The Rehabilitation of Jim Tressel

About a month ago, Tressel resigned under pressure from the university as the many allegations swirled around the program. Cars, cash for memorabilia, cover ups, etc etc etc. A tough day for Tressel and a tough time for the program.

It is interesting to look at some things that have happened since then:

* “The car investigation has largely been dropped”:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/06/21/ohio.state.cars.ap/index.html?sct=cf_t2_a6. There were no special deals done for the players or families. Pryor may still have some issues but there is no wide ranging scandal here.
* “More and more players deny selling memorabilia”:http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/06/22/more-buckeyes-deny-selling-memorabilia.html?sid=101. The feeling that there was even more dirt to uncover doesn’t seem to be warranted.
* “The North Carolina allegations have dropped”:http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/feed/2010-08/unc-investigation/story/north-carolina-football-facing-several-serious-ncaa-violations. Academic fraud, improper benefits, agent involvement — this is what a mess really looks like. It is interesting that North Carolina so far is standing by its coach. Ohio State is held to a higher standard — by itself, and by outsiders. I wouldn’t want this to change.
* “OSU’s Football APR top among top 25”:http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=17300&ATCLID=205157100. Clearly the program has been doing some things right.
* “John Hicks comments on Tressel’s motivation”:http://ohiostate.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1233937. Responding to Desmond Howard’s idiocy, Hicks makes the argument that Tressel was focused on player welfare — admirable, even if it leads one astray at times.

Clearly mistakes were made; coverups always turn out bad, and Tressel has paid a significant price for his role. But looking at all the accumulating evidence about the state of the program and what was provably a violation, it certainly seems that the opinions on Tressel should have bottomed out and should start to rebound. And you have to wonder if perhaps the University didn’t move a little too fast, and was a little too responsive to the flurry of press coverage. Allowing due process some time to run might have served everyone better. The University and the program may have arrived in exactly the same spot, Tressel did make mistakes, but allowing investigations to run their course might have been prudent.