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Give Tressel the boot

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The NCAA shouldn’t suspend Jim Tressel for more than two games. It shouldn’t fine him more than $250,000. It shouldn’t bar him from spring practice and summer workouts.

After it finishes its investigation, the NCAA should recommend Jim Tressel’s termination as head football coach at The Ohio State University.

This incident is further proof that college athletics is spinning out of control, and a message needs to be sent to university presidents and athletic directors who let rule-breaking coaches keep their jobs because they win games and sell tickets.

And that’s exactly why Tressel, who said he never considered resigning, didn’t tell the athletic department that he had received an e-mail from an attorney indicating OSU football players were selling memorabilia to Edward Rife. Rife, the owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor, is one of the focal points of a federal drug investigation.

Tressel’s contract states that he is bound to report any possible violation immediately.

He didn’t.

When Regular Joe with a normal job breaches his contract, he gets the boot.

So should The Vest.

“I am sorry and disappointed this happened,” Tressel said. “At the time the situation occurred, I thought I was doing the right thing.”

Doing the right thing? Surely a deeply religious man with a newly released book titled “Life Promises for Success: Promises from God on Achieving Your Best” knows the difference between right and wrong.

Or does he?

Maurice Clarett and Troy Smith, the highest-profile players of the Tressel era other than current Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were both suspended for accepting improper benefits. Tressel also had a player do the same thing at Youngstown State.

It’s clear that Tressel, also author of “The Winner’s Manual,” wants to win at all cost. The mantra is shared by athletic director Gene Smith and university President E. Gordon Gee, who make up the university’s “Big Three.”

When asked whether he considered firing Tressel, Gee gave a clear indication of who actually runs the university.

“No, are you kidding?” Gee said with a laugh. “Let me be very clear: I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”

I rest my case.

At this point OSU has given Tressel a slap on the wrist. The NCAA should break his arm.

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