Among ties that bind, Bob Stoops and Jim Tressel shared one of the tightest in sports with legacies as successful, big-time college football coaches and backgrounds heavy in tradition-rich Youngstown, Ohio.
That was before Tressel resigned from Ohio State last week.
Stoops, who said he still holds Tressel in high regard, carries a unique perspective in persevering through his own quarterback scandal. Speaking with The Oklahoman, he credited his success to dealing with it head-on.
"We can't follow a hundred players around," Stoops told the Oklahoma City newspaper. "That's just not realistic and not gonna happen.
"So, at the end of the day, our players are very well educated on what's allowed and what isn't. If something isn't appropriate, it's dealt with, I like to think, appropriately and in the right way. And that's it."
It's been five years since the departure of Rhett Bomar from Oklahoma after one year, during which he threw for 2,018 yards and led the Sooners to an 8-4 season.
According to The Oklahoman, Stoops said the decision regarding Bomar was quick and final.
"Our conversation wasn't very long," Stoops said of Bomar, who was found to have taken excessive benefits from a local car dealership.
Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor continues to face his own uncertain future as the NCAA investigates whether he received impermissible benefits from a dealership. He's also among five Buckeyes players suspended for the first five games of the upcoming season for improper trades and memorabilia sales made to a Columbus tattoo parlor.
Tressel resigned after acknowledging having failed to notify Ohio State of information he had on the tattoo-parlor dealings.
Stoops said he made a prompt decision after confronting Bomar with evidence.
"You're not playing at Oklahoma," Stoops said he told Bomar.
Stoops said Bomar wondered if he was referring to the next season.
"No, it's going to be forever," Stoops recalled saying. "We'll move on. You can transfer."
Stoops wouldn't talk specifically about the situation at Ohio State but indirectly held Tressel at fault, according to The Oklahoman's report. Stoops grew up in Youngstown, while Tressel coached Youngstown State to four NCAA Division I-AA titles before leaving for Columbus in 2001.
"I love Jim Tressel," Stoops said. "I think he's a fabulous guy. He's overall been a strong example for all coaches. And I don't know all the circumstances around his situation. So it's impossible for me to comment on that."
Stoops reiterated that informing players of the rules and boundaries was key to avoiding problems.
"Our players are educated. They know," Stoops told the newspaper. "If you knowingly break the rules, we're going to move on. We'll find someone else to play quarterback.
"I felt it was in the best interest of our university. Our players know, we're going to do things right. At least that's our hope."
But the Sooners coach maintained there would always be room to wonder, what if?
"It's impossible to know what everyone does behind closed doors," Stoops said. "Even in families, you don't know sometimes what's going on. So to think we know, when families or wives and husbands don't know?
"No one knows. At the end of the day, if someone tries to conceal something they will, and when you find out, you deal with it. That's it. We can't possibly know everything that happens."