Despite the resignation of Jim Tressel, Ohio State University’s head coach, the plot thickens as more details surrounding the allegations were released Monday evening.
This week’s Sports Illustrated cover story is an investigative report detailing many of Tressel’s violations throughout his career. The report alleges that Tressel has been violating NCAA rules as far back as the 1990s, when he coached at Youngstown State.
The alleged evidence outlined in the story made it virtually impossible for OSU’s athletic department to protect Tressel and is what resulted in his “shocking” resignation. In fact, it is entirely believable that Gene Smith, OSU’s Athletic Director, and Gordon Gee, OSU President, will also be casualties for their failure to conduct a proper investigation. Ignoring the signs and failing to take the necessary steps to discover the truth make them just as guilty as Tressel.
While the SI article isn’t necessarily dripping with juicy details, it does a good job of illustrating how Tressel’s “ignorance” eventually backfired and forever shattered the legacy of the Buckeyes program.
The full article is available for you to read here, but here are a few highlights:
- From fall 2002 through last year, at least 28 Ohio State players are either known or alleged to have traded or sold memorabilia in violation of NCAA rules.
- Tressel was involved in violating NCAA rules when he coached at Youngstown State in the 1990s. One incident involved a player who received a car and more than $10,000 from a school trustee. Although Tressel initially denied any knowledge of the transaction, it was later discovered in court documents that Tressel was responsible for telling the player to see the trustee in the first place.
- In February 2000, 11 months before Ohio State hired Tressel, Youngstown State acknowledged numerous football violations and announced self-imposed sanctions, including the loss of two scholarships. Because it was satisfied with those steps and its statute of limitations on the violations had run out, the NCAA allowed Youngstown to keep the ’91 national title, one of four Tressel won with the Penguins.
- After Maurice Clarett admitted that Tressel arranged cars for him to use, and other coaches connected him with boosters who gave him thousands of dollars, OSU and the NCAA dismissed the allegations because it was believed that Clarett was disgruntled after his 2003 suspension. However, it is now believed that Clarett was telling the truth.
- The report alleges that quarterback Terrelle Pryor brought in more than 20 items, including game-worn shoulder pads, multiple helmets, Nike cleats, jerseys, game pants and more, to the tattoo parlor.
I’m sure more details will continue to surface over the next few days. Now that Tressel has resigned, the focus shifts to Gene Smith, Gordon Gee, Terrelle Pryor, and the future of OSU’s football program. I suspect sweeping changes will come across the board. Smith, Gee, and Pryor’s days are probably numbered and the Buckeyes will no longer be the dominating force we’ve known them to be due to sanctions and suspensions that are sure to follow.