Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Tressel/Ohio State reaction from Web
By Adam Rittenberg
Jim Tressel's resignation and the fallout for Ohio State football dominated the headlines throughout a Memorial Day none of us will forget any time soon.
Many of the columns I read turned the focus to three other figures in this saga: Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee, athletic director Gene Smith and quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Here's a look at some of the Tressel takeaways from around the Web:
Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel: "The NCAA’s original investigation centered exclusively on Tressel’s mistake. As more and more dirt comes out, it can -- and likely will -- begin a second investigation. It’s a snowball effect and there is no reason to think the media is going to stop looking now. This is what will be most painful for Ohio State. This is the willful turning of a simple case (the original tip) into a major one (Tressel’s cover up) into potentially a monster (any ensuing violations). It’s a series of self-inflicted wounds."
FoxSportsOhio.com's Bruce Hooley: "Tressel exposed himself then as an enabler and apologist for the player whose dealings with the owner of a Columbus tattoo parlor ultimately trashed the OSU coach’s previously unimpeachable reputation for integrity and character and forced his departure from a job that once seemed his for as long as he wanted it."
CBSsports.com's Gregg Doyel: "So, no -- what happened Monday wasn't enough to save Ohio State from the wrath of the NCAA. Nor should it be. Jim Tressel, and Tressel alone, was the guy who knew since April 2010 of violations involving some of his best players. That's true. But neither of the two people above him on the school hierarchy -- not his direct boss, not his school president -- thought what he'd done was bad enough to warrant his removal."
SI.com's Andy Staples: "If the three highest profile players of a big-time coach's career all got dinged by the NCAA, you would think that coach might be dirty. So why, after Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith and Terrelle Pryor all faced NCAA sanctions, did people still think Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was squeaky clean? Why, after Tressel admitted in March that he played ineligible players and lied to the NCAA about it, did people still rush to his defense, claiming him an otherwise perfect coach who made one little mistake? Because Tressel, Ohio State and a compliant media -- yes, I'm just as guilty as the other two parties -- sold that narrative so well."
The Columbus Dispatch's Rob Oller: "Ultimately, Tressel's tendency to micro-manage may have been his undoing, In contrast to the man he replaced -- Cooper was brought down in part by a hand's-off approach that allowed his detractors to accuse him of losing control of his players -- Tressel tried to do it all himself. So when emails hit his inbox with troubling reports that should have been shared with his superiors, Tressel instead kept the information mainly to himself, forwarding it to the hometown mentor of Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor. When Tressel denied knowledge of the incriminating email contents -- OSU players were trading memorabilia for money and tattoo discounts -- the road to ruin was freshly paved."
The New York Times' Pete Thamel: "As Ohio State football, one of the most powerful brands in college sports, prepares for what appears to be an uncertain season, the big question will be whether the N.C.A.A.’s unpredictable enforcement arm assures that more difficult seasons could follow. Tressel’s resignation appeared to be the Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee’s acknowledgment that the university was in an untenable position with its star coach."
The Los Angeles Times' Chris Dufresne: "Hubris is part of the plague of being one of the most powerful people in town, as Tressel was in Columbus. Control freaks think they can control things. Control freaks with power think they can control everything. Tressel's 106 wins in 10 years, 2002 national title and 9-1 record vs. Michigan made him virtually unimpeachable. It must have made him think he didn't need to disclose NCAA violations even as he signed a 'certificate of compliance' form in September certifying he knew of no violations in his program."
CBSsports.com's Brett McMurphy: "Any other coach would have been tossed aside months ago. Yet for reasons known only to Gee and athletic director Gene Smith -- still employed, at least, as of Monday morning -- Tressel was allowed to remain as the Buckeyes' coach even after the school discovered a paper trail of violations longer than the Script Ohio."
The Sporting News' Matt Hayes: "There are two ways this can go. Ohio State can believe firing Tressel will appease the NCAA infractions committee and take their chances with the looming sanctions. Or the board of trustees at the university can realize two thirds of the problem are still employed, fire Gee and Smith and show the NCAA that they truly are committed to starting anew."
Forbes.com's Roger Groves: "Despite all that success and giving Tressel every benefit of the doubt in his protective intentions, there are at least two overarching lessons. First: No one is bigger than the university. ... Lesson Two: Mistakes are forgivable. But covering up the mistakes and hypocrisy…not so much."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises: "Tressel's resignation on Monday is not Pryor's fault. But the Tressel-Pryor relationship is one of its root causes. Though Tressel is done, Pryor's Ohio State career continues, his senior season to be filled with not with a Heisman Trophy run but a perhaps awkward return after his current five-game suspension. He'll return under interim coach Luke Fickell, whom some suspect may provide more across-the-board discipline, and to an OSU fan base that may be uncertain of how to greet him."
AOL FanHouse's Greg Couch: "This is about crisis management. It’s about isolating and finger-pointing and butt-saving. First, Tressel-Smith-Gee blamed a couple of players for doing the wrong thing, and suspended them (after the bowl game). The players were the only ones in the box. But then, as real investigations continued, Smith-Gee had to throw Tressel over, too. Now, he’s in the box.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto: "No matter if he was encouraged to do so by OSU officials, or if he came to the realization that the NCAA investigation would never let up until he left -- leaving this way was the right thing to do."
The Detroit Free Press' Drew Sharp: "Tressel wasn’t surviving this. There was no way. He blatantly lied to his superiors and NCAA investigators, breaching explicit terms of his contract. But Tressel became leverage for the university with the NCAA. His bosses defiantly stood by him. Forcing out a coach they so staunchly supported just weeks earlier -- and who was so successful against the Buckeyes’ arch enemy -- sends another signal to the NCAA that Ohio State is sternly policing itself, purging the program of the root of the compliance problems."