Home » Opinion » Letters to Editor » Letter to the editor: ‘Tattoo-Gate’ a reason OSU won national title

Letter to the editor: ‘Tattoo-Gate’ a reason OSU won national title

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Then-sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) speaks with former football coach Jim Tressel during a game against Minnesota on Oct. 24, 2009, at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 38-7.  Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Then-sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) speaks with former football coach Jim Tressel during a game against Minnesota on Oct. 24, 2009, at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 38-7.
Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Letter to the editor:

“The story of Tattoo-Gate.”

It almost writes itself. It would start with the recruitment of 6-foot-4-inch, big-armed, smooth-running quarterback from Jeannette, Pa., by a coach known for his integrity, sweater vest and winning. The end is where the story turns, with that same quarterback being shunned from the university he embodied for three years, a coach being forced out of the program whose tradition he continued and brought to new heights and many reputations being forever tainted.

Years later, the Ohio State Buckeyes won the 2015 National Championship. The reasons why are plentiful and oft-discussed. But one that’s often overlooked is the scandal in 2011 that led to coach Jim Tressel’s resignation, the vacating of 12 wins including a win in the Sugar Bowl over the Arkansas Razorbacks and a bowl ban. The short version is as follows: six players on the Ohio State football team were found to have traded Big Ten championship rings, cleats, jerseys and a national championship ring in exchange for cash or for trade: tattoos. Twelve emails between Tressel and Columbus attorney Christopher T. Cicero ensued, describing the details of the allegations and investigation. These emails never made it to Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, and thus an investigation into Tressel’s lack of action supervened. Eventually, Tressel resigned as head football coach.

But Tressel’s resignation meant the possibility of a new culture, one that could compete for national championships with the Southeastern Conference and beyond. It would take the perfect hire, however, to put the team in this position. Enter Urban Meyer.

Meyer had just decided to leave a Florida program because of health issues, one that he had led to two national championships. He was working for ESPN as an analyst and color commentator. But Meyer decided to come back to coaching, for Ohio State. Add that to the fact that he is from the state of Ohio and had already worked on the staff at Ohio State earlier in his career, and that meant the perfect alignment of the stars for an Ohio State-Urban Meyer marriage. Meyer vowed to make Ohio proud. His recruitment of athletes and change in system and culture at the university has done just that.

There’s no way to prove whether Ohio State would have been able to win with Tressel as head coach. OSU loved Tressel and the teams he coached while he was here. Fans rooted hard for Terrelle Pryor throughout his time as starting quarterback and defended every wobbly throw or bad decision. No tattoo scandal will make them regret those feelings. However, nothing that happened during that time compares with winning the big one. And all Ohio State fans can thank Jim Tressel for it.

Daniel Herbener
First-year in journalism
herbener.4@osu.edu

4 comments

  1. “There’s no way to prove whether Ohio State would have been able to win with Tressel as head coach.”

    You instantly lost all credibility with this statement. Not only did Tressel win, he won a lot.Not to mention he won a national championship against what may have been the most talented college football team of the past 25 years.

    As a first year student your lack of knowledge of the history of the Tressel era is appalling. If the scandal wouldn’t have happened whose to say that Ohio State wouldn’t have won the national title that year?

  2. Simmer down there Bucks23

    Daniel’s statement is not offensive. Tressel did win a lot… but he only won 1 out of 3 national championship games with the Buckeyes. 2002 OSU beats Miami , 2006 OSU defeated by Florida , 2007 OSU defeated by LSU. And even though I consider the 2002 game to be one of the best national championship games ever, it could have gone either way many times. Tressel’s teams rarely dominated and put distance between themselves and the other team point-wise. And, even with all the things Tressel did well, he never had the QB injuries and replacements we saw this season.

    Perhaps you need to review your history. There are no guarantees in a championship game, and there is no way to prove they would have won with Tressel…. or anyone else… as head coach.

    I still like Tressel. I think he’s a noble guy, and that was shown throughout his resignation and what he has done with himself afterwards. Meyer seems pretty good as well. I am a fan of his leadership program with the team. I hope that element continues to yield good results off the field as well.

  3. First I want to say a friend called me from Wash DC and said “Glad you listened to me and signed with the buckeyes. That arrogant kid, QB recruit, who keeps holding press conferences to say he hasn’t decided will implode one day!!” I actually agree with this article but in a different mindset. Troy Smith (thx for signing your Heisman jersey Troy) said it best to the QBs “How you play in that final game, if you make it the championship run, will decide your pro fate!!!!” He aint never lied because Tattoo-Gate ruined so many careers and the program that these players wanted to prove they had the “talent” to win it all without the drama!!! What did ESPN love to say…. “The Buckeyes can’t win big games!” Now Oregon has that title! hahahaha Tressle is guilty of letting arrogant “star” players ruin his team!!! He was a great guy!

  4. One correction to Daniel’s letter: Jim Tressel didn’t leave Ohio State because of “Tatoo-Gate”. He left because of his cover-up. Had he been forthright from the beginning regarding his knowledge of players selling awards for benefits, those players would’ve gotten the NCAA’s standard four-game suspension and Tressel still would be Ohio State’s coach. But his cover-up caused the NCAA to take strong action. In that context, it’s difficult to see a link between Tatoo-Gate and this latest Championship.

    –Larry Spisak

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