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He is who we should have thought he was

Published: Tue, May 31, 2011 @ 12:03 a.m.

Rob Todor didn’t see it coming.

Or maybe he did.

On April 26, The Vindicator’s sports editor wrote: “Jim Tressel needs to go.”

Rob’s logic: “Even if he believes he acted in the best interests of his players — a flawed premise, without question the fact is, Ohio State is going to take a substantial hit from the NCAA in terms of lost scholarships and television revenue.”

The column, along with the scarlet A1 promo for it, was incendiary in some circles. Readers called. Advertisers balked. At a Youngstown State University event, some long-time Penguin supporters would not look Rob in the eye.

In terms of Tressel’s career, April 2011 must now seem like the good old days. His resignation — conveniently timed during a holiday weekend and just before we all got a chance to read what Sports Illustrated had to say — rendered any debate over his future very, very moot.

But in terms of the entire sad Tressel mess, Rob was not just brave. He was right.

The Vindicator, like most media, shares some of the blame for the outrage that followed not only Rob’s column but other less-controversial swipes at “The Senator’s” image, however. It’s hard for some fans to correlate two key images:

A.) The saintly, church-going, vest-wearing, football genius who just cares too gosh-darned much about his kids.

B.) The duplicitous patriarch who, like too many coaches past, broke rules before the game even started and who created and promoted a self-branding that was, at best, hypocritical.

That neither image is exactly fair is not the point. The point is that “A” got promoted while “B” was rarely scrutinized. So, at the end of this ugliness as the NCAA swooped vulture-like on the Tressel coaching carcass, the media began focusing more on image “B.” And readers and fans were outraged at what appeared to be a sudden piling on.

Perhaps the media were too preoccupied too early on in giving Tressel the benefit of the doubt. Let me illustrate by using the Vindy’s files.

On Feb. 16, 2000, the NCAA came out with a report detailing the 1994 incidents involving quarterback Ray Isaac and Penguins booster Mickey Monus. Cars and cash were involved. Quoting the report:

“The committee concurred with the university and the enforcement staff’s conclusion that violations of the NCAA constitution occurred when the university failed to take appropriate action in January 1994 to investigate reported violations of NCAA legislation after receiving information indicating violations had occurred.”

The interesting part:

“... the university president held a series of five meetings within the next month with institutional staff members including the faculty athletics representative, the executive director of intercollegiate athletics, the head football coach and the compliance officer. In these meetings, the executive director of intercollegiate athletics and the head football coach assured the president that these allegations were baseless.”

And more:

“There was no in-depth investigation of the information received in 1994 regarding possible NCAA violations. When asked why no in-depth review was conducted, the former director of athletics stated that he believed a disgruntled former employee had made the anonymous allegations to the NCAA. The head football coach agreed.”

That unnamed “head football coach” went on to become disgraced Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. Now if you are reading these report details for what seems like the first time, it very well may be. The story in The Vindicator on Feb. 17, 2000, back on the sports page with no scarlet promo from A1, did not quote these details.

In fact, the story by our beat writer at the time began “Integrity is a word that is very important at Youngstown State University.”

The story is revealing for this Tressel quote, however: “We never told anyone we were wonderful. We never told anyone we were perfect.”

Aw, shucks. Not perfect and, in an eerie premonition, not exactly forthcoming.

As it was explained to me back during the mini-firestorm last April: “You just don’t understand. Around these parts, Tressel is like God.”

Oh, the dangers of building up someone from the Valley into a graven image.

Maybe Jim Tressel today is exactly who Jim Tressel has always been. The media are just getting caught up.

Mark Sweetwood is managing editor of The Vindicator. To download the Feb. 16, 2000, NCAA report on YSU, go to NCAA Findings/


1mishmash(304 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

"Rarely Scrutinized" are the key words.

Hush Hush....... when similar allegations arose about Ray Isaac involving Mickey Monus............Hush Hush by Malsmissur, The YSU president, The Mayor & everybody.

THE TRUTH is Tressel was doing it continuessly at YSU & carried over the tradition to The Ohio State University.

Players loved playing under Tressel.....YEA....... truth is they all got "duked" with things ($$, cars, etc) under his leadership.

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2Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Jim Tressel and Bernie Madoff operated in a similar manner and shared similar character attributes. And their "true believer" followers share similar attributes as well.

Jim and Bernie both portrayed themselves as paragons of virtue; men to be trusted. But their overly successful results were a bit too good to be true in the dirty world of money (and that is what big time college sports is all about). Their followers didn't care because the payoff was terrific.

However, both were giants with clay feet and both have been shown to be charlatans.

Jim wrote books and was almost evangelical in his lectures on how to lead an "above-board" life. His last book title included the words, "Promises From God". Jim knew the promises from God, but he didn't know that his players couldn't afford the cars they were driving or the tattoos on their bodies.

Well God kept His promise to Jim yesterday. The irony was that He lowered the boom on Memorial Day, just weeks after the OSU Spring Game in which Jim hypocritically once more clothed himself in the flag to honor our troops by wearing "camo" on the sideline. God does have a sense of humor.

All smoke and mirrors for the fan base. And now just smoke for Jimbo.

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3walter_sobchak(2246 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

What about JoePa collecting his salary for the last 10 years all the while claiming he was actually coaching football? "Hello, Joe! Anybody in there?"

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4redvert(2172 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Walter, I didn't see the part about Penn State in the above article I read. Maybe it was edited out of my article.

You normally post intelligent responses but not this time.

This is college brown ball, nothing else. It is all about money, moral character is not involved in any way.

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5paulydel(1474 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I see we have some more holier than thou people making comments. I guess some of you never made mistakes huh? Tressel made a mistake but not worth of his resignation.

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6Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Jerry,"Tark the Shark" Tarkanian was dirty. Pete Carrol was dirty. So why should Jim Tressel occupy a lower ring in the hell of Dante's Inferno? Because neither "Tark the Shark" nor Pete Carrol portrayed themselves as saints. Neither one of them held themselves up as examples of how to lead an above-board life.

And neither traded on the impeccable reputation of their fathers, as Tressel did with his father, Lee.
And, most importantly neither marketed themselves through books and lectures as examples of how to run a clean life and a clean program:

"Life Promises for Success: Promises from God on Achieving Youre Best
by Jim Tressel"

"The Winners Manual: For the Game of Life
By Jim Tressel"

You see, Jim even professes to know the mind of "God". He doesn't know where his players got the money for tattoos nor money for late model cars with big wheels and great sound systems, but he knows the "promises from God."

Jim, you've had it coming for years and and you finally got it. That, was a "promise from God."

The irony was that Jim, ever the huckster selling himself, donned camo during the Spring Game to "honor the troops". It played well to the minions, but God has a sense of humor. So He lowered the boom on Memorial Day! Think about it.

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7walter_sobchak(2246 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

My post is in response to many other posts by HellaBB at other articles, calling Tressel a scumbag while extolling the virtues of Joe Paterno who has had numerous players arrested and convicted over the last 20 years. Sports Illustrated published a great expose about all college programs and how they deal with the devil with some of these "athletes". However, Joe Paterno is a great man but he is no longer coaching his teams as he did in the past. He needs to retire and quit being selfish.

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