Sunday, June 5, 2011
Delany on Tressel: 'The chain broke'
By Adam Rittenberg
A lot of folks have been clamoring for Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany to weigh in on Jim Tressel's resignation and the controversy surrounding Ohio State.
Sunday, they got their wish.
Delany answered several questions about Tressel and Ohio State after announcing the future sites for the Big Ten football, men's basketball and women's basketball championships. The commissioner expressed disappointment in Tressel's actions and acknowledged the challenge Ohio State faces, but he stopped short of saying he felt betrayed by the former Buckeyes coach.
"Coach Tressel would acknowledge and he did acknowledge that how he handled it was not the right way to handle it," Delany said, "You force it up the chain of command so that people with the responsibility to manage this stuff handle it properly worth the NCAA. The chain broke when the coach became aware of the information and didn't forward it. ... When that kind of information becomes available, you have no choice."
Delany's main point: The Big Ten goes to great lengths to stress the importance of communicating any information about potential NCAA rules violations. Tressel failed to do so when he didn't send information he received last April about potential violations to anyone in Ohio State's athletic department.
He resigned from his post Monday after several months of intense scrutiny and with new allegations surfacing against the program.
"It’s been a difficult time," Delany said. "Nobody can feel good about it. Whenever you have a program or programs that operate at the level of exposure and public notoriety that ours do, when things don't go well, it's not going to be a fun time. It's been hard on the coach, it's been hard on the players, it's been hard on the fans. The test is how resilient are you? How do you manage this kind of challenge?"
Delany was asked Sunday if he felt betrayed by Tressel, especially after the commissioner supported having the Ohio State players who violated NCAA rules participate in the Sugar Bowl. Like the rest of us, Delany didn't know at the time that Tressel had prior knowledge of the violations.
"I was surprised to find out in January that coach Tressel had previous knowledge," Delany said, noting that he only feels betrayed by his dog. "I was disappointed that that happened. I didn't feel much more than disappointment."
Other nuggets from Delany on Tressel/Ohio State:
- Delany said Ohio State's eligibility for the inaugural Big Ten championship games depends on how the school's situation with the NCAA plays out. "I can't tell you how much confidence I have in Ohio State and the NCAA," Delany said. "I doubt very much whether they'll have any tremendous conflict. They've worked together to find the facts. ... There's a whole broad range of things that could happen, but I can't predict what that will be."
- Delany on Ohio State's handling of Tressel: "President [E. Gordon] Gee has acknowledged ... that it’s regrettable they weren't more aggressive."
- Delany on Ohio State's future: "I have tremendous confidence in that program to be resilient."