Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Buckeyes, Tressell, In Trouble With NCAA Violations

Neither Pryor or Tressel will be available
for the beginning of OSU's 2011 season
NCAA violations continue to put the 2011 season in jeopardy as Tressel has been suspended for at least the first two games.  

Back in December the Buckeyes got some bad news before their appearance in the Sugar Bowl.  Their star quarterback Terrelle Pryor had been found guilty of selling awards, autographed photos, and in the process accepting the improper benefits.

4 other players were also suspended;  running back Daniel Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas will join Pryor on the bench for the first five games.  They are being forced to repay from $1,000-2500 to charity to make up for the improper benefits.  

At the time of the controversy, Jim Tressel is quoted saying  that "We as coaches feel the buck stops here," coach Jim Tressel said during the news conference. "We're the ones who need to make things even more crystal clear."  After saying this, Tressel and the Ohio State University athletic department decided that these five players should not be suspended until next season, and were made eligible to play in the Sugar Bowl.  

Moving forward 3 months, and Ohio State again finds itself in the eye of the NCAA investigation.  This time the investigation will center around the Buckeye's coach Tressel.  It has been become known that Tressel knew about these violations by the players last April and failed to hold any party responsible.

Ohio State has made their own internal investigation, and a suggested punishment for Tressel has been offered.  He has been suspended the first 2 games by the university, he is also being fined $250,000 for not reporting the violations to the NCAA.  The NCAA is now conducting their own investigation and could opt to reject the suggested punishment by Ohio State and place further, more harsh, punishments on the coach and program.

Tressel was one of the most respected coaches in college football because of his success and loyalty to the Buckeyes, he has also not been in any trouble with the NCAA.  In his press conference he said that he did not give enough thought to the possible NCAA sanctions when he first was notified about the violations.  Tressel said that he did not want any pity for his punishment but said that he was saddened by the decision to suspend him.  The athletic coordinator stated that Tressel's job is safe and that the university has had no internal discussions of dismissing their coach.

I think that this situation is beginning to sound a little bit more severe and more harsh sanctions will be placed on the university.  I also think that Tressel's honesty comes into play here, when he said that "The buck stops here" and said that the coaches needed to take more responsibility he had already known about the situation for 8 months.  8 months is far and away long enough to punish the players and reinforce the rules, but nothing was done.  He said that he didn't give enough thought to possible NCAA sanctions, but Tressel is a smart coach and certainly knows the rules and regulations.  He should have known what would happen if this story broke out.

As it stands now, Tressel will miss the first 2 games of the 2011 season.  This is not really a punishment as the Buckeyes play Akron and Toledo, both teams that OSU should be able to beat soundly.  He conveniently returns for their first road game at the Miami Hurricanes.  The fourth game on the schedule is back at home against the Colorado Buffaloes.  Pyror and the 4 other players will also miss conference opponent Michigan State.

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