It just proves that OSU are cowards who had to CHEAT to beat the Razorbacks. OSU was afraid to lose 10 straight....so they lie , cheat, & steal to stay on top?...REALLY?....SERIOUSLY?
On the road for much of the day yesterday, we at MrSEC.com never got a chance to chime in on the very bad news that hit Jim Tressel and Ohio State on Tuesday. Normally, an OSU situation would not appear on this site, but there are some pretty clear ties to the Bruce Pearl situation at Tennessee. For that reason, we’ll bring it up on a Southeastern Conference site.
That and it’s a good time to point out that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany might have just learned why folks shouldn’t go around questioning another conference’s NCAA problems — as Delany did during the Cam Newton fiasco. It’s called karma. “Throwing stones in a glass house” would apply, too, for those of you who aren’t of an Eastern-bent.
But now that we’ve had 24 hours to consider the Pearl-Tressel situations, we have a few thoughts of our own. Rather than post a series of columns, we’ll just give you the bulletpoints here:
* Coaches With Equity Get More Chances
In mid-January, ESPN analyst Dick Vitale said during a Tennessee-Vanderbilt broadcast that “99% of schools would have fired Pearl immediately” for lying to NCAA investigators. We mentioned Vitale’s comments. Then we said we didn’t buy them. Specifically, we wrote that other coaches who’d built up equity at their schools could survive the type of mess that Pearl had created for himself.
Anyone care to debate that one with us now?
Ohio State University… I’m sorry, THE Ohio State University has a coach who not only misled NCAA investigators, but he misled his own bosses at the university. Yet he’s still employed.
Just as we suggested a Billy Donovan, John Calipari or Mike Krzyzewski might survive a scandal because of their records — and the rumps they put in seats — it’s clear that Tressel’s record serves as a protective buffer for the coach.
If Tressel had John Cooper’s record against Michigan, he’d be unemployed today. If Pearl had Buzz Peterson’s overall record at Tennessee, he’d be unemployed today. Winning equals money and it’s easier for college presidents to raise funds — their most important duty, by the way — with a football or basketball team than with a new bilateral photon accelerator. For that reason, winning coaches get more chances.
We knew that back in January. Maybe Vitale realizes it today.
And for the record, we’re not saying this the right way to do business on a college campus. It’s not. But it’s no different that Joe All-American getting five chances on the football team while Lil’ Timmy Walk-On gets the heave-ho for underage drinking. It’s all about production and equity.
* OSU’s Penalties Tiny Compared To Tennessee’s
When Tennessee self-imposed penalties on itself, we said those penalties were too small. Well, if the Vols’ sanctions were small, OSU’s were microscopic.
At least in UT’s case, SEC commissioner Mike Slive stepped in and added an 8-game suspension to Pearl’s to-do list. Delany has said he won’t get involved. And that’s why — for all you folks who like to rip Slive — your league has a better commissioner than the Big Ten. Slive might not be perfect, but day-in, day-out, he usually takes care of his league. That’s gotta be somewhere in his job description, dontcha think?
However, by self-imposing small sanctions, both Tennessee and OSU have run the risk of further angering the NCAA.
* The Money Won’t Matter
Fines won’t matter. The NCAA is not a body that hands out many fines to coaches. It can’t. Levying fines or accepting self-imposed fines would only create the perception that big-time programs can buy their way out of trouble.
That said, Pearl’s $1.5 million pay dock over five years is absolutely brutal compared to Tressel’s $250,000 fine. OSU’s coach makes $3.5 to $4 million per season.
Neither school will likely get much credit for their monetary sanctions, but Tennessee’s hit on Pearl was certainly steeper. Of course, if the NCAA comes down ultra-hard on Pearl and Tressel, they won’t have to worry about their fines and salary reductions.
* The Media Is Crushing Tressel, Just Like Pearl
What’s with all the whining from Tennessee fans wanting more Tressel coverage? In the car for eight hours yesterday, there wasn’t a sports show on Sirius radio that wasn’t weighing in on Tressel and Ohio State.
OSU’s coach was called a fraud, a liar, a cheater. The school was mocked, ridiculed and peppered with insults. If Big Orange Nation wants Tressel to get the full-Pearl treatment, he’s getting it.
Yahoo! Sports and ESPN have been all over the story. Anyone who doesn’t see that is looking through orange-colored glasses. L’affaire Tressel has been on the front page of ESPN.com since the story broke. Mark Schlabach eviscerated Tressel in a column yesterday.
Pearl has been in the news for six months. Tressel’s story broke Tuesday. If you’re expecting equal coverage of the two scandals, you’re asking for the impossible. ESPN would have to create ESPN “The Vest” and program it with 24 straight hours of anti-Tressel commentary to equal what their analysts have said about Pearl since September.
Give the network time. They’ll jump on with both feet. No one loves to tear down and cast shame like the American media.
* The NCAA Doesn’t Go Light On Big-Time Programs Anymore
And can we please stop with the “Let’s see if the NCAA will hit Ohio State hard” talk? This one’s been a biggie across the SEC since Tuesday. Apparently no one has paid much attention to the NCAA’s track record.
Go ask Southern Cal administrators if their football tradition, Top 10 basketball team (at the time) or scholastic reputation helped them when they went before the NCAA last year. Alabama and Kentucky are two of the winningest programs in college football and basketball history, respectively. Yet they’re also among the most-sanctioned programs in NCAA history. And why is Indiana no longer competing on a national level with the North Carolinas, Dukes and Kansases of the world? Oh, yeah, NCAA sanctions.
When it comes to kicking its breadwinners, the NCAA has shown that it’s willing to do so. In a much-quoted line, Jerry Tarkanian once joked that “the NCAA is so mad at Kentucky, it will probably slap another two years’ probation on Cleveland State.”
But no one mentions this Tark quote from a couple years later, when UK came close to getting the death penalty: “There were years when (the NCAA) would never touch a Kentucky. But I think any coach will tell you they’ve been more consistent in their rulings, and they’re coming down hard on just about everybody. Since Dick Shultz took office (in 1987), they’ve come down hard and hit big people. They hit Texas A&M and Houston hard. They hit Oklahoma hard. They hit everybody hard.”
And that comment came 20 years ago. If anything, the NCAA has gotten tougher. Ask clean-as-a-whistle Tom Izzo who just got a one-game suspension for a secondary violation.
If the Ohio State situation turns out to be as bad as it looks, expect the NCAA axe to drop. Ditto Tennessee. Power programs aren’t protected like they once were.
* The Dez Bryant Comparison Doesn’t Fit
Can we also nix all the Dez Bryant comparisons? Everyone with a talk show or blog wants to know why Pearl and Tressel haven’t been sent away for a full year like the former Oklahoma State wideout who also lied to investigators.
Well, first, the NCAA hasn’t even ruled yet on Pearl or Tressel. So this storyline is laughably premature.
Second, coaches and players are different beasts. The only punishment the NCAA can hand out to an athlete is a suspension. Coaches (and their programs) can be hit with scholarship reductions, TV bans, postseason bans, limited recruiting visits, and now suspensions.
A does not equal B. Anyone claiming that A equals B is pot-stirring.
* Expect Pearl And Tressel To Both Get Spanked Hard
The NCAA has what could be two landmark cases before it: two big-time coaches who misled investigators. Pearl lied to their faces. Tressel failed to turn over information and reportedly signed a document claiming that he knew of no infractions. Pearl at least — for whatever reason — later came clean. Tressel never did, he was caught. Pearl has missed half a conference season and had recruiting restrictions self-imposed on his program. Tressel had to apologize — sort of — and he will miss his school’s games with Akron and Toledo.
How will the NCAA view these cases? UT fans will tell you Tressel’s sins were worse. OSU fans will tell you Pearl’s sins were worse. UT clearly hit their guy with tougher sanctions. But more than likely, both coaches will be hit with serious, serious penalties.
* What If More Folks At OSU Knew And Covered-Up?
One last thought on the Tressel situation — OSU’s coach said he didn’t turn over emails from a lawyer (a former Buckeye footballer himself) tipping him off to the scandal because he wanted to provide the attorney with the confidentiality he had requested. However, when he was asked at his press conference if he’d forwarded the emails to anyone, he nodded in the affirmative, before being cut off by athletic director Gene Smith. “We can’t get into that right now,” Smith said.
As SportsByBrooks.com points out, if Tressel forwarded the emails to anyone, it blows his “I didn’t tell the NCAA because of confidentiality issues” defense. But if Tressel forwarded those emails it could mean far worse for Ohio State.
If it’s found that Tressel shared the information with his boss — OSU’s AD — then the NCAA could really drop Fat Man and Little Boy on the school. It’s bad enough for a coach to hide information, but if a school’s athletic director or other higher-ups are aware of rules violations and they fail to report them… then you’ve got a full-blown cover-up.
Buckeye fans had better hope Tressel never forwarded those emails to his superiors or things could get even uglier in Columbus.