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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Scandal tarnishes Tressel, Ohio State

By Mark Schlabach

"The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour."

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel included that Japanese proverb on page 193 of his book, "The Winners Manual For The Game of Life."

Eight pages later, there's this nugget from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: "It takes less time to do the right thing than to explain why you did it wrong."

Jim Tressel
Ohio State suspended coach Jim Tressel for the first two games of the 2011 season.
In 10 years as the Buckeyes' coach, Tressel has often showed us his teams can't win big games.

On Tuesday night, Tressel showed us he can't win the big news conferences, either.

Tressel, who has guided the Buckeyes to seven Big Ten titles and the 2002 BCS national championship, wanted us to believe that he was different from other successful head coaches.

From his character-based books to his conservative sweater vests, Tressel wanted us to believe that he's a straight shooter who follows the rules.

On Tuesday night, we learned Tressel isn't any different from a lot of coaches in college football. He's apparently more concerned about winning games and championships than following rules and doing things the right way.

In fact, Tressel might be even worse than other coaches who are corrupting college athletics. He won't admit he's wrong even after he has been caught.

Facing the biggest crisis of his career, Tressel never once apologized for knowingly breaking NCAA rules during a news conference on the Ohio State campus on Tuesday night. Worse, Tressel never owned up to not telling his bosses or NCAA investigators that he was aware at least two of his players might have accepted improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor in Columbus, Ohio.

When Tressel was asked if he was worried the scandal would tarnish his reputation, he said he's always been his biggest critic.

"I don't think less of myself at this moment," Tressel said.

How's that for looking in the mirror?

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