DESTIN, Fla. -- The news of Jim Tressel's resignation at Ohio State sent ripples throughout the college football world. It was stunning to see a coach of that status step down for a crime so egregious, but it also showed that no one is immune to the consequences of the negative practices in college football.
Some of the SEC coaches that spoke before the first day of SEC spring meetings touched on Tressel's situation. Here's what some of the coaches had to say:
Alabama coach Nick Saban:
“I guess if you were in the military you would say we lost a fine comrade in this whole thing. He’s a good friend. He’s been somebody I’ve had a tremendous amount of respect for, for a very, very good number of years in terms of the job he did at Youngstown State. We kind of grew up together in coaching. I’m from the Big Ten, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, places that I’ve spent times in coaching [they] crossed paths quite a bit and always had a tremendous amount of respect for Jim Tressel as a person, as a coach and professionally the way he handled his business with a lot of class and character.
“I don’t know the details of this whole circumstance and the situation there and certainly don’t want to comment on that, but obviously there were mistakes made and there are going to be consequences for it. I still think this is one of the finest people in our profession and certainly hate to see what’s happening happen.”
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino:
While he was still pretty upset at the fact that Ohio State was allowed to play six players who had been caught breaking NCAA violations, he did show some compassion for Tressel.
“When something like that happens you never like to see it. I feel for him, his family. It affects a lot of other people in the state and the university, so you feel for all those people.”
Florida coach Will Muschamp:
“I don’t really have all the information on what all happened. It’s all hearsay, as far as what you read. The big thing is go on gut feeling and do the right thing. That’s what I do and that’s what I expect our guys to do.
“Jim did a lot of really good things for college football. He’s an outstanding football coach, he listened to his players … he’s always been class to me, so that’s all I can judge things by on how somebody’s treated me and he’s been first class.
“You’ve got to be smart and you got to be honest and you gotta be upfront about what’s going on. Again, Jim Tressel has done so many good things for college football. I don’t want to look at one thing and make it be a negative.”
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt
“I went to Iraq with him and spent nine days [with him for the second annual Coaches Tour to the Middle East]. He’s one of the finest men I know. I don’t know everything that happened at Ohio State, I’m just now reading it, but I just know his core, what he’s about, and I think he’s a good man.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley:
Dooley cautioned that he wasn't talking specifically about Tressel and the Ohio State situation.
"Maybe it’s my legal background, but knowing and should have known go hand-in-hand. I’m not speaking on this incident. I don’t know the facts, but that’s the standard I’ve always operated on. If there are enough things floating around you, you should probably do something."