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Sullinger reacts to Tressel, OSU football

5/31/2011

It hasn't been the best 24 hours for Ohio State athletics. The Jim Tressel saga reached an ignominious end on Memorial Day: Ohio State announced Tressel's resignation from the school, a decision essentially forced upon both Tressel and his superiors Gene Smith and E. Gordon Gee by the revelations in a major investigative piece published by Sports Illustrated on Monday night.

Naturally, the story launched a flurry of reaction from all sides. The reaction included former OSU players like Arizona Cardinals tailback Beanie Wells, who was particularly vocal. It also, perhaps surprisingly, came from the most heralded member of the Ohio State men's basketball team, one Mr. Jared Sullinger. On Monday night, Sullinger tweeted:

Tress was my guy. He always tryed [sic] to talk me into playing football.

That's a bit of a joke, I'm sure, though it's not hard to imagine Tressel seeing Sullinger's 6-foot-9, 280 pound frame -- including his famously advantageous hind quarters -- and thinking the Buckeye forward was playing the wrong sport entirely. In a lot of ways, Sullinger plays the game of basketball like an offensive lineman: tough, physical, fighting for position in the trenches.

Then again, it's probably best Sullinger politely declined Tressel's advances. The last thing Ohio State needs is for more players to be involved in this fiasco.

This is a point for another time, maybe, but there's a different bit of fallout to process here. Despite its recent success under Thad Matta, Ohio State hoops has remained a definitive little brother to football in pigskin-obsessed Columbus, Ohio. With Tressel gone and some program-crippling sanctions likely on the way, will Buckeye basketball suddenly become the biggest and most important sport on campus?

On Tuesday, ESPN's Dick Vitale tweeted as much to Sullinger, saying "Hoops is # 1 on Buckeye campus." Sullinger's response? "Sounds good."