Warts by Brooks

By Jason Priestas on May 16, 2011 at 10:00a
Intrigue at the WHACPoe out, Emig in, Brooks 0.

The move late Friday to replace Shelly Poe as head of Ohio State's football PR and communications with former staffer Jerry Emig was a curious one. She was widely admired within the SID community, having been elected to their hall of fame thanks to her run at OSU and prior to that, 19 distinguished years at her alma mater, West Virginia. Further, she was well liked by the beat guys for her efforts to open things up at the WHAC, providing access to players and helping to perform the minor miracle of getting media into select practices.

Whether Gee and Smith wanted a fresh voice for the program as it gears up for its August 12th hearing or Poe was burnt out, we may never know. We do know, however, that the Machiavellian scheme advanced by Brooks Melchoire -- that Tressel orchestrated the swap -- is 100% false.

We know this because because two people very close to the situation are directly disputing it. But don't take our word for it.

Let's start with Brooks' take on Emig:

Over a decade ago, it was Emig who was top dog at the OSU Sports Information Department. But in January, 2000, he resigned after it was discovered he had described comedian and Ohio State alumnus Richard Lewis in the Buckeyes’ basketball media guide thusly:

“Actor, Writer, Comedian, Drunk.”

It's true that in 2000, a media guide described the comedian in those unflattering terms and Lewis was justifiably upset. What's not true, is that Emig was in any way directly responsible for the incident. A low-level staffer thought it would be a hilarious idea -- it wasn't -- and Emig, as head of the department that produced the media guide, was fired. Seven years later, he was re-hired by the university and spent four years handling media duties for other sports before Friday's move.

But why was Poe reassigned? Here's what Brooks had to say:

After Poe allowed media access to Bauserman, who said little to nothing of substance about the most recent NCAA inquiries and the football program itself, Tressel sought out Poe’s ouster, which was granted today with the announcement that Poe has been re-assigned to women’s soccer, swimming, softball and “director of all on-campus championships.”

It was also Tressel who pushed for Poe’s replacement to be Emig, who I was told today got into a confrontation with a media member at the 2011 Sugar Bowl because the reporter asked Terrelle Pryor, during his only media availability that week, about the then-recently-imposed NCAA sanctions involving tattoos and cash for Ohio State player-only memorabilia.

If you were (somehow still) wondering if the walls were closing in on Tressel, I think you now have your answer.

Here's footage of the interview session Bauserman conducted after the spring game. The clip is just 90 seconds, but the entire 10 minute session was variations of "we're all in a competition" and "I hope to get a shot." Essentially, as Brooks said, "nothing of substance." As you can see, those responses -- 100% pure Tresselspeak -- would anger the coach to know end. Right.

The scenario also says nothing of Tressel's legenday loyalty. It's the same type of loyalty that drives us nuts when it comes to lineup changes and it was the same loyalty that helped Maurice Clarett get into the UFL. It's true, as Brooks stated, that Tressel personally traveled to Morgantown to pitch Poe on the position four years ago. However, there's zero chance he tossed his loyalty aside because of some non-statements out of Joe Bauserman.

Make no mistake, Jim Tressel is an extremely powerful figure within the Ohio State athletic industrial complex. His contract included a clause to ease his move into an administrator position when he called it quits on the sideline and Gee's comments at the March 8th press conference, in which he said he hoped the coach didn't fire him only reinforce that point. But, like any leader besieged by scandal, his capital within the organization had been sapped. It's highly unlikely he could have pulled the trigger even if he had wanted to.

Unfortunately, reports like this are par for the course for Brooks. It's the same publicity-at-all-costs thought process that inspires one to create a "girls" subdomain and launch on to any whisper or half-truth as if it is the gospel. It's also a formula that sometimes backfires.  Just two days before Cam Newton capture the Heisman, Brooks breathlessly reported that a source had told him that Cam's father, Cecil, would attend the ceremony. Of course Cecil would go on to issue a statement declaring his intent to skip the ceremony a mere 15 minutes after the story (and kept his word by not attending), but you'd never know it from visiting SPORTSbyBROOKS. The original story has been updated to convey the complete opposite of what it originally said with no note that it had been updated (Pro tip: the automatically created URL gives it away).

Add to that, and others, this latest example of Brooks' rush to publish -- facts be damned. When you don't do any of your own original reporting and rely on tipsters you're going to have things like that.


Comments Show All Comments

Kurt's picture

I'm more interested in what you know from your 2 sources very close to the situation than I am about Brooks' girls site and ways he reported other stories.

Kurt's picture

My bad, read it in a rush, and misinterpreted what you were saying there...

There was a comment in the buckshot column by someone who claimed to have worked in the dept previously though and had some points.  While one should probably take Brooks with a grain of salt, I'd like to know more about this situation..my inclination is that it's quite as non-story as some would think.

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

I posted those comments, and yes, there was some talk during my time there that Tressel and Poe frequently butted heads, and that his heavy regulation of player availability was bothering the media and those they worked with. As for Bauserman being the reason for his anger, I have no idea, and quite honestly it would be very silly if that were the case. That reasoning seems very implausible to me. But as far as Tressel perhaps at least having a say in her demotion, I can't say I would be that surprised if it were true. But the this gentleman's reasoning for that seems weak.

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

Also, I encountered Jerry Emig a handful of times, and he's as classy a fellow as I've come across. Helpful, professional and organized.

poop's picture

Maybe Herbie could get a job there when he leaves ESPN. Let's be honest though, no one with half a brain takes Brooks seriously. I used to go for the TNA and the entertainment value but everything there should be taken with a grain or two of salt.

m1ek's picture

Uh, Brooks was pretty clearly saying that Tressel was pissed because Poe let Bauseman talk at all - not because of what he said. He was mad because his order was ignored.

Jason Priestas's picture

Still doesn't compute. Nothing in Bauserman's appearance flies in the face of what Tressel has done or allowed in the past.

Should she have sent Pryor out to speak?

Pam's picture

And exactly where is the proof that JT was pissed at all?  It's all specualtion which Brooks passes off as fact over and over.

Nitz25's picture

Tressel is as "loyal" as anyone in his position can be, but he did turn his back on Todd Boeckman pretty badly... so like any human being he is certainly capable of such things.

Brooks' conclusion that this must be JT's doing doesn't hold much water, but neither does the claim that it could never happen because JT is without sin (clearly he isn't).

BuckeyeSki's picture

Boeckman absolutely deserved to be sat down after the embarrassment in the Coliseum. Tress did what was best for the team at that point.

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Pam's picture

With Beanie out, Tressel didn't have anyone in the backfield.  He needed a QB that could run.  TB wasn't one and TP was. Business decision.

Nitz25's picture

If I were to play devil's advocate I might say replacing you're head of football PR is also a business decision.

Tressel needing someone who could run is the same cop out response everyone makes.  He had 1 QB who knew the offense very well, could read college coverages, etc; and one young but extremely atheltic kid who effectively would just get the ball and outrun people.  There is no reason you don't use both of those assets at QB.  Beanie was back to 20 carries/100 yards a game two weeks later.

btalbert25's picture

After back to back failures in the BCS title game, the Buckeyes would've had to go undefeated to make the title that season.  After a lackluster game against Ohio U, and an ass whooping at USC, there was no way Ohio State had a prayer of getting back to the BCS title game.  At that point, you look to the future.  You get your star recruit game experience and let him learn and take some knocks.  If that means benching a guy who, every time there was pressure fumbled, threw an INT, or took a sack then so be it.  With the line being as mediocre as it was, you take a chance on the guy who can outrun pressure. 

I guess you can see that as turning your back on the guy, but lets face it, he wasn't an NFL caliber QB, he was still part of the team, and he didn't lose his scholarship, the guy just lost his job because quite frankly the team had nothing to gain by him starting. 

poop's picture

Tressel might have saved Boeckman's life that day. He should be sending Tressel a thank you card every year on September 13th. Can't put it all on Todd, though; the o-line couldn't even push the OU defense around the week before getting detonated in California. I think he made the right decision even though Todd was a senior. Shelly was good and I don't know what to think about this situation. I wouldn't expect her to stick around with her new, reduced responsibilities.

The_Lurker's picture

If Tressel wasn't loyal to Boeckman, why did he put in specific packages so Todd could play in the bowl game (and even throw a TD pass to Pryor)? Sounds like he wanted to reward Todd for his service, despite the obvious turnover problems that were exposed late in Boeckman's junior season (i.e., every time he was pressured, he threw interceptions or near-interceptions).

FWIW, all coaches who want to keep their locker rooms under tight wraps bump heads with their media relations people. The PR folks are there to help the media get what interviews and info they need to complete their stories, so you've got media members wanting access, a coach who doesn't want to allow access and the media relations staff caught in the middle (believe me, they get a lot of grief from the media too). I once worked in the New Jersey Devils organization and sometimes wondered why they even had a PR staff.

I have serious doubts about Brooks' story, partially (ok, mostly) because it's Brooks' story. I think JT isn't in a position to make strong demands at the moment, but I wouldn't necessarily be shocked if it's true, either. But it's irresponsible to make the accusation and smacks of piling on for page views.

btalbert25's picture

Here in Cincinnati, we had the pleasure of Greg Doyel on the radio in the AM for a while.  He and Mo Egger did a show together and to say the least, it was total garbage.  Now, Egger has stayed on the radio, and he's not really my cup of tea but Doyel was insufferable.  Every day, he talked about MMA.  Most points he had to make came back to MMA.  Rich Franklin is awesome, I got choked out, UFC OMG.  When he wasn't talking about MMA, it was usually some rambling about Rick Majerus being a pig, or some other sports character was an A-hole and he knows because he gets to go behind the scenes.  He just didn't have anything of value to bring to the table.  Now my sample size was the 20 minutes or so that it took to drive to work every morning for a couple of months. 

His character was fine for sports talk radio where there's nothing of value offered quite frequently.  Sports talk radio,is like most talk radio, with a guy saying wild inflammatory things to try and get similar characters to call in and fight about why they are wrong, or agree with everything the guy says.  What is a problem though is that he treats his column like he treated his talk radio show, and inflammatory piece.  He wants to invoke emotion.  He's writing an opinion piece and throwing a couple of pieces of info in to paint a certain picture.  It's classic talk radio/24 hour/tabloid news at it's best.