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The Sweater Vest and His Trangressions

March 24, 2011


Though this is a topic most thought I would have commented on a long time ago since he is the namesake of my blog, I have been hesitant to comment because if I say anything short of “Tressel is a scumbag and should be fired immediately” I will be undoubtedly be labeled as a homer. After much consideration I have decided the topic is just too big to stay away from.

      By now everyone knows what Tressel did. He did not report information that was forwarded to him by a Columbus lawyer about Terrelle Pryor and DeVier Posey selling their game worn equipment and other items to an owner of a tattoo parlor who was busted in a drug sting. It turned out that 5 players were involved in the selling of equipment/awards. Four of them were found to have also received discounted tattoos from the same parlor.

      Tressel’s explanation for his behavior was he was told by the lawyer who forwarded him this information that this was to be kept in confidence. The problem with that is the email saying that came two weeks after the original emails came to Tressel. Tressel signed a letter that all coaches must sign before the football season saying that all of the players on the roster were in good standing eligibility wise. During the subsequent investigation that happened later in the football season, Tressel did not come forward with this information. It was uncovered during the review of Tressel’s emails on a separate investigation.

       Tressel not coming forward after he received the first email cannot be explained away and is definitely a violation. Tressel’s subsequent failure to come forward he attributes to the email that said keep this information in confidence.  If you are in the camp that buys that Cam Newton did not know that his dad was shopping him around the SEC for cash, then you probably excuse Tressel for not coming forward because of the email saying that the information was to be kept in confidence. I happen to believe that Cam new what his father was doing, and I also believe that Tressel used the email asking for the information to be kept in confidence as a convenient out to not come forward.

     No one is really debating that what Tressel did was wrong. The debate stems over what his punishment should be. I have heard everything from the two game suspension was enough; to he should be fired immediately. I personally think that the 5 game suspension that matches the players is about right. If the NCAA threw in that he could not coach spring practice I would understand. I have heard people say that the 5 game suspension is a slap on the wrist. I don’t see how missing almost 50% of the season is an insignificant punishment. If you suspended a college basketball coach for 16 games, I don’t think anyone would say that was a slap on the wrist. Make no mistake; Tressel is one of the best coaches at game management and making halftime game plan adjustments. If you wanted to go back and take away the wins from the 2010 season, I wouldn’t argue with that either.

   One of the more curious arguments that I have heard is that Tressel is at fault for the players that committed the violations playing in the sugar bowl. Neither Tressel nor tOSU had anything to do with the length of the player suspensions or when they were to be served. I don’t know of any football coach in America that would have sat down players that were found to be eligible to play by the NCAA.

    The final point I wanted to tackle on this topic was the comparisons that people are making between Tressel and Bruce Pearl. Tressel committed one violation. Pearl gave false information about a cookout that took place at his house with high school juniors, which is a violation. He then failed to notify Tennessee about another recruiting violation that took place 4 days after his tearful news conference about the cookout violation. On Sept. 14 he committed a violation on a recruiting trip to Georgia by speaking with a high school junior, a violation of what is called the “bump rule” by the NCAA.  A UT basketball player, Brian Williams, was in violation of the athletic department substance abuse policy, but Pearl attributed his two game absence to a bad back rather than a suspension. The latest violation involved a mix up with the player pass list for UT on March 6th, and while not a major violation, is made to look worse in concert with all the other violations. I think it is pretty easy to see the differences in Tressel’s behavior and Bruce Pearls, and that the same punishment would not fit both offenses.


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