I really wasn’t in the mood to write an article today. It was hell getting into work today thanks to the city of New Orleans failing to understand the basic principles of civil engineering. Thanks to torrential downpours and tornadoes everything flooded. Even Moses would have had issues getting through this slop, but I digress. As I was saying, I didn’t feel like writing today, but unfortunately for me the sport juggernaut never sleeps and thanks to my undying love for Ohio State I had no choice… and it’s a shame.
For so long we have believed in our heart of hearts that Ohio State did things the right way. Under Jim Tresel there were no cutting corners or bending the rules for the sake of winning football games. The Ohio State University, the most powerful athletic institution in America, was a standard above which all others were held. Jim Tressel did everything right. Sure, the SEC consistently beat our brains in, but we got their the right way… the honest way.
In the span of about 48 hours, everything we’ve known has come crashing down.
With yesterday’s admission of guilt, subsequent suspension, and circus ring press conference Ohio State as we have known it over the past decade is no more. Jim Tressel, “The Vest” is not who we believed him to be. As it turns out, he is just like all the rest. Lying and covering up information regarding his players for the benefit of winning football games. For the benefit of himself.
Coaches are judged nowadays not by graduation rates and the type of men they produce, but by wins and losses. It’s a cold hard fact of life. To assume that Jim Tressel wouldn’t go to greater lengths in order to win more games is naive. He’s a football coach in the 21st century and he is paid to win games. If that means he has to stomp on his morals along the way in order to ensure another BCS Bowl birth and multi-million dollar contract extension then so be it and that’s exactly what he did. By failing to inform the University and proper channels of what was going on isn’t noble. It was stupid.
Tressel said he withheld the information in order to protect his players, “his kids.” Maybe that’s true. Maybe he was protecting his players from ridicule and controversy, but he was also protecting them from suspensions and a loss of amateur status and in the process protecting his wins, protecting the almighty dollar. With that decision Tressel is no different from any other college football coach in America running the university under the veil of competition and false integrity. For so long we’ve held him in high regard, but no more. It will never be the same, never be how it was.
Maybe it’s for the best in the long run. We can stop living in a fantasy world where Ohio State can do no wrong. The NCAA will review the situation and blast the Buckeyes with sanctions. They may fall back to the pack, or they might be ok in the end. Who knows? Does anyone really care at this point? This was the gut punch of all gut punches and it’s going to take the Ohio State Buckeye Nation some time to digest. So yes, we’ll eventually forgive. When the Buckeyes are a few years removed from all of this and winning football games it’ll never be mentioned and “The Vest” will once again be held in the highest regard.
But the scars will still be there. We’ll never completely forget.