So I was waiting to write something about Jim Tressel’s resignation until the Sports Illustrated bombshell hit the interwebs tonight. After Tressel’s sudden and reportedly forced resignation Monday, the timing seemed more than coincidence with the upcoming release of the SI piece. Common sense dictated to most of the college football world that some charge of damning evidence had convinced Ohio State higher-ups that Tressel couldn’t survive the looming NCAA hearing in August.
But, if you read the linked piece, you won’t find a ton of SMU-in-the-80s info. Yeah, turns out Jim Tressel hasn’t received his angel wings. And he conveniently ignores his player’s transgressions. And it tuns out maybe more than the original six players were involved in trading stuff for tats, cash and weed.
Okay. Sure there’s some damaging stuff there. But after that build-up and the constant stream of press over the past few months, it wasn’t quite the hammer most expected.
It’s a bit puzzling. Just two weeks ago Ohio State AD Gene Smith was still standing behind Tressel. What exactly made the Ohio State administration and Board of Trustees do such an about face?
Was it the news that QB Terrelle Pryor is now the target of a new and more in-depth investigation?
(By the way, Pryor, for good measure showed up at a team meeting tonight driving a 350Z with temporary tags. Oh, AND WBNS-TV in Columbus had footage of Pryor driving a brand-new Dodge Challenger with dealer tags this week).
Pryor’s seemingly long list of indiscretions could have put the administration over the edge, especially if you consider the NCAA’s ruling against USC and Reggie Bush that essentially said more successful players must be monitored more.
More likely, though, it was death by a million paper cuts (and slightly larger knives) of bad public relations. Three months of negative media coverage with many more months to come. It seems OSU’s leadership finally realized that no matter the outcome of the NCAA investigation – this whole thing was never going to go away as long as Tressel was coach.
If that’s the case, then it seems pretty plausible that AD Smith and most of Ohio State’s compliance department should be rewriting their resumes as well. It’s difficult to imagine anyone involved surviving this mess.