Late Hit

By Ramzy Nasrallah on July 5, 2011 at 1:00p
65 Comments
Vanity and ambition: Sometimes they win prizes.

"Did I ever tell you about the time George Dohrmann personally promised me he would never go after Ohio State football?"

Normally this tease wouldn't pique my or anyone else's interest (George who?) but these words were uttered to me on the afternoon of April 28, right around the same time Ohio State fans were learning or remembering who he was.

Dohrmann was the investigative journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize for his relentless inquisition in exposing systemic academic fraud within the University of Minnesota basketball program ten years ago.  He was rumored to be in Columbus at that very moment whacking Ohio State with his worthy investigative reporting stick.

The guy who had asked me the question was no random stranger.  Chevy was a lifelong friend of mine and this was a reunion of sorts; two old friends meeting up in New Orleans for the bachelor party of a mutual friend who would be getting married over Memorial Day weekend.  Two old friends whose mutual love of Ohio State football spanned multiple decades and venues.

Whenever Chevy and I have gotten together to attend Ohio State football games - outside of Columbus, anyway - bad things typically happen. 

In August of 1999 we were at the New Jersey Meadowlands watching the Buckeyes flail around like a mid-level MAC team against the Miami Hurricanes, appearing to look mortal to start a season for the first time in six years. 

The following year in West Lafayette we knew that Michael Doss had completely blown his cover-two assignment before Drew Brees had even released the ball for the game-winning touchdown.

In September of 2001 we were there in Pasadena to witness what is still the worst performance by any Ohio State team in my lifetime.  Apologies to the 2006 team in Glendale, but this team was actually trying to win.

In January of 2008 Chevy and I straddled the 50-yard line at the Louisiana Superdome - just a few blocks from where we were sitting at that moment - to have the best view in the house of LSU's 31-0 run that erased a promising start and put the BCS title out of reach for the second year in a row.

He had introduced me to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop on one of our several trips to New Orleans several years earlier.  It was built early in the 1700s, and true to its name, was a blacksmith shop until its owners made it a bar shortly before the Revolutionary War. 

It's not uncommon to find city councilmen, prosecutors, movers and shakers using Lafitte's as their de facto off-site conference room.  It's a bar disguised as a blacksmith shop.  They serve all of the spirits of the south, from Abita to Purple Drank

The weathered walls of Lafitte's have absorbed the full gamut of conversation topics throughout its lengthy history, from a fledgling America in its infancy to the post-apocalyptic world after Hurricane Katrina.  If we weren't about to give those walls their first-ever conversation about George Dohrmann, then we were probably no worse than second or third.

"The George Dohrmann?" I laughed.  "Wow, that's random."

"I never told you about this?  We did shots and he promised me he would never go after Tressel or Ohio State football, ever."

"If you did, I forgot about it." I replied.  "I can't honestly say that I ever gave a shit about George Dohrmann prior to last week when I heard he was in Ohio turning over every rock between Columbus and Youngstown trying to find enough details to support the bombshell story he's there to write."

"I think it was 2004," said Chevy.  "Maybe it was earlier than that - all of those years kind of run together.  I was in San Francisco at a bar - "

I cut him off abruptly.  "Hold on a second.  A story about shots is going to require shots."

Two shots of Patron quickly arrived, along with two Abita Ambers.  None of Lafitte's famous Purple Drank, however.  That's just headache juice.  This bachelor party was already going to test our resilience as it was.

"It was one of those pretentious places you go to be seen and feel edgy," Chevy continued, "and it was totally packed." 

Immediately I knew the story was going to have a negative bent to it.  Chevy is more of a Lafitte's type of guy.  He goes to the Varsity Club on non-game days.  He's not big on venues where the local, self-appointed intelligencia go to drink $20 martinis. 

"I was at the bar with a couple of friends I was visiting while in town, having a great conversation with their friend Greg Dohrmann."

"Greg?" I asked.

"George's brother," said Chevy.  "Awesome guy.  Firm handshake, looks you in the eye when you're talking to him, humble, funny.  We had a mutual friend there and within about five minutes of being introduced we were chatting it up.  He mentioned that his brother George was on his way and would be there shortly."

"And you didn't know who he was." I said, flatly.

"Oh, Greg briefed me," said Chevy.  "It hadn't been that long since he had won the Pulitzer for the Minnesota stories, so I knew before he arrived that he was the journalist who had basically blown up Gopher basketball.  I decided I wouldn't bring up his job when he arrived."

"How conscientious of you," I said.

"I just wanted to avoid bringing up a topic that I'm sure people had rehashed and forced him to talk about over and over," said Chevy.  "It would be like asking Mike Tyson how Evander Holyfield's ear tasted or some obviously lame, low-hanging fruit like that.  I didn't plan on bringing up sports at all, and you know how hard that is for me."

"Right," I said, "but he wasn't going to have any idea who you were, or how difficult that would be."

"Right."

We picked up our two little plastic cups of Patron, tapped them together, and consumed the contents while only squinting momentarily.

"So I was having this great conversation with Greg when George showed up.  He has sort of a slight, nerdish look, quick speaker, high-pitched nasal voice.  Right away I could tell that while they were related, they were nothing at all alike."

Well, whatever.  Siblings are like that.  "You look like and are nothing like your brother either," I said.

"Well, Greg was everything George wasn't," said Chevy.  "George had a classic dead fish handshake when we were introduced and he never once looked me in the eye.  He was constantly scanning the bar.  Greg was engaging, direct, interested."

I had been in sales for too many years to not be completely jaded by weak handshakes.  "Ugh," I said.  "Never understood how any guy could get past teenage years still shaking hands like the Queen of England."

Chevy nodded.  "When I or anyone else with us spoke to Greg, he was attentive, like you were the most important person there.  George always seemed to be looking for someone else who was more important."

"So he's socially awkward," I said.  "Maybe he was supposed to meet someone and he was looking for them."

Chevy wrinkled his forehead.  "He was supposed to meet someone.  Greg!"

"Ah.  So if he was awkward and aloof, how did you end up doing shots with him and getting him to make that promise he's breaking right now?"

Chevy started laughing.  "I was standing there thinking about how to sort of slide away from him without being too abrupt.  Then it happened."

"What happened?" I asked.

"He just started talking about a story he was currently writing: So this new story I'm writing for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is about blah blah blah...it should be pretty interesting. And it's weird because he's going into all of this detail about whatever he was writing while looking over my shoulder or at his shoes."

"What was the story about?

"I don't even remember," said Chevy, "but he spoke really quickly and without any periods to his sentences.  And then it happened."

"WHAT?"

"He's talking about this story he's writing and the access he's getting to write it and he says, I guess I get that sort of leeway to do my research as a Pulitzer Prize winner."

Chevy stared at me without saying anything.  There was deliberate silence.

"And that's when he stopped talking for the first time," he continued, "like to allow me to absorb what he had just said and so that I could comment on his award.  That's also when he finally made eye-contact for the first time."

"Wow," I said.  "George is in awe of George.  Did you give him the satisfaction he was looking for?"

"I told him Greg had mentioned his Pulitzer earlier," said Chevy, "but the whole 'don't mention work or sports' thing was now totally out the window."

"So you had clearance to indulge," I said.

"I now had free reign to ask him some questions," said Chevy.  "I asked him about what some of the other stories he was chasing were, and he answered but I can't remember what he said because he didn't say 'Ohio State' and that's all I was really waiting to hear."

"Did you tell him you were an Ohio State fan?"

"Not yet," said Chevy.  "I then asked him what he thought of Ohio State football and Jim Tressel and he said he had 'no issues with Ohio State and everything he had heard was that Tressel was a good man who ran a good program."

That's pretty obnoxious.  "Wow, how humbling to have George Dohrmann's blessing," I said.  "And this was after Maurice Clarett, no less."

At that point, despite the manufactured firestorm caused mostly by ESPN's multi-year Clarett obsession and the "ghosts of Youngstown" being dug out of their graves to be re-reported and rehashed, an informed investigative reporter like Dohrmann was nonetheless still under the impression Ohio State was well-run by Tressel.

"That's when I wanted to give his ego the satisfaction it craved," said Chevy.  "I offered that if he promised to never go after Ohio State or Tressel, I'd buy him a shot and a beer."

"That sounds suspicious," I said.  "Like you were trying to steer him away from going after Ohio State, like there was a reason for him to."

"It sounds suspicious now," said Chevy.  "It didn't then."

Tressel has had an alleged 'Teflon' coating going back to his days at Youngstown State. Some thought it was part of a larger conspiracy while others chalked up the sketchiness that occured in Youngstown to it being...Youngstown.

"So George quickly agreed to my terms, and we shook hands on it.  He wasn't going to ever go after Ohio State or Tressel, and I went to the bar, bought the beers and shots, and that was literally the end of our conversation.  He left soon after that to meet up with other people.  I stayed and hung out with Greg and our other friends."

And all of those years after that bar room promise in San Francisco, Dohrmann was in Columbus - not breaking a story - but attempting to capitalize on one.  This wasn't Minnesota basketball either.  It was Ohio State football. 

But there was nothing left to expose this time.  Dohrmann earned his Pulitzer by tirelessly breaking story after story for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, uncovering significant, systemic and deliberate violations over the course of several years. 

He had an office manager and team tutor on the record admitting to writing over 400 papers for athletes.  He had a paper trail.  He had evidence, and Minnesota's internal investigation confirmed his findings.  In stark contrast, Buckeye football had been under a microscope for months already, having self-reported the entire affair.

In late April, everyone already knew that Tressel had lied by omission regarding the infamous tattoo parlor dealings.  The Dispatch's ham-fisted attempt at investigative fame with its hysterically sloppy Cargate reporting was still a week away from breaking and a clear sign that the media was far more interested in manufacturing new scandals that stemmed from Tressel's deliberate cover-up rather than the cover-up itself.

There was blood in the water.  The narrative of Tatgate simply being the tip of the iceberg was now the story, and every veteran journalist and amateur blogger was pelting the university with Public Records Requests so that they could be the first ones to describe the rest of the iceberg.  Except Dohrmann.  He decided to go to Ohio and find people to talk to. 

"He's in Columbus right now," I said to Chevy.  "What would you say if you ran into him again?"

Chevy didn't hesitate.  "I'd tell him that he's a damn liar and that he owes me a shot and a beer."


A month later we were in Michigan for the wedding, and word was that the Dohrmann story was on the verge of being published in Sports Illustrated.  I saw Chevy at the hotel bar immediately upon arriving.

"Have you heard anything about the Dohrmann story?" He asked.

"I've heard it reveals a ton of new information," I replied.

Our worst nightmare.  "Shit," he said, poignantly.

"And I've also heard that it's a pure character assassination piece without paper trails or evidence."

Chevy frowned at me.  "So which is it?"

"I don't know.  The former sounds more like Dohrmann, unfortunately.  The latter is more Sports by Brooks-ish."

"Yeah, you're probably right.  Shit."

The wedding was a blast, and our Michigan buddy married his Ohio bride.  The following Monday morning Tressel abruptly resigned.  The article had not yet published, but the timing of Tressel's "decision" was ominous.

Sports Illustrated quickly got a version of Dohrmann's story pushed out online, carrying the title, "SI investigation reveals eight-year pattern of violations under Tressel."  The story itself, amazingly, did not match its title.

The violations "uncovered" by Dohrmann and his writing partner David Epstein were hardly new to anybody.  Troy Smith taking money from a booster.  Youngstown State stories that had been reported for years.  The "Ohio State as an SEC school" narrative.  Stories that people with televisions in 2005 already knew.

It was an investigation that could have been done entirely with Google.  Everyone who read it, including me, was anticipating a bombshell revelation that never came, in part because of how Dohrmann himself promoted his piece.  It seemed as though the title of the "expose" was written before the work on the article was.

And then there was "Ellis," the anonymous felon/source who had plenty to tell but very little in the way of actual evidence.  Photos of players already known to have tattoos...getting tattoos.   Players selling their belongings for weed without the belongings or proof to support the claims.

Beyond Ellis, who fingered several other players as engaging in TatGate-like violations (most of whom have already accumulated the articles they're accused of having sold and are expecting to be cleared by the NCAA) there was the story of Tressel fixing a raffle at a football camp 30 years ago to favor a coveted player.  That encompasses all the meat of the story.

The rest of the story was prose to fill in the spaces with the story of the coaching fraud who did anything, no matter how dirty, to win.  This was the part of the story that Dohrmann obviously constructed before he arrived in Columbus, and it's what makes his "meat" look so rancid.

Each of his successive stories about the Minnesota basketball scandal uncovered new facts and evidence about what was being done to keep athletes eligible.  Minnesota self-investigated based on Dorhmann's reporting and found itself guilty, guilty, guilty. 

The NCAA gave the Gophers four years of probation but no dreaded Lack of Institutional Control (LOIC), because of its self-policing.  Dorhmann's story on Ohio State was a rehash of known and closed transgressions under Tressel, plus one anonymous source dishing dirt along with the raffle story.

Ohio State looks to be in much better shape than Minnesota based on the NCAA's letter to the school, yet Dohrmann believes that Ohio State, unlike Minnesota, is going to be slapped with LOIC by the NCAA.

Minnesota made Dohrmann "famous."  He helped bring down the men's basketball program and essentially fired Clem Haskins himself.  Now he believes that he brought down Tressel too

Tressel had said openly and public for years that he wouldn't leave Ohio State on perfect terms.  He knew his fate was predetermined, and his actions last April guaranteed it.  Dohrmann's story had absolutely nothing to do with it.  The timing of Tressel's decision is curious, but upon reading the story it's an impossible conclusion.

For Dohrmann, pursuing this story probably wasn't about an agenda against Ohio State or Tressel.  It was about George Dohrmann.  Winning a Pulitzer Prize made him somewhat of an elephant hunter.  Everything from the decision to write the story to the story itself is about Dohrmann's narcissism.  Just ask him.

The NCAA's burden of proof is significantly higher than Dohrmann's was for this story.  The NCAA needs facts to create a Notice of Allegations.  They need evidence.  Dohrmann's burden of proof was simply to avoid getting Sports Illustrated sued.

Ohio libel law doesn't require Dohrmann to reveal his sources or demonstrate actual, tangible evidence of what he has written.  He simply needs to have a source who can maintain anonymity indefinitely who acted as a source of the information.  The NCAA needs a little more than that to act.

I'm not so naive to think the Tat Five were the only Ohio State players to do what they did, in some secret vacuum.  They are, however, the only ones who got caught, and they were pinched because of what happened to Eddie Rife with the FBI and how Columbus lawyer Christopher Cicero chose to "handle" the news with Tressel.

But evidence is required for the NCAA to be punitive.  I'm sure Dohrmann has a portable hard drive filled with over a terabyte of kiddie porn.  But I can't prove it.  I could say that Chevy told me Dorhmann blurted this out at the bar in San Francisco, but he didn't. 

But I could say it.  I could say he said anything.  That's not enough to send him to jail, but it would be no fun for him either. 

While he's probably not driven by an anti-Ohio State bias, you won't see Dohrmann digging into Declan Sullivan's death by negligence at a Notre Dame football practice anytime soon.  Scorned fans usually interpret work like Dohrmann's incorrectly.  He doesn't hate Ohio State.  He just doesn't love Ohio State. 

That's why Notre Dame, his alma mater, is probably safe from Dohrmann's investigative prowess unless he comes down with an extremely acute case of Herbstreit Syndrome.

Based on one story and his history of obnoxiousness all over his Twitter feed, Dohrmann is a bit of a - how shall we say this delicately - an arrogant dweeb in constant need of validation.  That doesn't mean he isn't a talented writer. 

Winning a Pulitzer doesn't happen by accident.  Dohrmann is a consistently strong sportswriter.  Play Their Hearts Out is an excellent book.  You don't have to be cool or humble to be a great writer, but personality and ego both go a long way into understanding intentions.

Dohrmann's inclusion of a 30-year old raffle story for the sole purpose of perpetuating his predetermined narrative is the only hard evidence that you need to understand that he went to Columbus with his story already written.  Strip away the rehashed news and this was the new story.  That's the bombshell?

His ambition got in the way of the story.  It was a still hit with everyone who loves bad news for Ohio State, while it fell absolutely flat with people who had followed the scandal from the outset and actually read stories themselves rather than relying others to digest information on their behalf.

The story was well-written, but the investigation behind it was clearly fruitless.  For anyone who had only started following Tressel that month, it might have seemed like the motherload.  But it wasn't.  It was rehashed, old and overly-reported news peppered with prose to tie it all together nicely. 

Dohrmann's raffle story is unverifiable and impossible to refute with evidence.  Just like that imaginary terabyte of kiddie porn in his computer bag right now.


I ran into Chevy in Columbus last Saturday night at a bar.  We hadn't seen each other since the wedding in Michigan, so it was our first time together since Tressel resigned.

"Did you hear that Dohrmann is coming back to Columbus to do another story?" I asked him.

"Is that really true?  I heard that too.  Something about looking into point-shaving under Tressel."

Ah, yes, point-shaving.  Allegedly Dohrmann picked up some chatter about point-shaving at Ohio State, which can only cause even casual Buckeye fans to laugh, since Tresselball is inherently the active and deliberate practice of point-shaving.  It's running two plays to set up a punt.  It's field goals.  It's field position.  It's Dave.  And Dave.  And more Dave.

It's blowing three-touchdown leads in the second halves of the [Michigan, Kansas State, Arkansas, etc] games by running out the clock with prevent offense and prevent defense. 

It's beating the Fighting Irish in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl by only 14 points instead of 40.  Point shaving is Tresselball.  I - and a thousand other bloggers - have written about Tressel shaving points for years.  Ohio State is absolutely guilty of point-shaving. 

Yet despite all of his crimes against the end zone, Tressel is still incredulously the one of the best coaches in college football history when it comes to covering the spread

Writing this story with a nefarious gambling angle with a student dying in South Bend filming a football practice and smoke everywhere from Eugene to Austin would scream of writer's hubris and obsession.  At some point, even the most egotistical investigative reporter needs to let his great white whale go.

"What do you think of a point-shaving story about Ohio State football?" I asked Chevy.

"I think a point-shaving story would be damaging," he said.  "The rumors could be damaging.  The same way a bullshit story about Thad Gibson getting a free Chrysler was damaging.  The same way that a drugged-out former deadbeat roommate of Terrelle Pryor's who saying he made 40 grand signing stuff is damaging."

Well said, Chevy.  "Hey," I asked, "can I write a column about your Dohrmann bar story from San Francisco?"

"Sure," said Chevy, curiously.  "Really?  You think anyone is going to care about an eight-year old story where he gets 'caught' breaking a bar room promise?"

"No, but that's the point," I said.  "That story is 22 years younger than his 30-year old raffle story and it should be told.  But only if you're cool with it - you can be anonymous."

Chevy laughed.  "Sure, man.  You can even use my real name.  I don't care."

The conversation turned to other topics.  Almost an hour later, Chevy changed his mind.

"You know what?" he asked.  "Make me anonymous.  Don't use my real name.  Call me 'Fletch' or something instead."

That wouldn't be a problem.  "Sure thing," I said.  "Mind if I ask why?"

"Yeah," he said. "I don't really care either way, but being anonymous just feels more appropriate for a story about this guy and what he wrote about Tressel and Ohio State football after telling me he had heard only good things about both of them."

Okay, Chevy.  Have it your way.

65 Comments

Comments

Maestro's picture

Great read.

Shall I put it on the Underhill account Senor?

vacuuming sucks

Pam's picture

I love that my tweet to him is linked by Ramzy. 

Ethan's picture

I love that your tweet elicited a response akin to a hyper-sensitive teenage girl. Nice work Pam!

Pam's picture

Thank you. Georgie is a tad thin-skinned

The Six Fingered Buckeye's picture

You and me both.

Please, be honest. This is for science.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Fletch Lives.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

builderofcoalitions's picture

I wonder how it feels to be a Pulitzer Prize winner getting PWNED so effortlessly by a blogger. Well done, Ramzy. Are you doing this for a living yet?

Because we couldn't go for three.

m1ek's picture

You know, you guys say this is all rehashed stuff - and it's sort-of true, but it's also stuff that the casual football fan didn't know about - as proven by how many people are surprised at the fact that there was so much smoke over the years around Tressel. Simply collecting the historical record in one place is actually legitimate journalism.

Maestro's picture

Even if it had already been done by someone else years ago?

vacuuming sucks

Bucks's picture

TY Maestro. Not sure what the above person was trying to say there. So, since some people were not familiar with stories that have run multiple times over the years, especially 5-7 years ago ... it is entirely understandable to bill your POS article as breaking news & run it as such?

 

 

Maestro's picture

YW Bucks

vacuuming sucks

Roger's picture

It's legitimate jounalism, but it's not hard-hitting, investigative reporting. Anyone with a laptop could have written that piece from Cancun over mojitos, so what was the point of even being in Columbus to write it?

It's obvious he didn't find what he was looking for in Columbus, so instead he wrote a rehashed, patchwork, hit piece.

Bucks's picture

The part I take issue with is the legitimate portion there. Had SI & Dohrman not made it seem and/or implied big new allegations (which they absolutely did), I wouldn't have much of an issue with the piece.

They did though & it was just a rehash of old news, with the cargate stuff added in & the breaking ground - epic journalism of a rigged raffle from 20 years ago.

JozyMozy's picture

I don't think Ramzy's piece was questioning whether the investigating/research that Dohrmann did leading up to his SI Story was legitimate journalism. He worked his ass off, no doubt- and that in & of itself is the funniest thing about the story. The results that his work produced were not at all indicative of the amount of hype he -the journalist- is both largely responsible for and is the most congratulatory of. 

It's frustrating to see the ever-lackadasical GIMME CONCLUSIONS GIMMIE NOW public, perpetuated in their lazy ignorance by the ESPN's and Shock Journalists of the world (wait...is Gregg Doyel even a journalist? or does he just incessantly bitch about varying subjects?) pounce on this story, the Ray Small debacle, and the general outrage as HARD PROOF that Tressel was a no-good rat that played the entire nation like a HARP FROM HELL. /cobblepot'd 

The story...the actual new info presented by the man taking a heap of credit for bringing Tress to justice, is really fucking lame. 

Imagine someone coming out and saying Paterno never, ever tipped...unless the mother/other relative of a coveted prospect was his waitress. "But hey, that's Paterno for you," added the anonymous source. Big fucking deal, right? You and the happy valley faithful KNOW better than to let some horseshit like that represent any part of JoePa's legacy, either as a coach or as a person.

But to the average Joe waiting to be told what to think by ESPN's talking heads and former athletes, it sorta makes sense. They always knew there was something shady about a coach that refused to retire. What's he hiding? What about all those arrests? Those are only the ones that got caught. What if now there are anonymous allegations saying Derrick Williams got out of dozens of tickets by providing cops with autographed merchandise? Happens in the real world all the time, but in NCAA land? That's a violation. Oh no, now there are murmurs that The Penn State staff supplied police department administrators with tickets and other perks to keep some of the bigger Penn State names out of the headlines. 

It just keeps coming and coming, and Joe Pa finally resigns. Not riding into the sunset, but being nudged out by LOADS AND LOADS of public pressure. "CARRUPTIN EVRYWHERE #smh" cries the public, even when no evidence is found. 

Now, I know it's easy to sit and laugh these hypothetical shitstorms off- hell, if you would have told me that Jim fucking Tressel would be the victim of a situation like this, I would have scoffed and reminded you of how clean and honorable of a reputation he has. Nobody would believe that he, Jim Tressel, fixed a raffle or orchestrated a merch for tats/cars/weed/golf empire between shady enablers and his players.

But now people do. They believe all of that. With little to no actual proof to be found, even after months of digging by many talented reporters.

Therein lies my outrage. The public was expecting a filet mignon, Dohrmann served a slice of lunchmeat, and they act like they don't know the difference. and it really sucks. Tress deserved to be punished, but not have his merit as a human being brought down by something as flimsy and take-my-word-for-it based as that SI story.

tl;dr-The court of public opinion really, really sucks. 

Maestro's picture

Clears the bases.

vacuuming sucks

m1ek's picture

"Now, I know it's easy to sit and laugh these hypothetical shitstorms off- hell, if you would have told me that Jim fucking Tressel would be the victim of a situation like this, I would have scoffed and reminded you of how clean and honorable of a reputation he has. Nobody would believe that he, Jim Tressel, fixed a raffle or orchestrated a merch for tats/cars/weed/golf empire between shady enablers and his players."

No. You're wrong. The fact is that most of us in your conference thought Jim Tressel was shady a long time ago. You didn't agree. Fine. But don't rewrite history, especially when it comes to other folks' opinions. Jim Tressel's reputation was only clean and honorable among you guys and among people who didn't know football very well. The rest of us saw Youngstown and Smith and Clarett and thought the smoke likely signifies fire, and we thought so a long time before the Tat 5.

Those who paid attention knew he wasn't clean a very long time ago. One simple example from David Jones (http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2011/03/ohio_state_misdeeds_c...):

That’s why for the better part of a decade I’ve been writing and saying to every talk show host who broaches the subject that I think Jim Tressel is nothing but a slick, little con man. I don’t care about the Ohio State football program one way or the other.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Those who paid attention knew he wasn't clean a very long time ago

 

Those of us who paid attention in 2006 knew JoePa's underwear weren't clean either, and we'll NEVER let you forget it

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

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

depends'd

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Matt's picture

He may be a slick little con man to you, but he was our slick little con man.  And, to his credit, he didn't harbor repeat offender pedophiles on his coaching staff.

Maestro's picture

Clearly no axe to grind in that piece M1EK.

vacuuming sucks

m1ek's picture

David Jones is usually in the top three of guys the PSU homers hate, by the way.

JozyMozy's picture

'blog.Pennlive.com' is NOT what I was referring to as far as 'nobody would believe.' Forgive me for generalizing and hoping you would see the bigger point I was trying to make. derp. I asked for proof, you pointed to...that. Oy. At least David Jones had the decency to name two specific events that he can prove happened-

1.)Robert Reynolds v. Jim Sorgi

When Robert Reynolds was caught by network cameras choking Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi at the bottom of a pile in 2003 to the point where his trachea was damaged, Tressel did manage to suspend Reynolds a game. But he was back on the field the next week because it was “an isolated incident and out of character for him.”

Uh. Because a player losing his head is definitely indicative of the dirty son of a bitch that coaches him. Right? Which is why Reynolds attacked people all the time. What was Tressel's lousy excuse for the weak one game ? Reynolds acting out of character? Yeah, how dare he presume to know his player. Except...Reynolds proved Tressel right. Stayed out of trouble from then on. uh...BUT STILL. 

2.) Kurt Coleman v. Eddie McGhee

When Kurt Coleman took a running head start at a static pileup with a minute left in a 30-0 rout of Illinois in Columbus in 2009 and speared Illini back-up quarterback Eddie McGee in the head and then came off the field laughing about it, Tressel actually complained about the Big Ten’s subsequent one-game suspension of Coleman two days later. He issued a joint statement with OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith calling the suspension “poor judgment” by the league office.

His safety, guilty of poor sportsmanship and acting like a douche in a blowout. (you know, Ray Lewis made a hell of a career out of being the last one to a pile, but making the biggest scene.) Again, this kind of thing happens with Tressel time and time again. He's a bad guy. As Coleman smiled  and came off the field after this, Tress probably told Coleman "they weak...they weak" as he laughed and chest-bumped with him. 

David Jones also mentions Tressel tiptoing around a question pertaining to the Clarrett situation. Other than that, the article is him going on for 1200 words about how he always knew, always KNEW that Tressel was a rat. Nothing but subjective interpretations about an admittedly cynical view of anything Tressel ever did. 

 

While Ramzy wrote a phenomenal eulogy to Jim Tressel's time as head coach of The Ohio State university, I can forgive you for not reading it. Hell, one of the points of the piece was that uninvolved third parties never seem to notice the good things. It's not juicy. You can't point and say "see? us observant people already KNEW about this." So I'll spare you the task of scoffing at the overall narrative and cite one specific paragraph:

 

How difficult do you think it would be to put together a detailed expose on the virtuous things that happen behind Tressel's back because of that same, double-edged philosophy that produced the catalyst for his lie and resignation?  Do you think SI or anyone else would fund a six-month investigation?  I would be a willing leak.  The line of happy on-the-record sources with first-hand accounts filing behind me would extend for miles.  For miles. 

 

Miles of oblivious, misguided fanboys, right? 

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

you put too much effort in to the internet. just saying.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Maestro's picture

Yes, I love how the comments like "Smith and Clarett...." summarize a decade of success, community building, charity and support.  As if two players, one of who was suspended for his transgression (even suspended for a bowl game) and the other who was removed from the team, somehow determine the slimeball vs. sainthood status of JT.  Give me a break.

Yet when JoePa removes a player from his team, as M1EK references with Curtis Enis, it proves that he on the saint side of the ledger.  One coach removes a player from the team and is a slimeball for ever being associated with him, but the other is a saint who removed a cancer in heroic fashion.  Hilarious.

 

vacuuming sucks

m1ek's picture

You still don't get it.

Paterno showed he'd rather lose than play a player who had substantially done wrong.

Tressel at some point decided he didn't want to do that any more.

Maestro's picture

...how do you know that Paterno wants to do that anymore?  Tough to know when there are no recent examples or chances to win National Championships in the recent past.

vacuuming sucks

m1ek's picture

2005 and 2008 were close enough to be tempting. Don't be stupid.

Maestro's picture

Was Paterno forced to kick players off the team that affected those seasons?

vacuuming sucks

m1ek's picture

No. Because the players (mostly!) behave - because they know they have to.

Again, this goes back to whether you believe Penn State and Stanford, two schools that profess to take academics and NCAA rules more seriously than most, are just coincidentally the only two schools without major NCAA trouble. Obviously it's not that nobody ever does anything wrong there - Enis obviously did! The difference between a minor violation and a major one is that Paterno kicked his ass off the team instead of covering it up.

And if you're going to try to bring up the off-the-field troubles from a few years ago, be aware that the main reason I'm banned from the homeriest PSU blog in the universe is that I was hurting homers' feelings by attacking them too toughly for being blindly supportive of the administration in those cases (some of which I still believe were handled with inadequate seriousness - such as Scirotto's). Those are separate issues - NCAA rules say nothing about how you have to handle a bonehead who calls his friends to go kick some asses.

Maestro's picture

Keep on preachin' M1EK.  It's very becoming.

vacuuming sucks

m1ek's picture

So you're proud of being caught cheating? Insert poop joke!

Maestro's picture

What would indicate that?  Look man, Tress is gone.  He screwed up big time and deserved to lose his job.  Doesn't mean that he is a slimeball.  It just means that he is flawed. 

Without Eddie Rife we don't know anything about any of this so don't try to sell me the innocence of the PSU athletic dept.  OSU got caught.  Embarrassing to be sure.  Doesn't mean they are the only ones trading memoribilia for services.

vacuuming sucks

Maestro's picture

Questions for M1EK?  You think TP is a different person today if he attends PSU?  How could PSU offer a kid like that a scholarship?

vacuuming sucks

m1ek's picture

1. We can suspect Paterno would have kicked him off since he kicked off 2 equally talented kids for relatively lesser offenses in recent history (well, recent for Paterno).

2. The working theory is that Paterno would have kicked TP off the team as well. I am grateful we did not have the opportunity to risk seeing that not be proven, I will admit.

Remember, the place where Tressel went off the rails was when he found out what was going on and then covered it up instead of doing what he knew was right (and then lying about it, repeatedly, even to this very day). If he had done the right thing then, this would have been minor (or at least minor-major like Michigan's) violation territory.

Scott K's picture

2 main points:

1.  Player violations were MINOR.  I believe you covered it there at the end, but just wanted to be clear.  So what you're saying is that JoPa would kick any player off the team for a minor rules violation?  BS. Why weren't ALL those PSU players arrested over the past few years booted then if JoPa is so strict when it comes to behavior?  Tressel's idiotic cover up was a MAJOR violation, and that's why he's gone.

2. Which 2 "equally talented" kids are you refering to?  I don't recall PSU EVER having a QB win Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl MVP awards, 3 Big Ten titles,  and compile a 31-4 record as a starter.

I can't wait to hear who you think is equally as talented...

By the way, your program will be LOADS better once the old man retires.  But, I think you know that...one of the main reasons TP didn't go to PSU is because JoPa is too damn old to get off his ass and recruit like the rest of the world does.  I'm not knockin the legend, just sayin...

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

m1ek's picture

Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with some facts.

1. Individual talent does not equate to team success. Enis was one of the best running backs we ever had, and we had quite a few great ones. Jurevicius lasted 10 years or so in the NFL.

2. "minor violation" in the NCAA definition. I don't think accepting gifted suits from an agent is too minor to be kicked off the team. I don't think selling memorabilia for as much cash as TPeezy apparently did is too minor to be kicked off the team either. Tressel thought he needed to cover it up to win games.

3. Paterno actually made a home visit to Pryor. Last one up till now (maybe forever).

Scott K's picture

Oh please, don't lecture me boy.  In this case (TP) individual talent DID equate to team success. 3 big ten titles pal.  Rose and Sugar bowls. What have you been watching?  Oh, right, PSU football. Gottcha. Lose.

We're not talking about NFL success here, we're talking college ball.  I like Joe J, but are you saying he's equal or better than TP in college?  Get real.  And Enis? Hahaha, nice numbers, but again not even close. Lose.

Yes minor is the NCAA's definition.  That's the one they go by. Not M1EK's holier-than-thou preaching.  I'm not saying he didn't, but where's your proof about TP makin all that cash?  Burden of proof boy, and there is none (oh, a druged out scorned ex-roomate). And don't bring up Tatgate, as we already know what was made there. Sorry, lose.

Tressel didn't need to play them to win.  He should have reported it, they would have been suspended for 4 games ala AJ Green, would probably have won those 4 games (maybe Miami is closer) and would have still ended up where they did.  Big Ten Champions, and Sugar Bowl Champions.  Tressel blew it, and he got fired for his bone head choice.  END OF STORY.

Oh, but how about this recent little tid bit on PSU and good ol JoPa form pennlive.com:

"Now let's look in the other hand, Andrew Quarless and Maurice Evans, repeat offenders with alcohol and drug-related issues (at least three to four times each) and each given another chance. Johnnie Troutman just got another DUI and was in the starting unit all Spring practice.

A player of that caliber, even at Penn State, his first incident would not have been his last.

Just ask Dan Connor about his prank phone calls and Morelli about shooting bow and arrows on campus. Every prime time player will get second, third, and fourth chances, unless Paterno is getting hounded in the news about losing control. Don't believe me, think about last time that happened, he showed Chris Baker, Phil Taylor, Abe Koroma and Austin Scott the door.""

So basically, JoPa will also coddle stars unless the media starts poking around. Hmmm....pot, meet kettle.  Lose.

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

Nappy's picture

skeet

Fan of bacon since 1981

m1ek's picture

You need a reading comprehension course, and skinnier columns. Go back and read the comment where I made it clear that the NCAA doesn't care about shooting bows and arrows (and, yes, Paterno did suspend him for that, IIRC - not throw him off the team).

I thought he should have thrown Scirotto off the team for the Meridian incident. But again, this isn't the stuff the NCAA cares about, which is the topic under discussion. The media was all over that, by the way, so it's clear the "coddling" he did (which I didn't agree with) had nothing to do with publicity or lack thereof.

Scott K's picture

Is this your clear explanation? :

"2. "minor violation" in the NCAA definition. I don't think accepting gifted suits from an agent is too minor to be kicked off the team."

That's about as clear as a brick wall.

Any "fan" who visits other team's blog sites to get in arguments on a regular basis with the "locals" is only one thing:  pathetic. And that, my friend, is the skinny...

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

GoBucks713's picture

M

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-The Aristocrats!

m1ek's picture

I gave you an example from the media because you probably would have complained even more about an example from one of your fellow conference bloggers. Say, Brian Cook. Or one of the PSU homers.

You said "nobody would believe". I proved otherwise. Plenty of those of us who knew better believed Tressel would do this, because we believed he already had done things like it before.

Denny's picture

CONGRATULATION YOU GET SO MANY ARBITRARY INTERNET POINTS BIG UPS TO YOU YES YES OK

Taquitos.

NC_Buckeye's picture

I'm just wondering M1EK. Let's say, hypothetically, that the August hearing comes and goes. Then sometime in October the NCAA issues a penalty of three years probation, vacation of last years regular season victories and the Big Ten title, and a one year bowl ban. But no scholarship reductions, no tv ban,  no "Lack of Institutional Control", and no "Failure to Monitor". Maybe Tressel gets a four year "Show Cause" penalty and that's it. Nothing else.

How are you going to react to that... you know, as a State Penn homer? I'm wanting a gauge for what to expect from the haters in the conference. You've been as consistent as the other SPU'ers in your hate so I think you'd be a pretty good litmus.

Thanks in advance.
:D

RC's picture

Who brought this guy?

Scott K's picture

M1EK is doing what he/she/it does best.  Troll poorly.  Besides, as we all know, NOTHING ever happens in Happy Valley....too country out there.  Except forsupposed impropersexual conduct by former assistant coaches and a possible cover-up,  and whoops I peeked in at a lifting session violations by a geriatric JoPa.  Oh, and all the arrests...

No, it's NOT legitimate journalism, when rehashing old news that has been reported by multiple news sources is the body of your piece.  Plus, a supposed Pulitzer winner relying not only on the word of a fellon, but a possible made up 30 year old raffle story as the bombshell of your story?  George should be ashamed of himself. 

I, like Ramzy and many of you loyal dubsters was VERY nervous before his piece came out.  Afterwards....meh on the allegations.  Pissed off at the blatant character assasination.  The problem, as Ramzy has pointed out, and even M1EKy, is that the casual observer doesn't know anything about any of the old smoke, inuendo, or rehashed old news. This is what makes Dohrkman's character assasination complete.  The average reader doesn't really know ANYTHING about tOSU except for what they see on ESucPN or read in SI.  The younger folks around the country don't really even know who Woody was. 

The biggest problem too, is that the casual observer really has no idea how good of a person JT is and was for the uni and the community. I also believe that the casual observer, until perhaps this year with all the scandals breaking out everywhere, was under the assumption that college athletics is clean. Ha!  As many have pointed out here, even D3 track participants get free/illegal benefits.

I've come full circle on my feelings about JT.  I think I understand why he did what he did, but I'm not sorry he lost his job.  He chose not to report the emails he got, and therefore made the bed he had to lie in.  I think it's ridiculous that he had to resign over it, but it is what it is.  He violated his contract, and that's that.  What I'm upset about (we'll see how things shake out) is that UNC for example, is looking at multiple serious charges, and they get little or no press coverage.  Ditto for the little fire starting to burn out in Eugene. 

This supposedly HUGE scandal in Columbus is small time compared to Chapel Hill and Eugene, as far as the level of actuall rule breaking goes.  And don't get me started on Auburn and pay for play. Recruiting violations, payments to boosters and agents.  Any of this at tOSU? (that the school is currently fracing)  Nope.  Some kids bartering autographs and gear for discounts on tatoos and some cash?  Yep.  Oh, and a coach who chose the wrong situation to pull a full on brain freeze and cover up (badly) the violations.  Free rounds of golf?  Has it come to that?

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

btalbert25's picture

You just expect more than that from a guy who has written so many great pieces.  This wasn't hard hitting stuff.  He tried to implicate guys like Simon and Klein who have proven they did nothing wrong.  The Youngstown State QB said he never even talked to Dohrman.  While I don't find it impossible that Tressel could've fixed a raffle, I also don't put a lot of credibility into a source who wouldn't say his name because he was affraid of what Buckeye fans would do to him.  Instead of investigative journalism we got a profile piece that talked about old circumstances, had no paper trail or supporting evidence, and a large portion of the article was creative writing, where he either made up sources or depended on sources like a drug deal and Ray Small.

I have never doubted that Tressel got his hands dirty from time to time.  Hell, I don't even know that much of the stuff about Tressel is true.  You just have to show me where it's true, don't rest give me an article of he said she said crap. 

AltaBuck's picture

Nice Ramzy. Thank you for striking back at these arrogant pricks.

And tonight, I will pour a shot and a beer and make a toast to George Welcher Dohrmann.

I have been known on occasion to howl at the moon. - Crash Davis

biggy84's picture

Anyone else notice that Bruce Hooley is kissing the guy's ass on his twitter? Those 2 scumbags deserve each other! They are both jock-sniffers that get gratification out of scandal, probably due to the fact they never got picked for dodgeball or girls would rather date their 2nd cousin than go out with either of them. Seems like the "media" are a bunch of nerds pissed at athletes.

Pam's picture

Anyone else notice that Hooley has been MIA? He hasn't written anything for Fox since June 9th. 

biggy84's picture

I hope he is gone from this state for good! It pisses me off that he appears on radio shows in other states as an "OSU expert." I wouldn't be surprised if he was flaming the fire with the national guys in an attempt to be important. Thanks for the info Pam! If anyone else knows if he left....

Brutus's picture

Dohrman cited Titus' blog about the cars in his article and made it come across as an authorative source. A f-ing blog post by the biggest OSU wise ass of all time, who wasn't even on the football team. How that made it by the editor is beyond me. Dohrman should be embarrassed for how little new information he was able to contribute to the story and even more so by how much of that new info ended up being wrong. Instead, he gets on twitter and starts puffing out his chest about how he brought JT down. I can only hope karma has a way of turning around and biting him in the ass. Pulitzer prize or not, that article was a hack.

elloyd1681's picture

Dohrmann.  Is that two n's?

 

And, isn't there a children's book about a monkey named George?

 

It's all ball bearings nowadays.  

Maestro's picture

By the way, the Minnesota case makes me feel better about the possibility of avoiding a post season ban.

vacuuming sucks

poop's picture

Ramzy, I f**king love you man.

#nohomo

Bruce's picture

Great piece Ramzy.

 

*Love* the editorial comment on tweet #12

From the 2007 HBO special ---->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI7x_DDPcLo

RBuck's picture

That's funnier than hell about the point shaving. I posted a comment about a month ago that it probably wouldn't be long before some media hack accused JT of point shaving because of Tresselball.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

theDuke's picture

...terrabytes of kiddie porn, a narcissistic elephant hunter, a rigged raffle, shots and beers, and one- I believe- ex columbus attorney...All in one story? One word: Amazing. THIS is PULITZER material right here!  loved it Ramzy! 

theDuke

BuckeyeChief's picture

GOD I am so glad the Penn State- holier than thou crowd can come set us straight. Thanks buddy!

And while your at it, maybe you can remind us how awesome Kerry Collins was in the NFL? High moral character right there!  BUT it didn't happen at Penn State, right?

Do you make an example out of every person that works for you,  who makes a slight mistake? Do you hammer the shit out of them? If not, you may be a cheater as well.  

My point is you guys ALL come across on boards like yeah, we went 7-6 but your coach is a cheater! Funny, but I don't see Wisconsin fans coming here talking shit!

I have a ton of respect for JoePa, and I have a buddy who grew up with JoePa as a family friend. Funny that his response was what a shame, a bad situation I can't even make fun of...and he's been talking shit to me since 96.

 

 (FWIW I am very glad Kerry turned hs life around; he's one of my favorite Giants ever).

 

"Damn I miss El Guapo"

m1ek's picture

If you classify what Tressel did as a "minor mistake", you're beyond saving. 

The Tat5 minus Pryor? Maybe. Maybe. Pryor himself? No. Tressel? Hell no.

Bucks's picture

Arguing the semantics of minor/major/slight isn't his point at all and you know it. You're here preaching constantly about someone that has no bearing on you. Here to troll and constantly bring anything back to Tressel & your vaunted PiSsU. In all honesty, if you believe a major violation has never taken place at your program, you're beyond saving. To take the stance that since noone has been caught, means nothing has ever happened ... is the true ignorance here.

Might be about time to get over it M1ek and find things more fulfilling to do.

Denny's picture

Welp, good thing we've established that everyone is beyond saving/bringing the others to the light.

Taquitos.

Tim's picture

Ramzy, I'll buy you a drink if you're in Columbus in the next eleven months, which I'm sure you will be.