Remembering May

By 11W Staff on December 19, 2011 at 5:00p
2011W Ohio State Football Preview

The rich history of Ohio State athletics is filled with memorable years, but perhaps no year has been more tumultuous, victorious, catastrophic and memorable than 2011. For Eleven Warriors, 2011 was a transformational year: In January 11W was merely a popular Buckeye blog; by December it had become a destination site with monthly visits well into the millions.

This is part five of an 11-part series reviewing 2011, as experienced by 11W readers and writers.

PREVIOUSLY: April | March | February | January

He fixed a camp raffle during Reagan's first term. Allegedly.

As painful as all of May was for Buckeye fans, it definitely saved the worst for last.

We entered the month wondering how Dane Sanzenbacher could have been passed over for all seven rounds of the NFL draft, and somehow that was the best Buckeye topic going, only because it reminded us of better days that featured the uncoverable #12 doing whatever he pleased to the secondary of his choosing. *sigh*

Even the diversions from the Jim Tressel investigation were terrible: Dorian Bell, who had been suspended for two games for the vague and ever-suspicious violation of team rules was suspended for the entire 2011 season, putting the Buckeyes in an even bigger linebacker pickle than they were already facing.

Exactly two cool things happened for Ohio State in the month of May: One was the men's volleyball team taking down the UCSB Gauchos in five sets and winning the national title.

The other was a spontaneous Mirror Lake jump that occurred not by virtue of playing Michigan in football, but by the world's most wanted terrorist getting intimately acquainted with some Seal bullets.

What loomed in the back (and front) of everyone's minds were not just the stories being processed by every aspiring Woodward and Bernstein in the country, but more specifically the story that Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter George Dohrmann was busy constructing while camped out in Columbus.

Shortly after all hell broke loose, Dohrmann, who first gained fame for his reporting of the Minnesota men's basketball scandal a decade ago, made it known publicly that he would be working on the Ohio State scandal.

His reputation preceded him, and anyone with knowledge of his work hoped that his own investigation into the seedier sections of Columbus where tattoos are acquired in improper barter form would find and confirm what Ohio State was maintaining: This happened in a vacuum, and Tressel made a terrible decision by not reporting it.

While waiting for Dohrmann's piece to drop, the Columbus Dispatch jumped into the fray with an investigation of its own into Ohio State athletes and their use and purchases of automobiles, specifically from one local dealership.

It had all the trappings of a dressed-up story: Half of the athlete purchases the Dispatch looked at cost more than book value and the other half cost less. The marquee of the story was Thad Gibson's title, which showed a purchase price of $0 for a Chrysler 300.

The last thing fleeing citizens of America's worst state saw as they sped away.

The Dispatch car bombshell was published on a Saturday morning, when every Ohio BMV is closed. The details of the story did not matter; now the running narrative was 1) Free tattoos 2) Free cars 3) Coaches who cover up and/or encourage this.

On Monday when the BMV opened up it confirmed that Gibson's title was used for transfer purposes and that the actual cost of his car - which had been a rental car in its past life - was $13,700.

The Dispatch eventually ran a correction on page four of its Metro section. It was too late to stop the narrative: Ohio State was a full-blown rogue program, complete with a car service and a secondary market for memorabilia that administrators knew about but allowed to operate.

A billboard in Michigan went up to celebrate Tressel's downfall. Comparisons immediately were made to USC's scandal, which featured hundreds of thousands of dollars in improper benefits along with an athletic department that fought the investigation into it every single step of the way.

Anyone who looked into those comparisons by actually bothering to consider the details knew then that there was no comparison. But with the help of narrative stewards who are provided with large, far-reaching platforms - like Gregg Doyel, Mark Schlabach, Mark May, Jim Rome, Dennis Dodd and a slew of others who thrive on pretending to be very angry at something - what Tressel did was framed as the worst thing ever perpetuated by any collegiate figure.

Lack of institutional control had to be coming, along with a multi-year bowl ban, a TV ban (as predicted by Danny Sheridan) and maybe even the death penalty. As May progressed, all of this was hovering over the Ohio State AD. Doomsday was happening, in a largely manufactured sense.

Over Memorial Day weekend, as the month closed out, Dohrmann's story ran, and it was a shocker, but not in the way that it was anticipated: No new information at all; just a slew of anonymous witnesses making unverifiable judgments about Tressel's character.

There was even a story about a football camp from the early 1980s where Tressel had allegedly fixed a raffle to favor one of the players. Nine more players were named as having capitalized off of the same arrangement that did in the Tatgate Five (eventually all but one would be cleared by the NCAA for lack of evidence).

The fact that the raffle story even made the final cut of Dohrmann's piece screamed that he dug everywhere he could and came up...raffled.

In the wake of the article and with the noise from the story's coverage at a deafening level, Tressel was asked by the university to resign. Dohrmann took personal credit for his demise, without bothering to hide his self-satisfaction.

Ohio State was now under investigation, recruiting was at a stand-still, it would be without its best offensive players for nearly half of the upcoming season and worst of all, the best coach in its history was now disgraced and gone.

The offseason wasn't even halfway over, yet Ohio State football already felt like it was completely finished.

May's most popular skull sessions

  1. Thursday 5/26 by Johnny, diving right into an incredibly damaging interview The Lantern conducted with MENSA candidate Ray Small.

  2. Wednesday 5/11 by Chris. Awesome Spielman mustache photo? PAGEVIEWS PAGEVIEWS PAGEVIEWS

  3. Friday 5/27 by Alex, who was really looking forward to Memorial Day weekend until it actually happened.

  4. Monday 5/2 by Luke, who was not paid by Genji for this post. Allegedly. Possibly. Probably. Maybe.

  5. Thursday 5/19 by Alex, loving him some Kyle Kalis, missing him some James Jackson and actually using the word, "Dubskateers." Yes, May was that kind of a month.

may's most popular 11W stories

5/30: Pryor's Career Said to be Over by Jason, breaking the most significant aftershock of that weekend's Tressel news several days in advance of it happening:

Just to be safe, we followed up with a second, well-placed source and they confirmed the news of Pryor's playing days being over and said "there could be much more."


5/30: A Memorial Day to Forget by Alex, with 11W's first reaction to the news of Tressel's resignation:

The Jim Tressel era is officially over and while more information is surely on it's way, the question now is what lies ahead for the Ohio State Buckeyes? For starters, this season can go one of two ways. The players are likely to try and rally around their fallen coach and dedicate the 2011 season to Jim Tressel, which could empower them to accomplish more than you could ever imagine.

The other way the season could go is complete disaster, in which the focus and direction of the team could be completely lost under the inexperienced Luke Fickell and the Buckeyes have to build their program from square one again at season's end.

5/3: Concrete Blonde by Ramzy, writing once again about his favorite ESPN Gameday host:

Herbstreit took to the ESPN airwaves in interview after interview during the bowl season and cited Pryor as the "x-factor for Rodriguez's first recruiting class" and proclaimed him to be the perfect quarterback to run the new offense in Ann Arbor.

He also called Pryor the most important in-state recruit for Joe Paterno in years.  He said that Oregon was a strong possibility to land him as well, with the Ducks and Wolverines having the schematic advantage to best suit Pryor's skills, Pennsylvania having the home field advantage and Ohio State contending simply by having recruiting him consistently and the longest.  Herbstreit singlehandedly brought the name Terrelle Pryor out of recruiting circles and into nationally-televised prominence.

Fast-forward to last week, when Herbstreit said matter-of-factly that Ohio State should quit recruiting players like Maurice Clarett and Terrelle Pryor, as if he had never spread the gospel of Pryor as a program savior just three years earlier.

5/17: The Cleaner by Ramzy, who thought a lot more highly of Michigan's hiring of Brady Hoke than the vast majority of its fans:

Hoke didn't show up in Ann Arbor and immediately dangle his sausage fingers at the cameras to insist he had championship pedigree like South Bend's most recent spectacular failure did.  He simply announced that he was finally home and went to work. 

He didn't crap all over Rodriguez and when he eventually wins some of the recruits that Ohio State is also pursuing, it won't be because he trashed Ohio State to do so.  It will be because he successfully sold Michigan better than Ohio State sold Ohio State, i.e. the reciprocal manner that Tressel has used for years to beat Michigan for players.

5/31: The End of the Beginning by Johnny, reacting to the timing of the Dohrmann piece and Tressel's resignation:

All bad, and I'm not going to question the credibility of Ellis here; every team is going to have their fair share of Rob Roses and Ray Smalls who attempt to game the system. What has driven the largely dismissive reaction to this piece though isn't the lack of surprise that this kind of thing happened, it's the fact that nothing especially new was uncovered.

The car scandal, thought to be the next step in this whole process, is barely mentioned. Aside from the weed, no real law was seemingly broken by players. And most importantly, no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, is given that Tressel knew about any of this.

5/10: Buckeye Motors by Ramzy who bet his life that Ohio State players were not getting free cars. Please note that seven months later, he is still alive:

It's not just Ohio State that checks every athlete's vehicle transactions to make sure they pass the sniff test: Michigan compliance began doing the same thing after Robert Traylor flipped an SUV and nearly killed Mateen Cleaves during a recruiting visit.  After the accident, compliance officials thought it was odd that Traylor would be driving such a nice car so they looked into the paperwork and discovered it was registered to one of Traylor's relatives.

It turned out the SUV had been acquired through the late Ed Martin, who was the primary bankroller implicated in the scandal that effectively destroyed Michigan basketball for over a decade.  That accident in that vehicle started Michigan's unraveling.  You look out for cars and cash.  Burritos and discounted tats are a little harder to find, especially if your coach is covering it up.

may's buckshots, gray boxes of doom & miscellany

Coming tomorrow: Remembering June. We were continually reminded by the press that now-ex head coach Tressel had committed, quite clearly, the worst breach of trust in the history of college athletics. And even if evidence of systemic, rampant cheating at Ohio State did not actually materialize, we were informed that it was okay to just assume it existed - because it just had to. Hello, neverending summer news cycle!


Comments Show All Comments

Maestro's picture


vacuuming sucks

Bucks43201's picture

still waiting for George Dohrmann's outcry for the whole Penn State mess and Joe Pa's lack of moral compass.

Good thing Joe Pa didn't "rig a raffle", or protect his players after tat discounts....nope, Joe just looked the other way and basically enabled a child rapist...that's all

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

BrewstersMillions's picture

I've yet to see Joe Pa's face gracing the cover of SI. I'll pass on the sophomoric notion to make a "How deep it all went" joke about Penn State-Actually I guess I didn't pass. Either way....JT gets crucified, then drawn and quartered, then thrown to rabid wolves and the main thrust of the case against him was something that took place when Contra was the best game on the market. (Anyone who played that game and doesn't know the 30 lives code should be ashamed) How deep it all went? The whole thing is a fricking joke. Disgraceful work by an otherwise good writer. This whole media reaction was a case study in sharks smelling blood in the water. Everyone rushed to the forefront to say something, anything about OSU and as 11W has pointed out for months-they all opted for speed over accuracy. If anything, these pieces remind me just how vindicated I, and the rest of Buckeye Nation, all feel in response to this ordeal. November and December have reminded us all just how awesome it is to be a Buckeye and all we can do now is laugh while the fake-mad reporters across the nation prepare themselves for some ill informed rant about how OSU got off easy (when we ultimately get a punishment that fits our crime). Meanwhile the SCarlolina, Miami, and Penn State scandals still don't get the same attention Ohio State got this summer.

Smile and Nod friends. We got through this, we can get through anything.

BuckeyeChris's picture

"Smile and Nod friends. We got through this, we can get through anything."

Amen. Look around you, folks. I might argue we've come out of this better off than we were before. When the Buckeyes are actually putting teams away (instead of punting and hoping the defense holds them off), I think this notion will be confirmed. 

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Sorry, but I think Tressel got pretty much what he deserved. The rules are asinine, but he knew them very well. The reason he was on the cover of SI is because SI was breaking the story. It's a pretty big sports story, and they are a sports publication (a very crappy one).

Paterno 1) had, and maybe still has, tv reporters camped out on his front lawn, 2) forget SI, was on the front page of every news outlet for a week, and still appears there regularly, 3) might actually be in legal trouble - otherwise why hire a very expensive crimianal defense attorney? I'd say he's also getting everything he deserves, short of being charged with a crime maybe.

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy any of this "everyone is out to get OSU" narrative. It doesn't make any sense. This was a really juicy scandal at one of the biggest powers in college football - you expect it NOT to get covered 24/7? Do you really think equivalent violations being uncovered - and I do mean being uncovered, because I don't for a second believe all these things aren't happening at every successful program - at a program that has had as much recent success as OSU wouldn't get the same mileage? The uncovered violations at USC, while involving several orders of magnitude more money, concerned one player, and it still got weeks of coverage.

And FWIW, I believe the story about Tressel fixing the raffle. It's an unsubstantiated rumor, but it's totally consistent with the impression I've had of him since the Clarett fiasco: that of a huge hypocrite. I just wish his willingness to win at any cost extended to being willing to hire competent assistans, not just covering up fairly minor violations.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

USC was more than just one player in more than just one sport. Funny how OJ Mayo gets a pass, no?

WildBear Buckeye's picture

You're right, USC was one football player and however many basketball players - I think their basketball program got hammered with sanctions even worse than their football program, and the coach got canned. USC had a championship to forfeit in football and the Heisman people asked for their Heisman back from Reggie Bush (which they had every right to do and had nothing to do with the NCAA) - what the hell could have happened to OJ Mayo? He was long since gone, he didn't win any awards, and the program had nothing of value to forfeit. Would you even remember if they vacated wins? Do you care that, according to Ramzy (I have no reason not to trust him, I just haven't checked this myself), Georgia Tech has vacated wins? For that matter, who gives a damn what wins Ohio State vacated? Tressel retired/resigned/got fired and Ohio State didn't have key starters going into the season - that was the story, not that some wins were vacated.

Pam's picture

You are new so I will give you a pass on the "I have no reason not to trust him, I just haven't checked this myself"  There isn't a mainstream writer who is more knowledgeable or thorough in his research than Ramzy.  You are welcome to check yourself, but make no mistake about it, if he said GT vacated wins, they vacated wins.

And FWIW, I give a damn about the wins Ohio State vacated.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

I wasn't in any way implying Ramzy's untrustworthiness, I'm just not in the habit of relating second hand information as fact. I read about it in Ramzy's comment, so I credited him. Had I actually seen the evidence myself, I would have stated it as fact. This way I don't sign my name to someone else's reporting, taking neither the credit nor the blame.

Fans may disagree on the impact of vacated wins. My personal view is that the games took place, ample video evidence of this fact exists, therefore the notion of "vacated" wins is meaningless. I don't care about returned trophies and payouts, since I saw neither myself. That said, I completely understand how other fans might feel differently about this. The same goes for anti-fans (haters), actually. Some of them might endlessly try to rub the "vacated" aspect in my face, but I will always simply point them to the video evidence.

Most followers of college football don't fall into either category with respect to Ohio State though. And my guess is most of them couldn't care less about vacated Ohio State wins. Losing a coach and starters matters much more, because it affects the outcomes of future games. You don't have to be an Ohio State fan or hater to care about that.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

The USC AD got hit with LOIC and ESPN literally ignored the entire investigation because It would have required crediting Yahoo. And yes, Georgia Tech really was investigated without any media coverage and really vacated wins as well as an ACC title.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

I think we agree on the fact that reporting in general, and ESPN "reporting" in particular, is at best arbitrary, and at worst biased based on financial implications for the reporting agency. I don't believe that ESPN has the same motivation as the bloodthirsty commenters on MGoBlog, whose impotent hatred has completely clouded their better judgement, if they ever had any. ESPN is motivated by a combination of adherence to the path of least resistance and cold financial calculus. There's no point in taking time away from highlights or whatever to cover LOIC stemming from basketball violations at USC or whatever at Georgia Tech. Almost every viewer is going to yawn. This is not the case with OSU football, especially given ready-made reporting (however accurate) provided to them by other outlets.

As an OSU fan I've come to expect something between grudging respect and outright bile/hope for all the worst toward OSU football from anyone who's not an OSU fan. I think a fan of any equally successful football program experiences the same attitude toward their team - hell, I feel that way about a bunch of teams.There aren't many programs like this, but they do exist. Given the same set of circumstances, I believe a fan of any such program would experience something very similar to what we've gone through. I don't buy that Ohio State somehow got treatment a comparable program with a comparable scandal reported comparably by sources outside ESPN (ESPN doesn't do their own reporting anyway) would not have received.

BuckeyeChris's picture

"ESPN literally ignored the entire investigation because It would have required crediting Yahoo"

...and THAT is my biggest problem, anymore, with ESPiN. The "story," as they report it, doesn't become the actual story. The "real" story becomes which one of their reporters "broke" the story. I notice this especially on "Mike and Mike."  It's never, "Brady Hoke choked on a Twinkie." It's, "ESPN's Adam Schefter reports, Brady Hoke has choked on a Twinkie." It's so self-promoting and annoying. 

Set me straight, 11W. Maybe this is just "how it's done." 

btalbert25's picture

Now that Yahoo! and ABC news have merged we don't have to worry about ESPN ignoring Yahoo! anymore.  Just have to worry about what direction Wetzel and company are going to focus their research now.

Yamosu's picture

Worst month ever.  I had to stop reading all the sports blogs and websites because I just couldn't watch all the bloodshed.

I think the program is as strong as ever now and there are good days ahead of us.  That said, I'll stand by Tressel as a good coach and a great leader of men and will miss the days of him walking the sidelines of the Shoe.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Just checked and Dorhmann is still the biggest douche nozzle is America.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

M Man's picture


The "Liar Liar" billboards were brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Sparty:

We had nothin' to do with it.

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

Ironic, since Dantonio vehemently defended Tressel and went as far as to call him a "tragic hero". He was called to task on it later on and still stood by those comments.

In fact, most coaches that spoke in regards to Tressel spoke positively about him, even Nick Saban.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

if Dr. Nick says it, it MUST be true!!!!! -mid-atlantic SEC fans

im not sure how the south will put up with this

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

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

The Lantern, Dispatch, SI, Yahoo, ESPN and the Fan all lost my any business they might have gotten from me through their crap reporting. I still don't use any of them, save for watching ESPN which does nothing for them.

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

Not to perpetuate the "Hey! They did it, too!" logic, but is anyone else at least somewhat alarmed by the fact that no one has mentioned the Miami scandal in what feels like an eternity? Probably the biggest scandal (excluding Penn State, though that's a different kind of story than this) in college football history and it's been pretty much ignored by everyone, except for the initial shock.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Trudat. What happened to Oregon?

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Oregon & Will Lyles will make a cameo in Remembering July on Wednesday. They'll have their day again. Maybe.

Bucksfan's picture

If Miami was a top-5 program just coming off its 5th consecutive conference crown with a coach that was considered one of the best in the country, and that coach had lied about knowing that many of his starters had taken improper benefits, you'd hear about it a lot more than you do now.  The same goes for Oregon, who's still a 2nd-tier program if you ask me.  What happened at Miami regarding a booster and those players was far more eggregious than what happened at Ohio State, but nothing has come out to indict those who were in charge.  THAT'S the difference.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

It totally agree about the size of the story being proportionate to the level of success. If this came out about Alabama, not Miami, or came out about Miami in 2003, investigative journalists would be investigating them too. Hell, some one might still have been investigating Miami until the Penn State story broke - now everyone is on that. But the Miami story isn't over either. There will be NCAA sanctions for them, and they will be worse than what OSU will get.

As for OSU, they made it worse on themselves by not doing an internal investigation and dealing with the issue quickly. Covering it up COMPETENTLY would have been just fine by me. It's not surprising that some of the accusations that came out in reporting turned out to be overblown or simply false. There are probably Miami fans out there who will be outraged when it turns out that the story of Nevin paying for an abortion isn't accurate either.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Oregon came off the BCS title game. Prior year: Rose Bowl.

The NCAA informed Gene Chizik at the SEC meetings in a room completely filled with reporters & every coach in the SEC that Auburn was under investigation. FORTY FIVE days later the NYT "broke" the story. The reigning national champions. ESPN covered the SEC meetings but failed to mention that announcement until after the Times reported it?

Comparisons to USC. Pervasive, constant, and completely nonsensical.

Academic fraud at Chapel Hill. The narrative of Michigan taking recruits from scandal-plagued Ohio State without the scant mention that Michigan is on probation for FTM right now.

The Georgia Tech investigation that wasn't even reported until it was over and games were vacated. They just won the ACC.

ESPN took days to finally acknowledge the Nevin Shapiro scandal. Days.

ESPN continually marched in people like Bruce Hooley to provide analysis. Bruce Fucking Hooley.  With the "counterpoint" from Desmond Fucking Howard.

ESPN sued Ohio State the week NCAA completed its investigation and found no further violations. They sued for documents the NCAA saw but were kept private on account of FERPA.

Ohio State gets eyeballs; everyone knows that. If you think the coverage of Tatgate was fair, you simply don't know enough about what was going on elsewhere and how it was practically ignored by comparison. Context matters.

Don't even say "who cares about Oregon or Auburn." ESPN practically shoots promotional videos for SEC schools and packages them as news - it makes business sense for their arrangement. Their CFB operation also loves Oregon. How convenient that they selectively decide to report on Will Lyles, the scandal of the year and possibly longer in college football.

Look at how they treated UConn's basketball scandal with kid gloves while airing commercials with Jim Calhoun for Sportscenter. Bias is unavoidable; reporters are people and ESPN is an open and admitted conflict of interest.

Tressel lying about petty cash violations was built into something WAAAAAY bigger than it was and the NCAA investigation and punishment that comes down will prove that is the case.

unknownmusketeer's picture

A little fired up about this.  In regards to the Oregon situation, is what they did illegal?  They did not pay the recruit.  There was no indication that the recruit received any of the money.  Lyles was not familially related to Seastrunk.  I think there might be a rule "written" to cover this type of situation, a la Cam Newton, but I would not be surprised if their program skated past the NCAA.

Maestro's picture


vacuuming sucks

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Oregon paid Lyles $25K for old, outdated and sometimes fake recruiting information. Lyles says he was paid for access to recruits. Chip Kelly freaked out and asked Lyles to retroactively file player profiles to make it look like Oregon had paid for scouting information.

Yeah, slightly illegal. And 2x the total money involved in Tatgate. And totally worth covering.

But that's not as sexy as false reports of free cars for Thad Gibson. If only Oregon had a car scandal. Oh, wait.

unknownmusketeer's picture

Then why hasn't Chip Kelly been fired.  This was just as egregious, if not more, than what Tressel did.  Shouldn't this carry the same show cause penalty?

Maestro's picture

There hasn't been a show cause yet for Tress.  Kelly is not out of the woods yet.

vacuuming sucks

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Because the NCAA investigation - that ESPN has ignored, wholesale - hasn't finished yet.

The average NCAA investigation, per the NCAA, takes about a year. Ohio State's got the play-by-play treatment from the media outlet that basically owns the sport.

unknownmusketeer's picture

The key part of the article in the link says, "Oregon spokesperson Dave Williford maintains the University’s stance there was no wrongdoing.

'Our stance hasn’t changed from our original statement,' Williford said. 'We believe we did nothing wrong.' "

So, while the whole world knows what was done WAS wrong, there might not be the rule precedent for the NCAA to pursue sanctions.  The NCAA has basically ruled that the Cam Newton situation was not a violation, because they could not prove that Newton knew what was happening.  If no money went from Lyles to any of the recruits (no evidence of this so far), what is the NCAA going to do?  I am honestly not trying to be difficult, but I think Oregon's punishment is far from a done deal.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Hell, they could be completely innocent and Lyles could be making everything up.

That's not really the point. This is about media coverage. Ohio State and the NCAA had to investigate almost a dozen players because of George Dohrmann's article. You know what they discovered? George Dohrmann and his anonymous boogeyman were full of shit. Evidence matters.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Evidence absolutely matters, which is why OSU hasn't had any sanctions at all from the NCAA yet. You can't blame OSU's self-flagellation on the reporting, like the reporting or not. OSU is trying to get out in front of the NCAA, it's a smart strategy, and it may very well work. I don't know what Oregon's strategy is, and I have no idea if it's going to work or not. USC's obviously didn't.

You can blame the timing of Tressel's departure on the reporting, but not the departure itself. That was inevitable, given Tressel's violations. He might have coached this season, but that's it. OSU got Meyer out of the deal, and I think OSU traded up. Who knows if that would have happened if Tressel coached this season. Tressel's coaching ability vs Meyer's coaching ability is probably a subject for a different thread, but I think the NC game speaks for itself. I happen to think the problem in that game and Tressel's downfall are connected via the way Tressel ran things.

Bucks43201's picture

every time he's interviewed, Chip Kelly stikes me as a smug jerk

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

LABuckeye's picture

I honestly hope they do get in trouble because of him. While it would have NEVER diluted my love for all things Buckeye, when I moved out west and got bombarded by Pac-10 stuff I picked up Oregon as my secondary team that I rooted for. I like the state of Oregon, I like their colors, I thought the whole dorky duck thing was weirdly cool, and they were capable of beating USC (who I despise) from time to time, so I was all for them. That changed the first time I saw Chip Kelly. Chip Kelly, to me, just oozes smarminess. I haven't liked Oregon since he took over, solely because of him. He rubs me the wrong way.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

"Being under investigation" isn't a story, at least not the kind of story there was to tell (and re-tell) about Ohio State. Pretty much all the information came either from the Dohrmann article or from local sources, like the Dispatch. Everything else was just echo chamber. You want to blame Dohrmann for investigating Tressel but not Auburn, Oregon, UNC, etc? I'm guessing that had something to do with the ridiculous image of himself Tressel created.

I didn't say Dohrmann's or any other story was 100% accurate. I didn't say it's not ridiculous that the tiny amount of actual information and tons of baseless speculation got wall to wall coverage on ESPN. I agree that felating the SEC makes business sense for ESPN, since they just paid a shitload of money for SEC's product. I might even be persuaded that ESPN has an ax to grind with OSU and/or the B1G in general because they blew off ESPN and are now seriously cutting into their business with BTN.

I don't for a second buy that ESPN is trying to cover up scandals elsewhere. THAT makes no business sense. Are you going to argue that those scandals coming out would somehow damage the product in which ESPN has a financial stake? You know a lot of people who will no longer follow OSU football because of the scandal here? If anything, we are following it more closely. Why would that be the case anywhere else? Scandals generate interest, and that interest makes ESPN money.

"Fair" doesn't even enter into it - when did the subject of press coverage, especially negative coverage, think that coverage was "fair"? Ohio State football has a bigger following than Oregon, Georgia Tech, and UNC football combined - it doesn't matter nearly as much who played for the NC last year or who won the ACC. Who would watch analysis of academic fraud by UNC football (not basketball) players or whatever happened at Georgia Tech? OSU gets many more eyeballs, both fans and haters. THAT's the pertinent context. Yes, the same is largely true of Auburn, and yes, ESPN might have some vested interest in not disturbing the shine of Auburn's championship, so they didn't dig into it. They didn't exactly dig into OSU when the Tat5 broke in December either - why would they disturb the Sugar Bowl matchup, which they were going to air? You were right in an earlier post - what they do has nothing to do with journalism. But if someone like Dohrmann went and did the digging on Cam Newton, I'm betting they'd cover it wall to wall too. It's not like Reggie Bush returning the Heisman and sanctions at USC didn't get covered endlessly. And that didn't even play out in public in real time, the way the OSU story did.

And why would ESPN mention Michigan's FTM resulting in probation? They aren't journalists and this isn't a morality play. The Michigan investigation is over, punishment was doled out, and there's nothing new about that to influence recruits' decisions. What does it have to do with the fact that pending sanctions for OSU scared off some recruits and that the ones from Ohio, naturally, looked to Michigan?

Look, we in the Big Ten in general, and at Ohio State in particular, pride ourselves on and won't shut up about how the SEC may have the best of the best teams right now, but our team has the largest, truly national following. You don't think it's reasonable that the size of that very following begets us the extra attention?

Oh, and the ESPN lawsuit: only our genius former coach was dumb enough to have the existence of these emails made public. Airing the dirty laundry in them will make ESPN more money. The FOIA lawsuit isn't spurrious enough to be tossed immediately, especially since the courts take FOIA in general very seriously. OSU, backed by the state of Ohio and many educational organizations/associations are making a strong argument for privacy based on FERPA, and I think they'll win that argument. It's not surprising that ESPN is trying, and I can't imagine they, or another news organization wouldn't do the same to any public institution subject to FOIA.

biggy84's picture

How was the coverage of South Carolina and their $50,000 scandal?

WildBear Buckeye's picture

We can either have the status of SCAR football together with the lack of reporting on their scandal or the status of OSU football together with the hyperscrutiny. I will take this scandal over being a largely irrelevant football program any day. Point out to me a program that has OSU's combination of history of success, recent success, and fanbase, that wouldn't have experienced this same degree of scrutiny. Auburn doesn't qualify - largely Alabama's little brother until very recently. Had an investigative report, however inaccurate, come about about Bush, Leinart, Carroll, or any combination of those, heading into Bush's and Leinart's last season, you think we'd hear about anything else? For that matter, had it come out that Saban, or Meyer while at Florida, had lied about player violations, you don't think we'd have the same circus?

biggy84's picture

The coverage of SC was absolutely non-existent! 

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Um .. SC is ambiguous when we're talking about both SCAR and USC. If you were referring to SCAR, then yes, middling program gets little to no coverage. If you were referring to USC, then it's not true that sanctions/Bush returning Heisman wasn't covered. I don't watch ESPN at all outside of college football season, and I read about it quite a bit. It definitely was nothing like OSU coverage, but it didn't play out in real time either. Allegations about Bush came out long after he went to the NFL, and it was still covered. Bush returned Heisman, and that was covered. USC got sanctions, and that was covered. I'm not sure how much mileage you expect to get out of the simple fact that USC got sanctions - it's mentioned during every single USC game. You could maybe argue that ESPN's presentation of USC and their sanctions is usually in a more positive light than of OSU and it's self-imposed and pending sanctions, but I'm betting USC fans would disagree with you. I'm not sure they'd be wrong.

biggy84's picture

They found the violation during an internal investigation. They dealt with everything very quickly too! TOSU reported to the ncaa, not being discovered by the media.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

And it would have stayed that way, even after the Sugar Bowl, had a guy who's already won a Pulitzer for exposing academic fraud at a college basketball program not zeroed in on Tressel and OSU football. Is it fair that every program isn't hounded by guys like this? No, but not every program is OSU. Not every program has a coach as self righteous as Tressel either.

biggy84's picture

Dohrmann did nothing but hurl wild accusations! He has been proven wrong many times. You obviously haven't followed this case very well. TOSU discovered and reported the violation long before SI "unearthed" anything! His Pulitzer winning ass relied on a few unnamed sources, with admittedly very shady pasts, that were proven to be lies. TOSU has been very forthcoming to the NCAA about everything! Do you not think that the NCAA actually investigated his wild claims? Did you know that espin was here for months dying to find anything to substantiate those bogus claims?

WildBear Buckeye's picture

I think we're getting the issues of NCAA violations and press coverage confused here. Since the NCAA hasn't ruled yet, we don't know what they did or didn't find. Clearly not enough to level additional charges in July/August, but enough to add FTM in November. That wasn't what I was talking about anyway.

Dohrmann could have sat in his office or wherever he writes and made up every word of his article, for all I know. Maybe he just hates Ohio State and wanted to bring the whole program down. I kind of doubt it, but it's possible. I was making two points about the article:

1) Many wins and a large, proud following begets annoyance and increased scrutiny. No one would have bothered to accurately investigate or even completely make up an expose on SCAR football, even if the super-annoying Spurrier is their coach.

2) It certainly didn't help that somehow Dohrmann got wind that OSU's holier-than-thou coach knowingly played ineligible players.

I can't even remember if that last part came out of the Dohrmann article or not, but it was certainly true. I also don't know what effort ESPN put into investigating Dohrmann's or anyone else's claims, but intense investigation doesn't seem to be ESPN's style. They had their talking heads talk about whatever they thought would bring in the most viewers, and at the time they believed (probably accurately) that Tressel's coverup was it.

My question is, do you think if Dohrmann got the itch to write about violations by Saban instead of violations by Tressel, ESPN just wouldn't cover it? They would, because they have no interest in propping up Saban or even in casting Alabama or any other program in a positive light. Their goal is to capitalize on the popularity of these programs, and a scandal at Alabama would do that just as well as an NC for Alabama. It's our dumb luck that out of the handful of programs that command this kind of attention the violations at ours came out.

I'd say Tressel should have deleted those emails, but I'm actually happy to have Meyer instead of Tressel. This isn't the way I would have preferred it to happen, but I'm happy with this outcome.

biggy84's picture

We do know what the NCAA found because it is in their NOI. The NCAA has to formally charge in writing and submit it to the university (which it did). 


Espin was here for months looking for anything to substantiate their rumor mongering. SI also came back for the same reason. The end result was nothing found.


As for Alabama: ever see Richardson's car?

spqr2008's picture

And did anyone see all those signed pictures for that suit company, that the owner was selling.  The owner of that suit shop also kitted out the team in suits, when they needed them (Ingram at Heisman ceremony), and used Ingram to promote his store.  Isn't that textbook NCAA violation?

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

I personally don't care what Alabama players or any other players get. I do care that the media picks and chooses what it reports and shapes the narratives of what is and isn't scandal to whatever suits its (giant confllict of) business interests.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Not a violation if Ingram didn't get paid.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Look, all I'm saying is that as Ohio State fans we need to put our big boy pants on and stop complaining about having our feelings hurt by ESPN coverage of an ACTUAL scandal at Ohio State.

ESPN has no power over Ohio State. Yes, it's annoying when ESPN talking heads say things that aren't accurate, make the Ohio State violations sound worse than they are, draw invalid comparisons without being challenged, and don't comparably address comparable violations at other institutions. We don't have to watch ESPN if we don't want to. None of it affects the NCAA investigation, as you have pointed out yourselves - many accusations were unsubstantiated by obtainable evidence, and the NCAA will not hold Ohio State accountable for those accusations. ESPN did not cause Tressel not to be coach any more, the Tat5 to be suspended, and however many more suspensions came down this fall. Those decisions were made almost entirely by Ohio State based on expected fallout from ACTUAL violations - trying to avoid an LOIC charge. They didn't have to get rid of Tressel. In fact, if ALL the accusations were false, they SHOULD have stuck by Tressel, because the NCAA investigation would have vindicated him.

It's ridiculous to complain that someone wrote an article leveling accusations, even if every single accusation in the article was false. If there was nothing to find, the investigation would have completely cleared everyone at Ohio State. There were things to find, heads rolled, and it doesn't matter how accurate the actual article or any subsequent coverage was. Heads rolled for real violations, not for made up ones, and not for unfavorable coverage.

Does every program have people writing articles about it, however malicious or inaccurate? No, pretty much no other program is Ohio State. Do comparable investigations of other programs take place with little or no coverage? Yes, pretty much no other program is Ohio State. Do other programs get away with worse violations? Almost certainly. Enforcement is ridiculously arbitrary, and the fact that it's DRIVEN by third parties beating the bushes for any an all dirt they can find makes it that much more of a joke. Don't like having to self-impose sanctions or having sanctions imposed on you? Run a program so clean no beating of the bushes can find anything. Don't like that other programs are getting away with worse? The B1G has IT'S OWN media arm! You think if the BTN digs up dirt on an SEC program, even if the dirt is completely fake, which results in the NCAA looking, which results in the discovery of actual dirt - you think then the SEC program would get hammered any less than Ohio State? Or are you going to tell me that the NCAA is wilfully disregarding violations at SEC programs while drumming up charges for Ohio State? If that's the case, Ohio State should leave the NCAA and convince the rest of the B1G to come with it.

The point is, Ohio State isn't powerless here. Violations were committed and Ohio State got punished/might get punished more. No one screwed Ohio State and there was no undeserved punishment. If we want to be fans of one of the most powerful, and therefore one of the most hated, programs in college football, we shouldn't complain about negative coverage - it comes with the territory.

rkylet83's picture

Right on Biggy.  Kind of funny, people laughed at the fact that Jim Tressel might be protecting his players from a dangerous person...and yet that turtle necked little twerp Dohrmann used the exact same excuse for his source "Ellis" and everyone in the media and popular opinion never called him on it.  He just took a bunch of *hit and threw it to see what would stick.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

You can hate Dohrmann all you want, but he had every right to write whatever he wanted. If it was totally false SI didn't have to print it and the NCAA didn't have to investigate. Be angry at the people who committed the violations that resulted in sanctions, not at the people who brought about or conducted the investigation. If there was nothing to investigate, there would have been no sanctions and you would be pointing at Dohrmann and laughing right now. If this "throwing a bunch of shit to see what sticks" approach is going to work against every program, the BTN should do it immediately to every strong program outside the B1G. Either nothing happened at Ohio State that doesn't happen at other programs (this is my personal opinion), in which case Ohio State should do what it can to level the playing field with those programs, or something out of the ordinary DID happen at Ohio State. Ohio State doesn't lack for resources to defend itself. We shouldn't whine that Dohrmann went after Tressel instead of someone else.

JozyMozy's picture

*reads through comments in the linked 11W articles*


Oh M1EK. You sad, sorry bastard. I can't even think of a strong enough metaphor to describe the insane amount of moral backtracking he had to spin for himself.

Maestro's picture

After the Bolden arrest news I thought about that jag-off.  M1EK is crying in a corner somewhere.

vacuuming sucks

onetwentyeight's picture

Funny how all of this stuff feels like a lifetime ago. 


Many huge events in CFB world since then, good & bad (Urban hire , that crap @ PSU). 



Maestro's picture

Disagree, it feels like yesterday to me.  It gets thrown in our collective faces daily.

vacuuming sucks

spqr2008's picture

The part I still love is that ESECPN was so busy suing OSU that they couldn't be bothered to look at the most important part of the case.  IF Tressel had told someone, he would be able to be charged with felony obstruction of justice.  Personally, I would rather have a coach who would violate a contract with a non profit than break a law and risk endangering a federal investigation.

NC_Buckeye's picture

IF Tressel had told someone, he would be able to be charged with felony obstruction of justice.

I'm hopeful that this might be the reason Tressel doesn't get a Show Cause penalty. I'd hate to see this ugly mess being how Tressel ends his coaching career. I'd like for him to either get another coaching job somewhere or be hired into a position in Ohio State's Athletic Dept.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

Sorry, don't buy it. If Tressel was really forced to choose between committing NCAA violations and committing obstruction of justice, there would be FBI agents and DAs lining up to come to his defense, now that the investigation is out of the bag anyway. They can't just put you in a positition having to choose between losing your job and committing a crime. At the VERY least Tressel's lawyers, of whom he can afford a small army, would be screaming about this on every talk show, sports or otherwise, there ever was.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

The feds can do whatever the hell they want and frequently do so. The feds simply decree that you must not, under penalty of law, devulge any sensitive information; they don't give a rat's ass whether such a decree might effect one's employment status and they have no obligation whatsoever to care about such things. Please cite an example for me of when any federal agents "lined up" to defend a "civilian" impacted in the wake of one of their investigations. To do so might suggest that they're, by extension, also legally responsible for such impacts, which is a precedent I doubt the feds would wish to establish.   

Likewise, Ohio State and/or the NCAA did not violate any laws, civil rights, etc. in the process of JT being forced to resign.

It wouldn't surprise me if JT won a civil case to recoup some dollars, but it's not his style to undermine the university (In contrast, Jim O'Brien was pissed off and didn't care if he did some damage).     

NC_Buckeye's picture

Wildbear, you've really got a bug up your ass about Tressel, no? I've seen some comments where you also impugn his coaching ability as well.

You're not Bruce Hooley masquerading as a Buckeye fan, are you?

spqr2008's picture

At the time he received the email, he would have obstructed the investigation if he reported it in a timely manner (within a month), because Rife wasn't charged until late November/Early December.  DA's and FBI agents can absolutely force you to choose between your job/minor infractions (compared to crime) and committing a crime, that's how they create informants.

spqr2008's picture

The reason ESECPN is biased is simply because they were like a dog with its favorite chew toy.  They could have reported on State Penn in May, but did not.  They could have investigated Oregon, who barely lost the NC game, or Cam Newton, but they did not.  ESECPN is just a TMZ masquerading as a news organization so that they are not subject to libel tourism.  Frankly, I trust them to report the truth only when it supports their narrative.