I don't know if watching Ol' Dude Bauserman inherit a Bentley, get drunk on a handle of Scotch, and then crash that Bentley into my living room last night has anything to do with it--but I am suddenly missing Jim Tressel. I wonder where Saint Jim was watching the game from while I stood outside in the street and watched my house burn down with a crunked Ol' Dude Bauserman (and you will never convince me he wasn't crunk) told me things like "Don't worry, bro. It's all going to be okay," before he passed out in the gutter.
These days, Jim Tressel's name is usually reserved for cheap punch-lines writers and enemies of The State to pop like fine wine they've storing for the last decade as Tressel kicked everybody's ass up and down the field in the classiest way a man can go about kicking somebody's ass up and down a field of grass. Sure, Florida and LSU caught us slipping, but under the steady hand of the Vest, OSU enjoyed a decade of prosperity which would satisfy most rational college sports fans.
I'm sure nobody needs a history lesson on the facts surrounding Jim Tressel's unexpected "retirement" from Ohio State. Since his downfall, the author of The Winner's Manual has been called (among other things) a fraud, a liar, hypocrite, and a cheat. It's as if all of the charity and good works of his life (and there were many) were incinerated the second he clicked "send" on his email. I assume every writer who harvested this low-hanging, click-generating fruit have been virtuous through the entire course of their life, so I'll more than allow these gentlemen to cast their stones first.
Self-righteousness aside, I wasn't surprised by the national glee conjured by Tressel's downfall. Nor was I surprised by Tressel performing seppuku on himself or by the manner which he was thrown under the bus by Ohio State. What I am surprised by though, is the manner in which Gene Smith is throwing a twenty-two year old kid under the bus in order to save his job.
Like a cockroach fleeing the beam of a flash-light, Gene Smith is attempting to avoid a "failure to monitor" charge. I'm sure Gene Smith would tell me this was all to protect Ohio State football; but that can't be true, because if it were, Gene Smith would have resigned before Tressel did.
Last week, Devier Posey became the latest body to be thrown under the bus by Gene Smith. (Jacory Harris, a guy who got his money from a known drug dealer and felon and wasn't even pretending to hold a job, went 13-21 for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns at Virginia Tech on Sunday. He served a one game suspension for his misdeeds).
What Posey's mom, Julie, alluded to earlier in the week, his lawyer elaborated on today in an interview with The Lantern, and like every lawyer ever, said his client "didn't do anything wrong" and he has the facts to back it up.
Documents obtained by The Lantern from Larry James, the attorney representing suspended Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey, show that phone records, bank activity and timecards, among other things, are evidence that Posey wasn't overpaid for summer work, James said.
... James, who said he's "never seen any process like this whatsoever," is paid by OSU for representing Posey. Requests for how much he's paid were not immediately returned.
The funny thing, besides The Lantern's Charles Robinson-esque use of the word "obtained", is connecting the dots in this entire episode and realizing Gene Smith and Doug Archie--if they were NCAA athletes--would be receiving 3,500 game suspensions for getting paid for work they never did. It also makes you wonder about who specifically Troy Smith was talking about earlier this week: other players or the institution itself? (And why wasn't Boom Herron, who was also a repeat offender, suspended for more games as well? Is the $400 difference in their pay really a big enough gap to scrap logic? And how exactly would somebody who can't hold a job in the season go about paying back an amount like $700?)
Frankly, I don't even care if DeVier did or didn't get paid for work he did or didn't do. At the end of the day, these kids did nothing morally wrong. In a world where dictators are hiring foreign mercenaries to slaughter their own civilians, I apologize for not getting worked up over kids receiving free tattoos or cash. To do so would be ludicrous, especially considering this charade is being acted out with the backdrop of media corporations advising conferences on which teams they should pluck from weaker conferences, as they figure out the most efficient way to stack their cash. Are we still shocked kids being exploited by a system with no scruples don't respect its rules?
If precious BCS dollars and ratings are at stake--Gene Smith will help move heaven and earth for his player's eligibility. If it's his own job on the line, he's shrugging at draconian and arbitrary sentences so not to ruffle the feathers of the NCAA. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. This is all coming from a man who, over the course of this debacle, has held press conferences with hand-selected media and addressed the "retirement" of one of the most successful coaches in Ohio State history with a YouTube video.
In the story where Julie Posey vented some frustrations surrounding her son's latest suspension (the head-line grabbing stuff), there was this nugget:
“Football does not define my son,” she said. “He came to Ohio State for reasons other than just to play football. He came also to get his degree. He came to mature and be ready to go out in the world. Prayerfully, he’ll be blessed to be able have his dream come true and play in the NFL.”
If only any of the writers trashing Tressel had actually read The Winner's Manual, they would have seen it was never about just football with him. Anybody who has read the book can look at Julie Posey's dreams for her son and realize why her son came to Ohio State. While coaches like Nick Saban use tactics like "over-signing" so they can wield pro-style yearly cuts over their programs, Tressel loved his kids beyond their production on the field. (His depth charts were sometimes very evident of this). He was genuinely in it for the kids, which is a concept that people like Gene Smith and the NCAA only pretend to actually believe in.
Terrelle Pryor, for all his flaws, was the catalyst of a national contender. After 30 years of coaching, I'm sure Tressel was quite aware of how common unemployed fathers of two having $40,000 SUVs or players having 42 pairs of shoes is in college football. Was he going to throw away the hard-work and hopes of all the other kids in the locker-room, based on a few knuckleheads getting a few hundred bucks and tattoos? Please.
Jim Tressel lost his career. Terrelle Pryor was forced into early entry into the NFL, placing his football career in doubt. DeVier Posey's senior season will be two, maybe three games while the "lucky" players "only" lost 5-6 games. The fans even took an L by having to watch Ol' Dude Bauserman throw 76 passes by week 7.
Everybody has been punished, except the people whose job it was to make sure nothing like this happened in the first place.