Thursday Skull Session!!

By Alex on March 10, 2011 at 6:00a
128 Comments
The mark of The VestThis is how we do. Fear the Vest!!

Wow. The past 48 hours have been absolutely nuts for anyone who has ties to Ohio State University. Tressgate, Tresselmania, !!, or whatever you are choosing to call this whole mess has certainly been overwhelming and the end just doesn't seem near. 

While we'd all love to sweep this under the rug and move on with our lives after both The Vest and the players involved in Tatgate serve their penalties, I fear this is something we will have to battle the entire season. The good news is that the program seems to be doing strong and what transpired in December appears to have only brought the team closer and prepared the players for any adversity they face as major college football stars.

I'd like to try and stray away from the negativity as much as possible in today's Skull Session, but before we dive into some more happy things, I just want to use my first few Block O's to share a couple things that have been floating around my mind and to catch you up on what has been written by the mainstream media on this issue. Having dealt with the MoC saga, Troy Smith getting improper benefits, Tatgate, and now !!, we as Buckeye fans have seen some bad things happen in regards to compliance over the last decade to go along with the complete domination on the field. There have also been many other rumors surrounding the program (see: our friend Tab) that have proven to be false, but the common trend when something like this comes out is that fans go in to an all-out panic. 

Fear not, Buckeye fans, as success and scandal is sure to come again in the future. I stand here before you today and kick off your Thursday morning with the solution on how to approach a situation when the Bad News Bears come calling. Check it out after the jump.

Dealing with it. I have come up with a six step solution on how to deal with things like the Tressel scandal when they first rise to the surface and it goes like this:

  1. The first thing when you hear about something like this is to take a "wait and see" approach. Panicking/assuming the worst or, on the contrary, dismissing the rumor in it's entirety are not the way to go. Sit back, relax, and let the facts come to fruition.
  2. Hear the news break and the story released, but continue to hold back from a knee-jerk reaction. Many times "further details" of the story will emerge and you want to get the entire story (well as much as you can get) before formulating your opinion.
  3. Soak everything in once you gather the pieces to the puzzle and formulate your own opinion. This is extremely important as many people rush to just believe what is said by writers or TV personalities of major media outlets, such as ESPN. Take the facts and make your own judgment on the situation rather than letting people influence that decision.
  4. Stay away from those major media outlets, especially ESPN. The worst thing you can do is read all the stories that were written for the sole purpose of creating debate. Well, maybe that's the second worst thing you can do, as one-upping that would be reading the comments from trolls of other fan bases that are bashing your school in that same article. Reading these materials will only make you more angry and not help the disappointment you're feeling.
  5. Stay away from firing back at extreme fans from your own fan base. We all know every time something like this happens that fans of your team will either bash the accused party to no avail or defend them until they die trying to protect the guilty. While you're opinion may lie in either one of these territories, try not to stir up argument, as this will only make things worse.
  6. Finally, take it for what it is. Stuff like this is no fun for you when it happens, but being realistic and having a good grasp on reality is the best approach at the end of the day. In the end, stick by your team through thick and thin, as putting the blame on others or turning your back and running when things get bad are not the answer (looking at you Mr. Carroll). 

I have finished going through all six steps of this process and if you want to see how it turned out for me, here is my take on the Tressel situation in an email response back to a close friend who wanted to know what I thought (and of course went to Michigan):

I know Coach Tressel personally from taking his class and being in the media the last few years and spending time with him through those events. The guy wrote me a letter of recommendation for grad school, so I will preface this with the fact that I think he is a high class citizen and a great guy.

That being he said what he did was wrong. If you read the emails and sift through the Senatorial comments he made last night, basically he knew about this but wasn't going to speak up in hopes this got swept under the rug and never picked up by the NCAA. I can't say I wouldn't do the same if 5 of my starters were facing substantial suspension and I knew there was a good chance nothing would come of this, or the fact that I had previous knowledge of the situation. He made a mistake and in retrospect I'm sure he wishes he went right to the AD or OSU legal counsel with this situation back in April-May.

I cannot stand the people who are calling this guy's character out. He is a great coach on and off the field and has given part of his salary to help build the new library and other buildings on campus, as well as year after year donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the OSU Cancer Hospital. He is human. This mistake hurts a lot, but that should not affect anyone's view of who Jim Tressel is.

As for his reasoning last night I think he told a half-truth. I'm sure the confidentiality between the lawyer and the federal investigation were definitely reasons not to speak up, but as you said he blatantly knew his guys broke the rules and kept mum on it. He then signed an NCAA waiver on September 13 stating he had reported all violations he knew of. This tells me he either a) thought the players weren't going to get in trouble for this or b) he thought he would never get caught in having knowledge of this situation. He was clearly wrong in taking that chance and holding back tears last night. I think behind the Vest and Senator persona he put on, you can tell he was embarrassed and knew in his heart he should have went right to the AD to investigate this matter when he first heard of it instead of trying to protect his players from NCAA suspension and potentially a National Championship season.

I don't think the school deserves punishment here. I think if anything you can add a game or two to his suspension or bar him from spring practice and fall camp/practices (basically all football activity on the field until the suspension is over). I think you can also take away some of his in-home recruiting visits. I'm not sure adding all that plus more games is fair, but I would be fine with one or the other. He broke the rules and must pay the consequence, regardless of whether I want him to or not. Remember though, the two games and fine, etc. were just OSU's recommendation so the NCAA could go further. Obviously OSU isn't going to go over the top with their recommendation because if they can get away with this punishment, they'll certainly take it. I wouldn't complain if they made it 5 games like the players received, but I don't think they will. Keep in mind this very important part: unlike Bruce Pearl who lied about violations HE committed (recruiting), Tressel kept quiet/lied of having knowledge about violations OTHERS committed. I think those two things are VERY different.

In sum, I think what OSU proposed is pretty fair, but as I said, a game or two more or some of the other sanctions wouldn't be opposed by me. I think it's ridiculous the way people are attacking this man and his character after 20-something years in coaching and a track record that shows how great of a person he is. I understand how mainstream media works in a situation like this, but where are the articles saying that this man made one big mistake and that shouldn't tarnish the way you think of him? I know it hasn't for me as disappointed as I am that this happened.

The Outsiders. In case you missed it, here are some articles from "people on the outside". In case you wanted to know, these are the articles I pay no attention to. Among these are Stewart Mandel from SI, Bruce Feldman for ESPN Insider, Mark Schlabach from ESPN, Dennis Dodd from CBS, David Whitley from The Sporting News, and Mike Lopresti from USA Today. To summarize for you, they basically all bash OSU for the way this was handled and say Tress is full of a pile of Rich Rod. Surprisingly, one article clearly written for some arguments that comes from The Lantern, says Tressel should be fired. The Lantern belongs in the "Insiders" group below, but this piece of writing can go along with the junk I don't read. 

The Insiders. And now for some writers that I respect and actually want to read. Part of the Buckeye family with opinions on this matter are Dave Biddle of Bucknuts (my favortie piece and well worth the subscription), Ken Gordon, Bob Hunter, and Rob Oller of The Dispatch, Doug Lesmerises of The Plain Dealer, The good side of The Lantern, Jim Naveau of Lima Ohio, Mark Podolski and Jim Ingraham of the News Herald, Fox Sports Ohio, and Bob Knight via Tony Gerdeman. Enjoy as most of these guys are closest to the situation on a daily basis.

 Love and Basketball. Did you forget about that sport called basketball? It sure seems like a lot of people did, but remember that today marks the start of the Big Ten Tournament. The first five teams in the conference get byes and won't play until tomorrow, but squaring up today will be Minnesota and Northwestern, Iowa and Michigan State, and Penn State and Indiana. I am going to take the Wildcats, Sparty, and the Nittany Lions as my picks, although I should be careful what I wish for as NU could pose to be a problem for OSU in round two. Who do you have for tomorrow and who would you rather the Bucks play Friday-Northwestern or Minnesota? Chris will be in attendance all weekend, so if you're going to Indy, give him a shout

Buckeye Bits. You can help David Lighty catch up in the Lowe's CLASS Award voting here. OSU freshman Josh Dezse became the first two-time winner of the Big Ten Freshman of the Week award for baseball. Former Buckeye Jeff See recently won the men's USA Indoor Mile title. The men's fencing team took home the gold once again at the MFC Championships. 10 members of the field hockey team were honored as members of the NFHCA National Academic Team. Shawn Kaplan of the lacrosse team was named ECAC rookie of the week. Finally, some more Athletics Good Stuff from this week. 

128 Comments

Comments

LeeNorthbrook's picture

Nice work Alex, very well said, all of it.

DamnYankee's picture

Hello,

I am a long time lurker and first time poster.  In full disclosure, I am a Michigan alum and  watching all of this with a different perspective than most of you here.  However, I do consider myself a somewhat rational Michigan fan with a fairly objective outlook.  

Ultimately, the final word rests with the NCAA as to the the punishment you receive.  After going through our recent investigation, I can empathize with what you are feeling.  I just want to make one point in all of this:  Be thankful that you do not have a local media member in Columbus or Cleveland whose personal mission is to make The Vest's life a living hell and see him brought down.  Some of your local writers may not agree with what JT did, but at least you do not have people with their own personal vendetta against him who'll stop at nothing to see him run out of town.  Unfortunately, we had that at the Detroit Free Press. 

Thanks for letting me post here!

tomcollins's picture

You should be thankful that RR was brought down.  Now you can actually start winning again.  That guy did UM a huge public service.

Bobcat04's picture

His name is Bruce Hooley.

Kennywayne34's picture

Step 7.   Don't use the bag your five dollar foot long came in to asphyxiate the Michigan guy at your work place.

 

thorvath22's picture

I agree 100% with your views on the Tressel situation, I think the majority of die hard Buckeyes will agree with that too eventually if they don't already. I believe that time heals all wounds and with the assumption that JT will move on to other things in his career in 2014/2015 he still has time to improve his national image by running the cleanest and winningest program for the next 4 years. It looks like Braxton Miller very well could be the last qb under the Tressel command, let's hope he is the best.

buckeyedude's picture

LOL. Evidently they don't teach ethics at the Uof M Dental School. The dude had $250 in his pocket at the time he "stole" a $40 pizza! My God. I rarely carry over $20-$30 in my wallet. If that isn't greed, I don't know what is.

 

 

Doc's picture

Please don't let this dipshit's behavior sully your opinion of Dentists.  We are all not cheating scUMbags.  I usually only have $5-10 in my wallet.

Doc,D.D.S.

"Say my name."

buckeyedude's picture

No, no, no. I have no problem with dentists. It's LOIYAS I hate.

 

 

SilverBullets's picture

Very well put Alex.  

Something I've started to notice is just how much more obnoxious the national college football writers are than their basketball counterparts.  Brennan, Gottlieb and Katz of ESPN, along with Parrish and Davis at CBS seem so much less polarizing and reasonable than their opposites on the pigskin side and go less for shock factor and debate than just presenting the facts.

buckeyedude's picture

The man made a mistake. "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." John 8:7.

Personally, I hope Tressel is coaching the Buckeyes long beyond Joe Paterno's years.

 

 

AJ's picture

That one line in the bible has been said quite a few times on here in the past year.  Towards the tat5 and now Jimmy...

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

buckeyedude's picture

I know. Sorry. It is overused. I apologize. Don't banish me from 11W.

 

 

AJ's picture

haha no i wasnt trying to call you out, you just happen to be the person that wrote it this time...and unfortantly i have no real or fake banishing powers

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

Jdadams01's picture

Personally, I say it isn't used enough. We too quickly call out people who are in the public eye for their mistakes and it's easy for us to do so because we don't have millions of people reading about us on the net. It's nice to be reminded that all of us have messed up and will again.

buckeyedude's picture

thanks AJ. I have no real "banishing powers" either. I'm just yer run-of-the-mill 11W/Buckeye fan.

And JDADAM, I agree. As someone mentioned earlier, Americans love it when those on the top crash in burn, as with Hollyweird celebrities, as an example.

 

 

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

The more and more I look at it, I just think Tress didnt take the first e-mail seriously.  When the second one came along--more detailed and a request for confidentiality--I think he may have genuinely been concerned for the impact the info may have had on the criminal investigation and/or the safety of his players, and then made a decision to sit on the info.  I think as time went on, he realized he f*$#ed up and said, "Well, nothing I can do about it now--if they find out, they find out."

I dont suscribe to the idea that it was an intentional attempt to keep this info under wraps from the onset or that there was ever a cover-up in place. There are about 13 things JT could have done to really hide the info--and keep in mind, at the least he has had since 12/10 to bury the situation and if you believe it was intentional from the beginning, then he has had since 04/10 to bury it.  Everyone is getting worked up on the 09/10 letter he signed saying he did not know about any infractions.  Technically, this is true. In September he didnt KNOW about any infractions--just the potential that if the info reported to him were true, there would be infractions.  Maybe I am just a homer apologist, but there is no way in HELL I will ever believe this man set out from the beginning to protect a MNC season at the cost of his integrity.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

Maestro's picture

Agreed.  I think he realized that he would take a fall for this in June when the investigation on Eddie was closed.  At that point I think he just felt that it was probably too late to come forward with it.........I guess.  It's never too late of course, but this is the only thing that makes any sense to me.

He made his bed in this case and HE deserves the punishment.  If he is who I think he is he will serve the time and come back even stronger.  I look forward to that.  He is a man of integrity and I appreciate that he has been put through the ringer emotionally over this situation.  Standing up and facing the music is hard and I think he will handle as well as anyone could.

I have so far avoided lashing out at a-hole fans, but it is tough.  USC fans are especially giddy where I spend most of my internet time and they are driving me up the wall.

 

vacuuming sucks

Rooster Buckburn's picture

I think he definitely will come back stronger than before.  For a man of his character that's par for the course after such a public humbling.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Something else I just noticed about the emails:

The last line of the first email says:

p.s.s.s The federal gov't was at his house for alleged drug trafficking, but they knew about the memorabilia before they even got there.

This email is 4/2/10.  This CLEARLY indicates the authorities were aware of the situation involving the players, however they did not report it to tOSU until December.  Why do you think that was?

BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT TO COMPROMISE THEIR OWN INVESTIGATION !!

From my experience with these types of things it seems sometime b/t April and June, Riffe copped a deal to turn state's evidence (because in these drug things, you want the next guy up the chain--always). Hoewever when it was safe for their new witness and they had what they needed from an evidentiary standpoint, they told the University what they knew.

Of course I know the gov't is not under any obligation to report this info the University ntil they are good and ready, but it is a compelling argument for JT's reasoning.

 

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

GrayDay's picture

Agree, still cannot believe his intention was to cheat.  He knew something big was going on and had to KNOW the emails would come out.  What we now hear about the source suggests Tress had reason to view it as a volitile situation he should fear. 

Still, there should have been someone he passed this over to handle.  Why he didn't, that's troubling.

KenK's picture

Makes sense, I'll go along with that.

Off topic, but teh snow is finally melting (for now) in Buffalo. Golf clubs aren't out yet, but still. 

 

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Well put Alex. I made a few of those mistakes yesterday. I called Wisconsin a second-rate program to a U-Dub fan/alum yesterday when he began attacking Tress, tOSU, and Tress' character on another forum. Not that I think that was incorrect, just that I allowed my emotions from the whole situation take control and I generally have composure on forums. I did stay away from SI and ESPN though cause I knew that would be a disaster. I do feel like I lost a little respect for Tress in all this, but as stated before 1) time heals all wounds and 2) the casting stones saying....

P.S. this website is my Savior and I am sure many other people feel the same. So that KS to all the 11 Warriors staffers for all your hard and diligent work.

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

Pam's picture

What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

AJ's picture

im not sure if i missed something but wasnt it the japs?

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

Pam's picture

Of course, but then it wouldn't be funny

Alex's picture

animal House come on AJ

buckeyedude's picture

+1 Pam. LOL. And AJ, I don't know how old you are, but that was a hilarious line(still is today) by John Belushi(R.I.P) from Animal House. Rent the movie if you can get it.

I also love the line by Belushi,"Damn! 10 years of college, down the drain!" after he gets booted out.

 

 

AJ's picture

23, thanks for the shout out

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

BucksfanXC's picture

it is times like these that make the football team, the fan base, and the commenters at 11dub, better, stronger, and closer. We will get through this, because like Ramzy said, THE OSU is bigger than this. We will have a football team still. We will even have football games still. We will win some of those games. We will lose some of those games. The world will still turn. We will still be hated by UofM, PSU, Wisky, ESPN and the rest. We will still hate them.

GO BUCKS!

Now can we get back to basketball love.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

One other thing that I thought of through all this. A positive thing should/may come from this. I think recruits and the parents of recruits may view this as loyalty to his players over anything else. They may see this as him protecting his student athletes as opposed to throwing them under the bus rou protect himself. Just a thought. One of my peer's has a son in high school being recruited by ASU and U of A and he came to me yesterday and told me that even though it was wrong of Tress to do what he did, he felt that he would be more inclined to send his son to a guy that protected his players as opposed to sending him to a coach that would chuck his kid into the meat grinder.

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

buckeyedude's picture

 I think recruits and the parents of recruits may view this as loyalty to his players over anything else.  One of my peer's has a son in high school being recruited...he felt that he would be more inclined to send his son to a guy that protected his players as opposed to sending him to a coach that would chuck his kid into the meat grinder.

 

This is exactly what I've been saying. It's the "who would you rather your son play for" rule.

Would you rather your son play for Les Miles, where he might get let go and not have his scholarship honored in the middle of his freshman season(oversigning, ESPN Inside the Lines doc.), or would you rather your son play for a coach like Tress?

 

 

tomcollins's picture

But my son is the best player evah and will start as a freshman, he won't need to worry about being cut.

dja.ohio's picture

This is going to be a mess for as long as the USC matter has been a mess unless swift corrective action is taken with the program.  This Dispatch story from today, states as follows:

"Since 2006, the NCAA has sanctioned 27 schools for violating bylaw 10.1, which requires coaches and others to be truthful and forthcoming about possible NCAA violations. Of the 12 coaches involved, only one kept his job. The others either resigned or were fired by their schools."

This matter most likely will not be confined to Coach Tressel and the players involved. In all likelihood, the program will face NCAA sanctions that I am guessing will fall short of what was levied on USC which means loss of scholarships and/or a post-season ban.  I am saddened to state that it is my opinion that Coach Tressel should have done the honorable thing by admitting his guilt and poor judgement in not pursuing the matter and voluntarily resigned his postion when the emails were uncovered by the University in January. The offense committed by Coach Tressel involves a lie, and as stated in the Dispatch article, there is recent precedent to determine the punishment(s) that should be handed down.  Jim Delany at some point has to add the Big Ten Conference's own game suspensions to Coach Tressel in light of what the SEC did to Bruce Pearl.

I have been a supporter of Coach Tressel since he was hired.  I'm even one of the few who doesn't mind his offense.  My idea of a perfect Big Ten game would be to line up and run between the tackles on every offensive down with the defense unable to stop what they know is coming. But Coach Tressel's decisions and his failure to act promptly on information submitted to him, albeit by someone who doesn't deserve to keep his law license, has put the football program and the athletic department as a whole in serious jeopardy.  This history and tradition of the program and instituion is greater than one man, and gaining back a measure of integrity requires Coach Tressel to admit his fault without equivocation and step down from his position as head coach.

The_Lurker's picture

Well, if he did resign, he'd be the best person for the job, so the university should immediately rehire him. Jeeze, you'd think the guy paid $200K for Pryor or put Boom's parents up in a mansion or something. I love that we hold our guys to high standards but come on.

tomcollins's picture

You do realize Pryor has been caught driving around in several "test driven" cars, including out of state?  Everything with Clarett.  This kind of stuff is happening right now.  Tressel is a cheat and thought he could get away with it.

dja.ohio's picture

I was looking at this from an NCAA standpoint and the information provided in the Dispatch article regarding simliar offenses.  If I had a son who was Division I material, I would still want him playing for Coach Tressel, but I think that the fallout from this won't stop with Coach Tressel and will implicate the program.

buckeyedude's picture

That is your opinion dja.Ohio, and you have a right to it.

 

 

Bucks's picture

I have gone back and forth on this numerous times in my head. I even called in to that piece o crap Hooley yesterday on the show and pointed out that we now know those emails did go somewhere. In one of the rare moments of his tirades yesterday, he did admit that it is possible more will be found out regarding the compliance office & additional details.

 

While I'm certainly not going to get my hopes up on it, the conclusion paragraph to the '96 shooting on our sidebar does hold an open spot for me on Tressel:

 

"I'm told that while he didn't mention it Tuesday night to possibly mitigate the headlines, much more will eventually be revealed about the situation. At which time I'm assured, Jim Tressel will be proved to have done the right thing, if not in the correct manner."

 

I will not be surprised to learn more about this that lessens the rage in some peoples mind(s). It's just too bad that none of these rotten news services will give whatever comes (if it does) the coverage and effort they did in tarnishing him.

dja.ohio's picture

Something else that has been grating at me since this broke is the involvement of the attorney Chris Cicero.  I was living and working in Columbus in the late 90's when Cicero had his law license suspended for a year because of the Judge O'Neill scandal.

I believe that Cicero's intent in contacting Coach Tressel had more to do about his own self-aggrandizement than in helping out his old football program.  He wanted attention and to be perceived as important just as he did when he was running his mouth at the Franklin County Courthouse when he overstated his relationship with Judge O'Neill, which ened up getting them both in trouble.  This guy has a track record of creating problems for himself and other people.  He should have never emailed Coach Tressel because he was privy to sensitive information that came from federal investigators who should have also kept their mouths shut while the investigation was ongoing.

Cicero represented Rife in a prior matter.  He calls Rife into his office for a chat to pump him for more information that he could forward to Coach Tressel. He indicated in his email to Coach Tressel that he was questioning Rife in a manner so he wouldn't become suspicious that he was pumping him for specific information regarding player names.  Cicero undertook all of this on his own.  Had he not sent the email, the story would have played out as it did with the DOJ contacting the athletic department in December at the conclusion of their investigaion of Rife.  But it didn't, and thanks to Cicero starting this string of events, we're in this mess now.

gravey's picture

Yeah I'm disappointed, but what are you going to do.  I consider OSU family.  It's my beloved alma mater.  Like my actual family, mistakes are going to be made, embarrasment is going to bloom, shame, hard feelings and anger is going to come and go, but it's my blood right or wrong. 

How firm thy friendship indeed. 

and I don't have time for shock journalism.

Maestro's picture

Well said.

vacuuming sucks

Nitz25's picture

I'm new to the forum so this will be my first post.  I joined primarily because of the ongoing situation with Tressel has me so wound up I can't reallly think of any other way to console myself but to "air my greivances" among other loyal Buckeye fans who understand how I feel (you don't find many Buckeye sympathizers in Boston, where I live).

Most everyone here has voiced their unanimous support for Tressel, and at first I did as well.  Even after the presser I felt confident in my firm support for the Vest.  I even had an hour long phone conversation with my much more critical father, a former season ticket holder and employee of the University hospital, defending Tressel.  All of this began to change late yesterday as I dug into the emails to see for myself the nature of the correspondence between Tressel and the man known only as "the attorney".  The tone in the emails just didn't fit with Tressel's own description of either his emoitions at the time or the nature of his reaction to the facts being relayed to him.  After reading through the emails twice, cynicism began to creep into the back of my mind-- Is JT just another coach cutting a few corners for the sake of winning?  Was he fully aware of the repercussions against the involved student-athletes once the lid was finally blown off of this investigation? And lastly and most importantly, was Tressel aware that the emails he was sending back and forth could be used against him down the road if he didn't bring others into the loop?

My thoughts on these questions were solidified as I listened to a particularly enlightening 7 minute clip of Urban Meyer, himself an Ohio man who claims to have a solid friendship with and a mutual respect for the Vest, and an ESPN interviewer talking about his experience with "snail mail" rumors like this during his time as a head coach.  Meyer described how he would hear rumors like these from all kinds of different sources, both credible and shady. He described the number of these rumors as so overwhelming that as a head coach you are practically FORCED to just forward them along to compliance or whoever knows best how to deal with the situation... there are simply too many accusations flying around at any one given time for a head coach to pay them any mind until someone else has investigated them and determined if there is any substance.  For that reason, Meyer reiterated, a head coach is well versed in the various resources to help deal with the resolution of these situations and how he had a close working relationship with the compliance departments at Florida, Utah, and Bowling Green.

This is when it clicked.  You can't possibly tell me that the Bowling Green athletic department has a more comprehensive set of compliance guidelines for head coaches to engage with University legal officials/compliance officers to help investigate and resolve alleged or potential NCAA infractions.  You also can't convince me that a head coach at Bowling Green has a closer relationship and a better understanding of how to work with their compliance department than the head coach of The Ohio State University. 

The combination of reading through the actual emails and hearing Meyer's take on how he used to handle these situations convinces me something is not consistent with what Tressel is asking us to believe.  There is no possible explanation to reconcile these inconsistencies other than the fact that Tressel knew what he was doing was wrong and that he WILLFULLY CHOSE to withhold information from the University.  Whether he did this to protect players from being labeled as drug dealers and have their futures ruined, to protect the career of a close friend who was violating the attorney-client privilige, or simply because he wanted to win and didn't think he could do so without Pyror; we probably won't know until the NCAA releases their final summary judgement.  One thing I do know, though, is that there is absolutely no way Tressel could have dismissed these emails as unimportant.  He is not stupid, and over his 10 years at Ohio State I'm confident in assuming he has dealt with many hundrerds of these accusations by directing them to the proper avenues for investigation and resolution within the compliances department at tOSU.

In any event, what Tressel did was wrong.  I am going to reserve my judgement about whether or not I am happy to have Tressel in charge of the Ohio State football team until after the NCAA makes its final ruling and all of the facts come to light.  However, I think that if his poor decision making in this situation forces us to vacate the entire 2010 season... I sincerely believe the Senator should step down.  I am grateful for everything he has done for our program both on and off the field, but I simply don't know how I could continue to support him otherwise.

Sorry for the grim outlook, and feel free to let me know if you think I'm way off base, but I look forward to being able to post on here with you guys during brighter times.

Bucks's picture

Your ultimate conclusion is in error in my opinion. As has been discussed in a few places, during the questioning phase of the press conference it slipped that in fact JT did forward the emails. To where, we don't know ... but as the 11w staff and seemingly a few more have stated, there seems to be more coming on this that may paint this in a better light.

AJ's picture

you mean we ASSUME he was nodding his head yes, right?

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

Bucks's picture

No, I mean he did. It was affirmative, not an acknowledgement he heard the question. Sorry, but I've watched it 3 times and it is very obvious.

 

If there was nothing there and it was an innocent nod, Gene Smith had no need to rush in and try to stop the answer (too late).

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

So either there are things we dont know at this point which may mitigate this with the NCAA or they are about to 'USC' us like nobody's business.

I have also commented that the unwavering support of JT by administration could also be an indication he is falling on his sword for the good of the University. My love and respect for JT the man hopes this is case, but my fandom and allegiance to my school screams NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

Another Jason's picture

I just watched this sequence for the first time.  My initial assumption upon hearing about it was that it was simply a processing or acknowledgment thing.  Having watched it, I can definitely see why some people are taking it as an affirmative answer.  There is a clear difference between listening and beginning to answer in this case, and I do believe the big nod is the beginning of an answer.  I can't go so far to say that it constitutes an answer in itself though, as we don't really know what he was going to say.

It is telling that Smith stopped him quickly and declared it something that could not be talked about.

Maestro's picture

I too am not sold on the head nod thing.  We will find out eventually, but it appeared to me to just be an acknowledement of the question.  Hell I don't know.  We all have our quirks.  How many people answer questions "Yah no" these days.  Yes and no????

vacuuming sucks

LeeNorthbrook's picture

I'm not sure either but my initial impression was acknowledgement of the question.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

Wait - you're trying to judge 'tone' in an email??? 

Bucks's picture

No Rooster, and you obviously did not watch the full presser.

 

During the question period, JT was asked directly if even though he was concerned for confidentiality ... if he forwarded the emails to anyone. He nodded his head yes as Gene Smith swooped in to cut off that line of questioning.

It was too little too late on the part of Smith, that nugget is out. Numerous people who were there are absolutely 100% with me that he answered that question with a yes.

EDIT: You may have been responding to NIT

 

Rooster Buckburn's picture

No - I was responding to your statement about the 'tone' of Tressel's email response.  I did watch the presser - just because he nodded means NOTHING! Doesn't mean he was saying yes.  What if he forwarded them to Gene Smith/Gee/his lawyer in January when confronted about it?  You're trying to draw conclusions on things that are, at this point, a little sketchy.

Nitz25's picture

I was actually the one drawing conclusions based on the "tone" of the emails... I really don't think it's hard to see that what is exchanged in the emails does not corroborate JT's claims that he was scared, that the emails could have slipped his mind, or that the memorabilia issue never crossed his mind.

He specifically says "I'll get on this ASAP" and later proactively contacts the attorney about the new memorabilia they're about to get, implying that he is worried about players other than the 2 previously mentioned continuing to violate NCAA policy by selling their stuff.  Two of the reasons he claims he didn't reach out to anyone at the University are shot down right there.  I called it tone, but others would call it outright contradictions.

Like I said above, though, there are definitely pivotal facts that are not yet public.  I am not comdeming JT just yet, because if the facts that we aren't aware of back up his claims then the NCAA most likely won't levy stiffer penalties.  However, if these facts contradict JT even further and prove all of the media pundits right that Tress just wanted to win, then it's likely we vacate 2010... in which case I think JT would have to step down to make it right.  We'll just have to wait and see.

thorvath22's picture

I agree with your position and believe that this is just an overall disappointing turn of events. I still feel that Tressel is a high class individual that made a terrible error of judgement and given his past contributions in the community and university I am able to personally forgive him and move on. Ultimately his career is not over and can yet be (re)definded.

btalbert25's picture

Let me just say one thing.  The Troy Smith and MoC stuff had nothing to do with Tressel, and TatGate didn't either, until some schmuck sent Tressel and email.  This stuff had to do with the players and a 3rd party.  Whether it be a booster or tattoo parlor.  Should he have passed on the info?  Sure, but he didn't.  The difference between Tressel and other coaches are, he stayed around to face the music.  He didn't high tail it and run like Surfer Pete, or like John Calipari does in basketball.  Want to talk about setting an example?  He is doing it right now.  If anything, I'm going to respect the man more in all this.

I also believe, that all programs could probably get sanctions from the NCAA, if the NCAA chose to investigate.  Kids get put up in insane housing, have sweet "loner" cars, and receive way more benefits than the average student.  That's just the way it is.  Then you have people not affiliated with the program who approach them daily with gifts, money, free tatoos for trophies, whatever.  There will always be some level of rule bending or breaking at any major program.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Welcome aboard....and no one here will judge you negatively for expressing this. We are all Buckeyes and all family. BTW...Best Buckeyes website on the int3rw3b, bar none!

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

Pam's picture

Brian Rolle tweet:

 

“@cbus_thoughts: pretty sure I'd follow Coach Tressel into a blazing fire in an ammo dump while under fire #buckeyes #IceWaterVeins” same

Maestro's picture

Pretty standard stuff from all the former players, and I think that holds a ton of water.  Not many people spend more time around him than the players.  You can't fake it around your players.  They will see right though a phony.

vacuuming sucks

themostbrian's picture

One moment of weak character tears down decades of behavioral integrity. To suggest that this issue (outright lying) is not about character is to completely de-moralize character. If character has nothing to do with morality than what is it?

Jim Tressel is not above weak character. And that showed in this situation. None of us know whether this is a trend in his character or an outlier - Only he does. Remember: Character is what you do when nobody else is around.

btalbert25's picture

That's fair, but people miss the mark.  Are you to be characterized and judged your whole life for one incident?  I know people who I would consider to have a strong character and who are role models that have tripped up along the way, it doesn't mean they aren't still great people. 

AJ's picture

No of course it doesnt mean they arent great people, and noone is saying Jim isnt still a great person.  But what the guy is saying is why should Tressel be any different.  IF 2010 gets taken away by the NCAA why should Jim get special treatment.  Im not saying i agree one way or another, im still taking this all in but i understand what hes saying.  When in a postion of power you are held to a higher standard.  This whole thing wouldnt be an issue, if it wasnt an issue.

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

btalbert25's picture

My response has nothing to do with the ruling, thoughts that he should step down, or other possible punishments.  My response is directly to his character being called into question. There has been a tendency since this has come out, for people to say he's not a character guy, or he's just the same as all other coaches.  I just don't think that's a fair assumption.  Most of the people calling him out, don't know him at all and are in no position to judge his character.  That's all I'm pointing out.  Step down from the high horse folks, we all fuck up once in a while.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

^^^^ this + 1000,000,000

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

Pam's picture

By Jeff Seemann
FOXSportsOhio.com
March 8th, 2011

The day after. Today is the day that everything sinks in and forges opinions that become permanent.

Ninety-nine percent of the population will not be swayed on the opinion of Jim Tressel this afternoon. Whatever you think of him this very minute is likely to be the same opinion of how you will view him when he re-claims his sideline in Miami on September 17th.

Speaking as a lifelong Ohio State fan, I can guarantee you that the vast majority of my scarlet-clad brethren will shake their head in disappointment, take a deep breath, and proudly put on their favorite Ohio State piece of clothing today.

The opinion we will maintain of Tressel has nothing to do with a missing sense of outrage or a blind eye to winning. It has everything to do with the way we have been treated by the rest of college athletics.

Even when the Buckeyes win, you kick us. There is nothing that this team can do without you attacking us for it.

After a decade of that abuse, it has a tendency to bond us together and defend our own against anything you wish to throw at us. What you say about one of us, you say about all of us.

We are Spartacus.

We will stand together shoulder-to-shoulder in every instance, including this latest turmoil created by our field commander.

We've been through it before, and we're preparing to do it again today.

When we won the National Championship in 2003, you told us that the refs cheated. The Buckeyes controlled the game that you told us we would lose by four touchdowns, and you still haven't gotten over that. So we banded together against your attacks.

When Maurice Clarett was on the team, he was a pain in the butt. During his freshman season, he committed no violations. When he violated the rules at Ohio State, Tressel suspended him immediately and he never wore the uniform again. It wasn't for another three years before he committed the crimes that sent him to prison. Our coach handled the Clarett situation perfectly, but yet you still bring his name up when you want to belittle us. So we band together against your insults.

When Troy Smith accepted 500 dollars from a booster, he was suspended for two games by Tressel, including his first chance to start in a bowl game as a starter. Again, coach did the right thing. But you launched your comments towards us again, so we banded together.

Yes, we're well aware that we were once 0-9 in bowl games against the SEC. You wouldn't shut up about that one. So again, we stood strong with one another, and when we finally took down a top-10 team from the SEC in a bowl game this year, the celebration was fierce.  We were shaking a huge monkey off our back, and we were going to enjoy doing it.

And even though we won that game, you tried to take it away from us because of the tattoo story. Even though the NCAA declared all five players as eligible, you demanded they sit out. We broke the rules, but we followed the punishment given us, and it wasn't good enough. So again we locked arms and defended our honor.

So when this news broke and we were all finished skipping heartbeats, we begin our defense of Jim Tressel.

When you wonder why we can defend a coach that violated major rules of the NCAA, the answer is simple.

We know that the coach did the wrong thing, and we are not forgiving him his trespasses.  But you forced us to defend him even when he did the right thing.

Right or wrong, he's our coach.  He's the reason your team doesn't win championships, and we understand your hatred of him.  But you will not make us join in your call for his public flogging.

By now, we know what your motives are.

So yes, we plan to defend him again today. 

Doc's picture

Out- fuckin'- standing! Thanks for the post Pam.

"Say my name."

Pam's picture

Anyone who thinks that the vicious bashing of our school, our coach, our prez and our ad will cause fans and alum to abadon ship, is sadly mistaken.  If anything, like Jeff says, we will fight even harder.  We are used to it, ain't no big thing.

Pam's picture

Oh and BTW, Jeff writes for the same blog as Hooley

luckynewman13's picture

is it okay if all of us copy this verbatim and send it to every damned sportswriter at espn?

I am drunk right now (don't judge) but I'm thinking that Ohio State (perhaps the entire Big 10) shold just drop out of the NCAA entirely (unless the NCAA grows a pair and makes a public statement supporting the most self-poilicied university in the nation). What have we learned through this entire situation? People who actually tell the truth about their transgressions get $h!t on, while the SEC remains the crown jewel of ameteur sports...give me a freaking break. I don't understand why boosters at Ohio State, USC and the Nike Legion at Oregon just don't hire an entire team of private investigators and bring the entire SEC down.

Screw them all...Buckeyes forever

Pam's picture

Of course. I posted it on ever website and blog out there.  BTW, let the guy know that you like what he wrote.

Stewart Mandel's reaction: "Sad"

Doc's picture

The man makes one mistake and there are some of us willing to wash our hands of him?  Crazy!  You wouldn't do that to a family member or friend, would you?  Coach has always treated his athletes like family members and hasn't thrown them to the wolves when they get in trouble, doesn't he deserve the same from us?  Even if the entire 2010 season gets thrown out so what.  We know we went 12-1, won the B1G title for the sixth time, beat TSUN yet again and beat Arkansas in the bowl game.  Just like we went to the Final Four in 1999.  It won't come to that, so step back from the ledge.  Give Coach Tressel some much needed and well earned respect.  Him resigning his position won't get the NCAA off our back, nor will it stop the haters from hatin'.  Only thing it will do is fubar the next 2 or 3 seasons of football.  Then the real bitchin' will start. 

"Say my name."

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

JEFF SEEMAN FTMFW!!!

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

"Thought leads to actions - actions lead to habits - habits become your character - character determines destiny." 

For those who want to question Tressel's character will need to show that his actions in this case have been repeated habitually in the past.  I think anyone who knows him would say this is NOT habitual behavior and well outside of the norm for him. 

If one lie makes one a liar or one instance of cheating makes one a 'cheat' - then every human being on the planet is a liar and a cheater. 

Deal with that - those of you on your high horse.

AJ's picture

look dude no one is on a high horse, NO ONE WANTED THIS TO HAPPEN.  But it did.  Jim tressel is not above lying or cheating. Everyone is flawed so why is it so hard to believe Jim lied?  Lord knows i wish this didnt happen.  I met Jim and got him to sign his book he wrote, he thanked me for my service and we chatted for a while.  After the conversation i said to my wife wow that is probably the nicest guy in college football...but i will also say he's still human 

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

Rooster Buckburn's picture

It's not hard to believe anyone lies.  Like I said, we're all liars.  You and I may not be on a 'high horse' - but If you don't think there are some folks out there on high horses then you haven't read the articles I've read.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

lol - that is not the case

Maestro's picture

He screwed the pooch (at least until we find out more details).  Totally agree that it shouldn't define him.......yet.  If repeated then you re-evaluate.

vacuuming sucks

DotThei's picture

It's becoming apparent by the hour that there's plenty more to the story and I'd imagine "the more" will be facts that lighten the "guilty" perception of Coach Tressel.

The OSU media relations people know what they're doing; you keep your powder dry. The press conference had to happen to respond to the leak. The media spin cycle starts on full-go and they had to put down some facts to let them chew, spit, and repeat all week. The next step is to re-position the story by adding additional elements of fact, after "more careful due-diligence" and consulting feds, NCAA, etc. These come out and some of the "why in the world would he?" questions get answered. It also makes clear that the media went for the quick and easy pile-on, and they look stupid enough that at lease a few scrupulous editors and bloggers pull back to learn more.

We know, as a course of comment, that Tressel did in fact forward the email to someone and it's probabnly OSU Legal. It's implied in OSU's own letter to the NCAA as that department mentions discovering this via one of its emails. So Tressel "not having done the right thing" is simply being fueled by too much hyperbole at the moment. I suspect that we will soon learn that he was advised by someone in the legal departmen (probably junior) to keep quiet on what he knew. That person may or may not be the total scapegoat here. But it will be come increasingly clear that while Tressel screwed up big, he wasn't (and isn't) the cheat all are making him out to be. And, I think, the NCAA will concur by not adding too much more in punishment.

Is the above speculation? You bet. But, I for one, am ready for some positive speculation as too many seem happy to conjure only worsening scenarios akin to the end of Ohio State Football as we know it.

DotThei

AJ's picture

nice...

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

As much as I want to agree with you, the reality is the information was said to have been found during a search on an unrelated matter.  My guess is things are brewing all the time and regular searches of Tress's e-mail are conducted.  Remember, the University owns this email account, not JT and they can look at it at any time.  Of course this raises the question as to why the e-mails were not discovered until the time they were, but I guess we will wit and see. 

I would personally like to believe an OSU attorney is on the hook for advising Tress to keep quiet, but I am not putting too much stock into it.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

DotThei's picture

Yes, the search was on an unrelated matter, but that paragraph goes on to say:

...the institution's Office of Legal Affairs discovered an email from Coach Tressel that was the subject matter of some of the activities pertaining to the University's December 2010 NCAA self-report. The Office of Legal Affairs notified appropriate institutional officials and an additional inquiry began. One of the first actions was to conduct a search of Coach Tressel's email account. The search uncovered three email strings between Coach Tressel and an attorney related to this matter and certain student-athletes. Two strings occurred in April 2010, and one in June 2010.

Note the language in bold. An email "from" coach was found. We don't know what that email was nor the language therein. And the language above seems to want to keep that murky at the moment, i.e., it was the subject matter of some of the activities pertaining to the University's December 2010 NCAA self-report. Tough to unravel that other than to say it's related to the tattoo and memorabilia shenanigans. Yet, interestingly, at the end of the above, we read that the subsequent email search uncovered emails related to this matter, which reasonably can mean the same matter as just referenced three sentences above.

In short: Tressel sent some email to OSU Legal on the matter. He didn't do nothing. And he's confirmed as much in public-record questioning when he said he forwarded the email to someone. Put it together, and I suggest he probably sent the email on to OSU Legal or sent a nebulous separate email highlighting something could be going on.

Let's wait and see. I imagine this will be made clear soon.

DotThei

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

I believe the attorney he is talking about is the sender--not an attorney within tOSU.  Also, I am pretty sure the e-mail from Tressel this is referencing is one we have already seen, i.e. the responses and the unsolicited e-mail requesting any other names, so we DO know the email involved. There are three e-mail strings and all three have been accounted for when you check the dates in your paragraph above with the dates on the e-mails.

Again, I would love to hang this on some incompetant tOSU attorney, but I just dont read the info this way.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

DotThei's picture

Not trying to be argumentative and you may well be right, but that is not my read at all...

The OSU letter indicates it came across an email (interestingly, it does not date it) from Jim Tressel (to whom we do not know), which resulted in searching his email account, which then resulted in uncovering three strings. They do not say this initial email was part of the subsequently found string. The order of events is important here; this is a letter from OSU to the NCAA--it's been drafted by attorneys for attorneys. Language would be precise and vetted.

My read is that they very well could have found some email, yet undisclosed, that led to finding the emails all of us have seen.

Now, I know that the Dispatch is running a timeline on their website that suggests that the first email discovered was one we've seen. But I simple have not seen that fact verified in Q&A or any official comment, have you? It seems presumptions to me.

And, of course, there's this widely reported exchange:

After his opening remarks to the media Tuesday, Tressel was asked by Yahoo Sports reporter Dan Wetzel:

    “Jim, you talked about the confidentiality of the situation and upholding it. Did you forward any of the emails to anyone?“

Following Wetzel’s question, Tressel nodded his head in Wetzel’s direction up and down as to indicate yes. Though before Tressel could speak, Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, who was standing next to Tressel, said,  “We can’t get into that right now.”

Meaning? There is likely at least one other email here, if not more. Stay tuned.

DotThei

Jason Priestas's picture

This man knows what he speaks of. There's more to this, folks.

Matt's picture

This analysis is convincing to me and I think we are in for more news.  The question is whether that "more" will serve to further damage OSU or to instead vindicate Tressel.  And really, it could do both at the same time:  demonstrate that Tressel did his due diligence and left things in the hands of upper management, while also evidencing upper management's failure to disclose the improper benefits issue to the NCAA.  The idea of a scheme from the top of OSU not to inform the NCAA is much more serious than Tressel simply keeping silent -- the former is the sort of thing that could get a program suspended from post season play / scholarship reductions.  I won't mention the death penalty because I don't think thats possible for a program the size of OSU.

My hope is that there is an unidentified factor here -- potentially the U.S. government -- which would trump everything and have tied the hands of OSU (i.e., the US Attorneys' Office for S.D. Ohio informed OSU in no uncertrain terms that these issues were the subject of a grand jury investigation and they would not be permitted to disclose their knowledge of these things until the government was prepared to proceed). 

cal3713's picture

The order of events is important here; this is a letter from OSU to the NCAA--it's been drafted by attorneys for attorneys. Language would be precise and vetted.

Yeah, and they also fucked up and forgot to delete the whole part about spring practices... so it's clearly hurried and not that well vetted.  Someone's getting fired for that shit.

Matt's picture

One blogger with whom I've been impressed thus far regarding his reaction to the Tress Mess is Spencer Hall of EDSBS.  I was pretty certain that he was going to have a field day with the Tressel story, but he has actually held back, shown restraint, and was very circumspect about his coverage of the entire situation thus far.  He may be planning something bigger in the works, but to this point he has been one of the few national bloggers/media people who to have not called from Tressel's neck.  Hall's reaction is all the more surprising in light of his SEC roots.  He has earned my respect for taking a restrained and wait-and-see position.

buckeyedude's picture

I support JT as a fan. But I have to admit, if OSU has to vacate the entire 2010 season, as some are suggesting, that is a game changer. I don't know if fans are just speculating, but if Gee and Smith both said, "Jim is going to continue to be the football coach at Ohio State," why would the NCAA hand down something 100X worse than the university did?

 

 

Doc's picture

That's right.  Smith said they have been working with the NCAA all along and the reason this is out to the public is the trolls at Y!.  OSU and the NCAA have been on this for awhile and Gene Smith said that the punishment is in line with what has been done in the past.  It might be another game or two added to the suspension, but 2010 will still be intact. JMHO

"Say my name."

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Man. Noon Friday CANNOT come fast enough. I hope our basketball Buckeyes rally around our football team and coach and win the whole God damn thing.

Adolphus Washington is half grizzly bear and half dragon | Noah Spence kills quarterbacks, just to watch them die.

btalbert25's picture

The basketball team will not be influenced one way or another from this.  It has nothing to do with them.  So I will refrain from giving this situation credit for them winning, or use it as an excuse for them losing.  It's not their coach or players under fire.  It's a team the cheer for, they probably have some friendships on the football team, but the basketball team will win or lose based on their own abilities and preparations. 

BuckeyeChief's picture

Wouldn't it be grand if what we are all speculating is true? I am waiting to see how this all plays out...

 

"Clutch has no boundaries"

Pam's picture

Rich Rodriguez: OSU didn't recruit negatively against U-M, but others did
Angelique S. Chengelis / The Detroit News

Former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez defended Ohio State coach Jim Tressel during a radio interview Thursday, and said that while the Buckeyes never negatively recruited against the Wolverines during his three seasons in Ann Arbor, others did and will soon be revealed.

Tressel and Ohio State officials on Tuesday night responded to news he had violated NCAA rules by withholding information in an investigation.Rodriguez was interviewed by Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio.

Cowherd told Rodriguez he no longer trusts Tressel; Rodriguez responded by defending Ohio State's coach.

"If you run a program at Ohio State or at Michigan or something like that, so much of what you do is public," Rodriguez said. "There's not all this crazy cheating and things like that going on that people think. There are some guys out there that bend the rules a little bit or they get around the rules and try to get a competitive advantage. I don't think that was the case in this at all. There were five guys who sold items who shouldn't have sold it. And they were wrong for doing it. Did that give Ohio State a competitive advantage? I don't think so."

Rodriguez continued: "There's coaches out there that are trying to get a competitive advantage the wrong way, a handful, and they seem to get away with it. And there are other coaches that are really trying as hard as they can, doing everything in good faith, and they seem to get nailed. I think that's the thing that frustrates coaches, like, 'Geez look at what these guys did, and they're winning and they did all that.'

"How do we fix that?"

Rodriguez said that while he and his staff at Michigan dealt with negative recruiting, it was never at the hands of Tressel and the staff at Ohio State.

"In my experience in three years of recruiting against them we didn't sense that, hey, Ohio State is one of these schools that are on the edge," Rodriguez said. "There were others we thought were doing that."

Cowherd pressed Rodriguez to identify those schools.

"You're putting me on the spot," Rodriguez said, chuckling. "I think some of them are getting looked at right now. So that will come out here pretty soon."

Rodriguez quickly added another emphatic defense of Ohio State and its recruiting habits, at least as it related to the Michigan-OSU rivalry.

"(We experienced) … a lot of negative recruiting (while at Michigan)," Rodriguez said. "People just bashing individual coaches and schools and programs, and I think that's a bad practice to do.

"Some people would think Ohio State-Michigan is such a big rivalry, they probably did a lot of negative recruiting. They didn't. There were other schools that did, but they didn't, and that to me sends a message they're trying to do things the right way."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110310/SPORTS0201/103100446/Rich-Rodriguez-...

tomcollins's picture

Interesting graph:

 

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=front...

 

Look for the two states that thought "too leinient".  Butthurt much?

cal3713's picture

Not anymore, now it's pretty much 70% of america says "too lenient", except for Ohio, where "too lenient" only gets around 40% of the vote (but still wins).

Doc's picture

I listened to about 5 minutes of Cowterds show on Wednesday morning and couldn't stomach the guy.  He is a hater and this just gave him more ammo.  During my 5 minutes he was stating that tOSU(fan base)  could no longer point its finger at other schools running dirty programs, because Tress is just as dirty.  Whatever Cowterd!

Dick Rod, love him or hate him, is a coach.  And he knows what it takes to run a big time program.  He seems to be in Tressel's corner, just like Bob Knight and even Urban Meyer.  Being a coach at that level isn't "Sunday Afternoon In The Park".  Mistakes will be made, just like in every profession. 

"Say my name."

tomcollins's picture

This isn't some basic mistake.  This is a 100% obvious situation where anyone in that position instantly is required to know what to do.  This is significant.  Mistakes will be made and we'll excuse him for that (not going for it against USC for example).  This was far beyond that.  Unless some new information comes out that shows Tressel did what he was supposed to do, or at least made some attempt, other than continuing to lie about it, hide it, or otherwise ignore it, the onus is on him.  If he forwarded this to compliance and they sat on it, his hands are a bit more clean.  The million dollar question is what he actually did with those emails.  If no one else saw them, it's a HUGE mistake.

Doc's picture

TC, I think Tressel had the best intentions for everyone involved.  He did not want to interfere with a federal investigation and he was afraid for his athletes.  With the shooting of one of his players in 1996 I'm sure he was being very cautious.  I do not believe for one iota that Jim Tressel is dishonest , a cheat, or a liar.  I don't believe he purposefully tried to cover anything up.  I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt on this one.  The kids were violating minor NCAA rules, why put your career in jeopardy for that?  I think he had a good reason, a reason we may never know.

"Say my name."

tomcollins's picture

You believe that, even though he lied about it after the investigation was given?  Even though no mention of confidentiality was given until 2 weeks after the first email?

I gave him the benefit of the doubt until his story stopped making any sense when you actually look at the facts.

Who knows what he was thinking.  Either way, it's incredibly obvious he either wanted to protect people (and not the players involved, since once it came out, he kept quiet/lied about knowing about it).  He knew he was doing wrong there and kept quiet to avoid trouble and hope it blew over.

There was no one to tip off.  This was the suspect's lawyer.  He already knew the hammer was coming.  This was an excuse made up after the fact.  If it was his real reasoning, he's a much dumber man than I give him credit for being.

If you don't believe he's a liar, look at the document he signed in December, when there was no one to protect but himself and his idiotic lawyer buddy, which said he knew nothing of this.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

Tom,

Confidentiality was not needed for the intial set of information.  The only damning thing in the original email is that he was told some players were exchanging stuff for tattoos.  After Cicero talked to Rife in the office he asked for confidentiality--the 4/16 email. I think this is the one JT took seriously as it contained specific information about what Riffe had in his possession. I think Tressel took this one to heart, got scared as he said he did, and did what he thought was right.

And you are wrong about Cicero being the suspects lawyer--he represented him on another case.  If he rep'd him on this case, he would have had ALL the names of players and his pipeline of info would not have dried up. Also the letter you speak of was signed in SEPTEMBER, not December. Thats an important distinction since the letter asks if you KNOW of any infractions and at this time, I dont believe Tressel KNEW  that the players had traded stuff of tats.

Again, not saying he did nothing wrong, but they way you are branding him is not fair, particluarly in light of your misunderstanding of the facts.  

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

tomcollins's picture

Why didn't he go to compliance immediately for the first email?  This is basic stuff.  Forward the email.

This was not a request of confidentiality from a federal investigator but from some guy who didn't want his cover blown.  He can consult OSU's legal team, obviously he's fine revealing confidential information there.  I don't know he didn't, but there's no evidence he did.

There was one in September, another in December IIRC.  At worst, he needed to come forward in December.  But he was too chickenshit and realized he was screwed already, so why not stay quiet and hope it goes away.  This was all found not by Tressel being honest and coming forward, but investigating another issue and stumbling upon it.

The story doesn't add up.  I really wanted to give Tressel the benefit of the doubt, but it doesn't take much digging to realize the dude is playing us all.

btalbert25's picture

Things aren't adding up because we don't know the whole story.  Good or bad there is more to this.  If Tressel was this master of deception that you and others are claiming him to be, he certainly would've been fired.  There will undoubtedly be more information to come.  After that maybe he will seem like a villain or saint, I'm not sure, either way I 'm not sure my opinion of the man will change much.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

I so, so respectfully disagree. First, as I have stated before, Tressll is under NO obligation to report EVERY RUMOR he gets via e-mail. Even his response sounds cookie cutter: Will get on it ASAP!!...jt...Go Bucks!!" Again, note the difference between the first back and forth email and the second.  Not only does the second e-mail cite specific items traded where the first one does not, the first email is info from Rifee to police, from police to state attorney's office, to Cicero to Tressl.  The second email cites info from Rife to Cicero to Tressel .  My point is that Tress did not take the first e-mail all that seriously.  When he got the one with specifics, the request for confidentiality, and info from Riffe himself, he made the decision to keep the info quiet.  I believe he did so for the reasons he stated.  I think his error was having a wait and see attitude after December.  I simply cannot accept that he is unscrupulous in any way.  He is human and made a human mistake.

No way he played us all--otherwise he would have been smart enough to get himself out of this one.

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

tomcollins's picture

He may not have taken it seriously, although this isn't some random yahoo, this is someone with Ohio State Football connections.  I don't know the extent of the relationship, but I'd be willing to bet he knew who he was before that.  If not, you may have a point.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt there.

Then he gets specific information.  Again, HUUUGE mistake not to get that to proper authorities at Ohio State, who can actually decide legal matters better than a football coach. If he somehow thought he couldn't tell him, it's a big mistake.  If he did tell them, I'd be surprised they are hanging him out to dry here.  He absolutely had an obligation to report this and there is no way someone with his experience would even think it might be an iffy situation.  At the very least, he needs to be consulting counsel at OSU.  Maybe he did, and if this comes out, I'll take it back.  It looks REALLY bad that he supposedly didn't, but that is the million dollar question.  Perhaps he is taking the hit because he DID tell the higher ups and they basically blew it off or tried to hide it.

And then in December, unless he somehow forgot, it's game over there.  This is not a human mistake but an "oh shit, I hope no one saw that" big time mistake.  This is super serious stuff here.  The confidentiality excuse is gone, the protecting the player excuse is gone.  There are only two people left to protect - Chris Cicero and Jim Tressel.

This is not a single human mistake, but a pattern of repeated mistakes.  It's basically The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Jim Tressel.  There is a pattern with previous players where he turns a blind eye.  Does he really not notice these things, or just tries really hard not to look?

Maestro's picture

I think the positive far outweighs the negative on his ledger though. 

I think all coaches tend to overlook some of the things that their players engage in.  All he can really do is try to teach them the best way that he knows.

Not attempting to excuse his behavior here, but I just think he is a good man and deserves the benefit of the doubt with what we know.

vacuuming sucks

btalbert25's picture

Where is this pattern of turning a blind eye with players?  Are you referring to Troy and Clarrett who both were suspended when their transgressions became known? 

tomcollins's picture

Pryor driving "borrowed" dealer cars also comes to mind as well.

William's picture

I remember reading some report not too long ago that discussed Pryor's access to dealer cars and how it was actually common practice amongst many top collegiate athletes. Apparently many collegiate athletes with a high chance of professional success and fiscal success are given preferential loans allowing them access to such vehicles.... I'll try and find the link for the article.

tomcollins's picture

This of course is common practice, but it really seems like improper benefits.  If the NCAA doesn't think of it this way, LOL.

btalbert25's picture

The NCAA doesn't see it as improper though, we can LOL about it, but there's nothing improper about it.  Go to Lexington, KY, you'll see all their players rolling around in sweet cars, they've been doing it for 20 years down there at least. 

tomcollins's picture

I will give Tress some credit.  He's lies/violations were omissions and failure to act.  That's much better than someone who actively cheats and violates problems.  But it's still bad.

M Man's picture

TomCollins - I agree with you.  I am no more critical of Tressel's actions/inactions than you are.  I will absolutely be as comfortable in defending Tressel on the basic lack of institutional importance of the underlying matter (Tatgate) as you are.  I expect that each of us have largely equivalent levels of respect for Jim Tressel.  We both think that Tressel made a big mistake personally here.  But even Tressel knows that.

But your hatred of Rich Rodriguez seems hysterical, especially if it is at all related to any NCAA matters.  Rodriguez was initially alleged to have "Failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance."  A kind of glorified 'vicarious liability' for things that couldn't be personally pinned on him.  But after the joint investigation by Michigan's own lawyers (including OSU law grad and former NCAA lawyer Gene Marsh) as well as the NCAA enforcement lawyers, the NCAA (in what is a very rare thing for them to do) abandoned that allegation and re-wrote it as an institutional "Failure to supervise."  Rich Rodriguez got (as Tressel now has) a letter of reprimand for the general problem.  But that's all.

I do think, in all fairness, that there will be more coming from the NCAA with regard to Tressel.  I think that Tressel, unlike Rodriguez, will certainly be found to have "Failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance."  And that OSU will get a three or four year probation for this mess.  I don't especially want the Buckeyes to get any more punishment, but I think that realistically, it is inevitable.

And please remember, TomCollins, how generous both Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke have been toward Tressel in their comments over the past three days. 

tomcollins's picture

I have no opinion on the RichRod matter.  He's had a bit of a slimy past, but as far as I'm concerned he is innocent.  However, he's an awful coach and being relieved of him is the best thing you can hope for as a Michigan fan.

Maestro's picture

I listened to about 3 minutes less than you DOC.  I heard him call Cicero a "so-called attorney" and quote Bob Davie and I had to switch to NPR for fear of wrecking my car on the way to Ash Wednesday service.

vacuuming sucks

Doc's picture

That's funny, I too was on my way to Ash Wednesday Mass.

 

"Say my name."

costinjr's picture

this really is the best community of people, especially in times like this. Positive energy is always good to hear

cal3713's picture

I "love" the irony that comes along with the possibility of getting 2010-11 vacated... back to defeated in the post-season against the SEC.  Sweet.

Seth9's picture

Thanks for allowing me to post here. I am a Michigan fan, but I do have the ability to be objective when actually analyzing things. And I'm pretty sure that you're wrong about losing the Arkansas win should the season be vacated.

The Arkansas win wouldn't be vacated because the violations were uncovered and punishment was handed down before the game, so the players were elligible for the Arkansas game. Every regular season win, however, would be vacated because Tressel knew the players to be inelligible and played them anyway.

Brutus's picture

Posting this late in the day after a string of 120 posts probably means this won't get looked at but I'm going to throw this out there anyway because I'm looking for some feedback.  I'm not going to speculate as to whether JT was responding yes to the question about forwarding the emails or if he was just acknowledging the question.  I think the more interesting point is how quickly Smith cut him off from answering. What does the answer to that question have to do with the NCAA investigation?  He could have only responded one of two ways.  Let's start with no.  I don't see how JT reiterating that he did not forward the emails would be pertinent to the NCAA investigation or why Smith wouldn't want him to answer. That's basically exactly what he had just said and the basis of his entire defense.  "I didn't forward the emails to anyone because I was told they were confidential and didn't want to jeopardize the federal investigation", or something like that.  Whatever the case, I don't see the harm in answering that question if the answer is no.

So let's assume the answer is yes.  If so, things get very complicated.  First, it punches holes in JT's claim about wanting to maintain the confidentiality.  He'd sort of be perjuring himself.  Second, it raises the question of who.  The OSU legal department? His own lawyer?  A coach or player?  If he did forward the email to someone, I'd sort of look at this as a positive because i'd have to assume that he did so in order to get additional guidance.  Of course, if he forwarded it to a coach or player, then they just end up becoming co-conspirators so that would be very very bad.  But giving him the benefit of the doubt, let's say he forwarded it to someone who would have an opinion that mattered.  At least he's getting additional guidance and not looking like such an idiot for doing nothing, right.  Either way, if he forwarded the email, I can totally see why Smith would not want him to answer.  Answering yes would lead to dozens of follow-up questions and Smith made it clear at the beginning that they wanted to get in and out of there.

I certainly think there is more to this story, but I don't think we're going to find out anything which will in any way vindicate JT or make what he did seem less bad/stupid/shady.  If there's a piece of information which could possibly mitigate the circumstances, why would that not be in the self-report?  Why would OSU allow JT to get raked over the coals in the national media if there were additional facts that make what he did seem more understandable?  I don't really get why the NCAA investigation would preclude OSU from disclosing mitigating information.  That's exactly what they'd want to do.

Not trying to be a pessimist about this.  I just don't want to get my hopes up that we're going to find out something which makes it look like Tressel did the right thing, or at least not as bad as it seems.  I'm going to stop reading too much into Smith not allowing certain questions to be answered.  I think that was just smoke screen to keep JT from having to answer more difficult questions.

Thoughts anyone?

Bucks's picture

Yes, on the thoughts:

 

1) We agree on the obvious with that yes nod. If it was a no and nothing there, Gene had no need to rush in.

 

2) There are rumblings that more will be released on this in the future that will look better on JT's part.

 

3) The reasoning for not having it able to be said at the conference was remarked on by GS himself. That is part of the investigation (and from his reaction, a big portion of it) and they were unable to go into it at this time.

 

Keep in mind, this was NOT the university time table to come forward with this. They were rushed in 24 hours due to a leak of information. I will not be surprised if there is something good coming from the forwarded emails.

Brutus's picture

I get all that, I'm just trying to understand from a pragmatic point of view, why the answer to that question is so relevant to the NCAA investigation.  If the answer is yes and in any way mitigates why Tressel kept quiet, I would think OSU would put that right out there for the world to see.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

One more thing, did anyone notice in the June 6 email the part where Jim writes "any names from our last discussion? I would like to hold some collateral if you know what I mean?"

 

What in the hell does he mean? It sounds very ominous, but I can't even fathom what he's talking about.

Seth9's picture

Assuming that Tressel forwarded the emails, then the offense is almost certainly worse. If he forwarded them to a coach, player, or anyone like that, then the confidentiality argument is completely gone and as you noted, it introduces co-conspirators in the violations. If he forwarded them to anyone in the OSU administration, then some of the blame goes away from Tressel, but the NCAA will see that multiple people in the university were involved in the decision to not report the violations, in which case there's a potential lack of institutional control case which is far far worse for you guys than what you've got now. He could have forwarded it to a lawyer and the lawyer told him to tell compliance, in which case he's in a worse situation than he is now for ignoring legal advice, but not incredibly because it only serves to weaken his explanation for what he did.

There are two possibilities I can come up with in which forwarding the emails is a positive:

1. Tressel forwarded the emails to a university lawyer not associated with compliance and the lawyer told him to sit on it to avoid interfering with a federal investigation. If that's the case, Tressel's still on the hook for not coming forward in December, but there is something of an excuse here. However, this is almost certainly not the case because it would involve the lawyer being very dumb and telling him to keep quiet when he was under an obligation to report the contents of the emails to compliance.

2. He forwarded the emails to someone associated with federal law enforcement and they asked him to be quiet. If that's the case, then Tressel is somewhat exonorated, although he still should have come forward in December. However, if this is in fact what occurred, it makes no sense for the university to not have made note of it at the press conference or in their letter to the NCAA.

There is also a third possibility, namely that Tressel did not forward the emails to anyone, but that Smith didn't want to allow a line of questioning concerning the specifics of the investigation. That is probably the best case scenario here. because the others I listed are highly unlikely.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

don't listen to forde, either, since he has ttun winning the B1G tournament...

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.