Tuesday everyone, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. Sleep well last night? No? Maybe something on your mind? Well, that's not too surprising, because possibly the biggest challenge of Jim Tressel's coaching career was leveled at him last night at around 8pm EST.
As of now there is no information beyond what was reported by Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel at Yahoo! Sports: Jim Tressel was allegedly informed of the merchandise scheme in April of last year, but failed to report it to anyone or instigate an OSU Compliance investigation until December of that year, when it all began to come out.
First, I want to make clear that these are extremely serious allegations that cannot be dismissed as minor. Not reporting a known rules violation to the NCAA and/or his superiors is a huge violation itself, a lie by omission, and also a specific violation of Tressel's contract with Ohio State. In fact, as pointed out by Robinson and Wetzel, the contract carries with it the possible penalty of termination should Tressel fail to report any rule violation. If true, what Tressel is now accused of could very well end his coaching career; Ohio State actually going that far would of course rest on the particulars of the incident, but for now it is one possible outcome of many.
Secondly, it is highly unlikely that either Charles Robinson or Dan Wetzel would risk their reputations on a piece of investigative journalism that they didn't believe was accurate and authentic. Yahoo! Sports is a legitimate reporting organization, and whatever you think about either Wetzel or Robinson, no editor with a shred of sanity or professionalism would allow such a damning story to go live without at least something behind it. Some OSU fans have pointed out that the story cites only one anonymous source, which is fair criticism, and if that source continues to be unnamed and the only supplier of information to this story, then its credibility should be put in doubt. But keep in mind that Yahoo's track record with regard to investigative sports journalism is anything but shaky, and that it is probable that Wetzel and Robinson have not played every card in their hand.
Lastly, it is also important to keep in mind what we know of Jim Tressel. In 10 years as the Ohio State football coach, he has conducted himself with class, dignity, and fairness. He is a man who commands enormous and admiring respect among his coaching peers, his administrative peers, and maybe most importantly, his players. In other words, everything I have personally read and heard about the man indicates that he is a coach who would not risk his job, his future, and his integrity to protect five players who made a foolish but ultimately payable mistake. For Jim Tressel to have done what he is accused of would not only be monumentally stupid, it would also be in direct opposition to the values and standards that he has set for his team and himself.
This story is still very, very young. In a few hours, OSU will likely put out a press release detailing their side of the story, and Yahoo! Sports will respond. I have no idea where this will all lead; either Wetzel and Robinson could lose a ton of credibility, or we may have to reevaluate how we view Jim Tressel.
I do know that this comment, posted on our website on March 2nd, worries me.
And Now For Something Completely Different Well, that's enough of that for now. In other news, the Lantern has an interesting breakdown of the expenses and profit that Ohio State incurred during the Rose Bowl of 2010 and the Sugar Bowl in January. OSU lost around $80k going to the Rose Bowl, but ended up making roughly $300k by going to the Sugar Bowl. Some interesting tidbits are that OSU has to take on the penalty of any unsold tickets, and for the Sugar Bowl this year that meant 1,673 unsold tickets had to be bought by the university to the tune of around $288k.
Transportation is also huge factor in how much OSU's expenses are going to be for a bowl; 239 players and team staff members, 283 band and cheerleading squad members, and 136 faculty and administrative personnel all travel on the university's dime. Looking at the numbers might make your head go numb, but imagine having to do that every single year.
Brotherly Love For The Villain Evan Turner has had an up and down rookie season in the NBA, but at times he has shown flashes of the incredible all-around player that he was at Ohio State. One of the biggest challenges for Turner has been to figure out what exactly his role is on an NBA team, and that has led to some frustration and nights where he has seemed completely out of place. Not on Sunday night against Golden State:
Turner had 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot in 28 taut minutes. Those included the final 14 minutes of the game, and in his first 40 seconds on the floor in the fourth quarter, Turner brought the place to its feet when he blocked a shot, grabbed four rebounds and dove to the floor for a loose ball. He again received roars of approval when he threw down a dunk with 2:23 remaining in the fourth that kept the Sixers in pursuit.
Someone said of Evan Turner that he'd be a "pain in the ass" for about a season in the NBA, but eventually figure it out. I agree with this. Turner has a ton of very evident talent, and just needs to find his niche on his team. Once he does, expect to see a lot more nights like the one he had on Sunday.
Playoffs?! We're Talking About Playoffs?! On March 2nd, NCAA president Mark Emmert made an interesting (and possibly overlooked) statement about the potential for playoffs in what is now known as the FBS, formerly D-1, saying that when the FBS' contracts with the BCS expires in 2014, he would be open to negotiations as long as the FBS members could reach a consensus on whether they want a playoff system or not. Of course, therein lies the rub; getting 119 or so organizations to agree on anything seems somewhat unlikely, but on the other hand this places the ball squarely in the court of the colleges (and by extension, the fans). You've got three years to make your case. Aaannnndddd GO.
Cam Movin' On Up Due to what might be perceived by some as a disappointing senior season due to somewhat less than impressive stats, Cam Heyward had been sitting fairly low on some draft boards, even slipping into the 2nd round by some accounts. Now, interestingly, he seems to be moving up in some estimations, despite not having participated in the combine due to his ongoing recovery from surgery. Heyward's size and versatility help him enormously here; any team looking for an athletic end who can also be stout against the run would do very well to draft him, and I think his high football IQ and consistent motor will only help him in the league.
And that's it for this morning. Stay tuned for more coverage on the Tressel story; we'll have all the news as soon as it breaks.