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The inevitable finally happened today; facing further NCAA penalties and sanctions Ohio State’s head football coach Jim Tressel submitted his resignation, after a meeting with OSU athletic director Gene Smith.
Having grown up in Columbus, Ohio and having a father who once played football there under legendary coach Woody Hayes, the OSU athletic complex was like a second home to me. Its rich history and the unforgettable cast of characters that gave it life are never far out of mind. Consequently, that tradition is why I knew Jim Tressel was finished at Ohio State as soon as the NCAA Notice of Allegations letter sent to OSU President E. Gordon Gee was released.
In their letter the NCAA basically called Jim Tressel a liar and a cheat.
Reminiscent of Hayes’ attack on Clemson football player Charlie Bauman at the 1978 Gator Bowl, the OSU administration will ultimately come to the right conclusion and do the right thing — no matter how beloved or successful a coach happens to be.
Tressel may have resigned but don’t think for one moment that some powerful people around the OSU program didn’t influence his decision to say farewell.
Breaking It Down Ahead of Time
I’ve written several articles about this whole saga, the last one was on May 8th titled Time for Jim Tressel and OSU to Part Ways. However, it was the first article I wrote on this series on January 1st, 2011 (Another Low in College Sports: Jim Tressel Extorts Players’ Pledge to Return) that foreshadowed what was to come.
The biggest mistake Tressel and Gene Smith made was to find a loophole in the NCAA bylaws that allowed those five suspended players to play in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. That decision sealed their fate!
Surely the Buckeyes brazenness shook the sensibilities of certain power players within the NCAA. Accordingly, at that point —it was on, baby! The NCAA has been on a witch hunt ever since.
If Tressel sits those players down for the Sugar Bowl he wouldn’t be resigning today!
What’s Next for the Buckeyes?
How will the Tressel’s resignation impact the NCAA’ final ruling on the Buckeye athletic department? It’s difficult to say right now because we don’t know all their findings. But Gene Smith’s position hangs in the balance. Based on the pending presentation of the NCAA Rules Committee findings, the OSU administration may have to clean house.
Bo Pelini Next Ohio State Buckeye Coach?
Don’t count on it for two reasons: (1) there are several other coaches out there that would be a better fit for the program right now (2) Even if offered, why would Bo Pelini want to walk into that mess.
Buckeye athletics have already taken a significant blow to the body with the player suspensions and another powerful blow to the head with Tressel’s resignation, but no one has ever knocked out the Buckeyes. And unless the NCAA hands down a highly doubtful death sentence — the Buckeyes will be back — sooner than later.