Good-bye to Jim Tressel
It was a sad day for Ohio State Buckeye fans. Jim Tressel resigned his post as the head coach of the Buckeye’s football team on Memorial Day. I wasn’t surprised. Frankly, I don’t think anyone was. Tressel and Ohio State had been under scrutiny of the NCAA for violating rules and regulations by selling memorabilia and bowl game rings to a local tattoo artist and made deals with a car dealership in Columbus. As the NCAA continued its investigation, it came to light that Tressel was aware of the rules and violations taking place, but had vehemently denied it when approached by the NCAA early in the investigation. After the news broke, Ohio State suspended Tressel for two games in 2011.
Aside from the two game suspension, various players from the Buckeyes, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were suspended for five games. But suspension wasn’t good enough. Other teams have received harsher punishments for breaching NCAA ethical conduct. When the University of Southern California was cited for NCAA violations, the school was excluded from bowl games for two seasons, lost a number of scholarships and were required to relinquish all wins from the 2004 season. Tennessee basketball head coach Bruce Pearl was suspended for eight games for lying about violating NCAA rules. Eventually, Pearl and his staff were fired. So it’s no surprise that after meeting with Ohio State officials, the conclusion that Tressel resign came to fruition.
The saddest part of this decision is not that Ohio State and college football is losing an amazing coach. The saddest part is that a man who has reached esteemed status in the coaching community will not be remembered for his achievements, but for his NCAA violations and eventual resignation.
Let’s recap the impact that Jim Tressel has made on the Buckeyes during his 10 seasons at Ohio State:
1. During Tressel’s 10 seasons at Ohio State his record stands at 103-22 (66-14 in Big Ten play). These numbers could change pending investigations by the NCAA.
2.Under Tressel, the Buckeyes had 10 or more wins in six consecutive seasons.
3. Tressel is the third most winning coach at Ohio State. Had he stayed at Ohio State, he would most likely have surpassed John Cooper who had 111 wins.
4. The Buckeyes were ranked #1 for 14 weeks while Tressel was coach.
5. Tressel led the Buckeyes to a National Championship in 2002-03, a Fiesta Bowl title in 2003-04, an Alamo Bowl title in 2004-05, a Fiesta Bowl title in 2005-06, a Rose Bowl title in 2009-10 (against my beloved Ducks!), and a Sugar Bowl title in 2010-11.
Tressel became one of the most prolific coaches in college football, leading the Ohio State Buckeyes to the National Championship three times (1-2 record) and nabbing six bowl wins in his ten seasons at Ohio State. It’s unfortunate to think that his legacy at Ohio State will be plagued with NCAA violations and lying to the NCAA about infractions to protect his players (and probably himself). Tressel’s decision to step down (albeit a forced resignation) allowed him to keep a little bit of dignity. His resignation will also give Ohio State the chance to rebuild its image and reputation. So amidst the headlines and negative publicity, let’s remember Tressel for what he did for the Ohio State Football Program. Ohio State Buckeye fans are.