarniak is someone who Terrelle has reached out to for advice and guidance throughout his high-school and collegiate career.”
Archie said the university thoroughly examined the relationship between Sarniak and Pryor before the nation’s top college recruit arrived on campus as a freshman in 2008.
“The university continues to monitor the association between the two in case any concerns arise,” Archie said.
Sources said that Sarniak has served as Pryor’s mentor at the request of his family, and Tressel thought that Sarniak could help counsel the quarterback after Tressel realized that Pryor was among the players involved with a man under federal investigation.
This development doesn’t help Tressel or Ohio State as the NCAA continues to investigate the case. It brings a new person into the equation, someone outside the program whose connection to Pryor will be closely examined (despite Ohio State’s vetting). You’re probably going to hear a lot more about Sarniak. Pryor’s high school coach, Ray Reitz, tells The Dispatch: “Teddy has done a lot for Terrelle, and Terrelle has done a lot for Teddy.”
It still amazes me that Tressel didn’t share any of this with his Ohio State colleagues, seemingly trying to diffuse the problem quietly. Perhaps he really thought this would never come to light, despite knowing about the federal investigation.
Unfortunately for Tressel, this story is far from over, and the NCAA will be under pressure to hit the coach with strong penalties for his behavior.
Posted: April 27
Updated: Today at 2:40 AM
OSU still pandering to Tressel TIM DAHLBERG OPINION
The sweater vest was gone, replaced by military-style camouflage as Jim Tressel prowled the sideline Saturday in Ohio State’s annual spring game.
An odd uniform to be sure, even on military appreciation day. There was no truth to the rumor that university President E. Gordon Gee was ready in the locker room to shine Tressel’s boots if they got dirty.
You might remember Gee for his part in a farcical news conference last month where Tressel got his hand formally slapped by the university for NCAA violations. Gee was the one who almost gagged at the suggestion that he might fire the football coach for his transgressions.
“Are you kidding?” Gee said. “Let me just be very clear: I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”
Funny guy, that Gee. Nothing like a little humor to help keep the sweater from unraveling even more.
But you have to wonder who’s laughing now.
Certainly not the NCAA, which served notice Monday that it was going after Tressel for withholding information and lying so that his star players could remain eligible. Included in a harshly worded 13-page letter sent to the university were charges that the coach “failed to deport himself … (with) honesty and integrity.”
Surely not Tressel, either. He’s now, at least in the eyes of the NCAA, both a liar and a cheat and there may come a time soon where even the university president who adores him so much may not be able to save him.
The real problem for Tressel is that it’s all very clear cut. There isn’t any ambiguity about what happened, only what might happen because of it.
Already, Ohio State will be without its star quarterback and four other players for the first five games of next season. Tressel won’t be on the sideline, either, after extending the university’s original two-game suspension of him to five games in a supposed gesture of solidarity with his players.
But it goes farther than that. Tressel is now damaged goods and the Ohio State football program has also been badly wounded. Fans may still back the man who brought the Buckeyes their first national title in 34 years, but the parents of 18-year-old recruits may think twice about entrusting the future of their sons with a man who clearly has some issues in the character department.
Consider that Tressel knew he was doing something wrong himself when he said late last year that his players must have known they did something wrong by selling jerseys, Big Ten championship rings and other memorabilia to the operator of a tattoo parlor.
“I suppose that would be something rattling around inside the head of each of them individually,” he said at the time. “We all have a little sensor within us, ‘Well, I’m not sure if I should be doing this.’ ”
Apparently that little sensor malfunctioned in Tressel, especially on Sept. 13 of last year. That’s when he dated and then signed his name on a one-page NCAA form that declared he had reported any violations he knew of to his superiors.
At that point, Tressel not only knew about the memorabilia sales by quarterback Terrelle Pryor and others, but had made numerous phone calls and sent emails to other people about it. Even after Pryor and the others were punished, it wasn’t until confronted with the emails in January that Tressel admitted to NCAA and school officials that a violation had occurred.
And this from a coach who preaches responsibility and integrity in his book, “The Winners Manual For The Game of Life.”
Tressel might try reading the book himself, especially where he quotes Longfellow as saying: “It takes less time to do the right thing than to explain why you did it wrong.”
Trouble is, Tressel hasn’t spent much time explaining what he did wrong. At the same March 8 news conference where Gee and athletic director Gene Smith were declaring their undying loyalty to the 10-year coach, Tressel never admitted to anything other than poor judgment and never apologized for knowingly breaking the rules.
With the arrogance only a $3.5 million a year football coach can muster, he declared he was his own biggest critic and that “I don’t think less of myself at this moment.”
Others are beginning to think less of Tressel, though, and the NCAA is not done with him yet. The tone of Monday’s letter suggests there will be penalties greater than Tressel’s five-game suspension, and they could be aimed at Tressel himself.
By then, maybe the higher-ups at Ohio State will figure out there are other football coaches who can beat Michigan, too. They’ll send Tressel packing and find a coach who can win without having to lie.
But probably not until the university president is done shining Tressel’s boots.