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Time will aid Tressel legacy

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

Ohio State football fans will remember the 106 victories, seven Big Ten titles and the 2002 BCS championship.

For Jim Tressel’s friends and supporters, his legacy will include not only that success on the field, but his leadership and philanthropy off it.

There is tangible evidence of the latter at Youngstown State — the soon-to-be-opened athletic training center, the endowed scholarship in the name of Tressel and wife, Ellen, and the four national championship trophies in Stambaugh Stadium.

For the next few months, however, the Tressel name will be attached only to stories about tattoos, emails and accountability.

But, as always happens, time will blur the details of Tattoo-gate, and years from now, in most corners of the country, the Tressel name will be a distant memory.

“Tressel? Wasn’t he the coach somewhere who got in trouble?”

In Ohio, of course, the details will burn a little longer.

It’s been 33 years since Woody Hayes was fired, and there isn’t a Buckeye fan who doesn’t recall the circumstances:

Gator Bowl. Clemson. Art Schlichter interception. Charlie Bauman.

Likewise, Tressel will be linked with Terrell Pryor, Daniel “Boom” Herron and the other players who exchanged championship rings and other memorabilia for tattoos.

The names of Ed Rife, the Columbus tattoo parlor owner; Chris Cicero, the former Buckeye player and lawyer who first emailed Tressel with information about the players, and Ted Sarniak, the Jeannette, Pa., businessman and Pryor’s “mentor,” also will be personae non grata around Ohio Stadium.

But time — and victories — heal all wounds. And Monday’s other news should help that process.

Pryor is being investigated again by the NCAA and the university, and don’t expect to see him set foot on the field in an OSU uniform again.

That will make it easier for interim head coach Luke Fickell and his staff to prepare for the 2011 season.

A team needs its quarterback position, more than any other, to be settled as soon as possible.

With Pryor expected to be finished, Fickell’s offensive staff can name its starter (and offensive leader) at the outset of fall camp and move forward.

The Buckeyes aren’t going to be eligible for the Big Ten championship or a bowl game, but a nine- or 10-win season, the hiring of a big-name head coach and a top-10 recruiting class, and the spring and summer of 2011 will be quickly forgotten.

Tressel’s legacy may take a little longer to heal, but the brightness of his coaching success and community goodwill will eventually outshine the darkness of the Tattoo Five scandal.

Rob Todor is sports editor of The Vindicator. Write him at todor@vindy.com.


1Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

No Rob, time will only reveal the details that will diminish the charade.

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. Both men operated Ponzi Schemes and both men were found out.

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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2paulydel(1508 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I love how you live in Ohio and cut Ohio State down. Leave if you don't like it. Tressel made a mistake so what. Was it worth his resignation? No. Ohio State lost a great coach and he is going to be coaching again hopefully not against us. I for one am very proud of Ohio State and they will survive this.

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3Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 4 years, 6 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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