While the SEC Tournament begins today, most of the discussion in Atlanta has been about two unrelated scandals — the officials at the Rutgers-St. Johns game and the Jim Tressel embarrassment.
I say embarrassment because he should be embarrassed and Ohio State should be embarrassed for trying to sneak this past the NCAA with a slap on the wrist. The two-game suspension for Tressel and minuscule fine (7 percent of his salary) were almost as embarrassing as OSU president Gordon Gee’s statement that he never thought about canning Tressel.
“I hope the coach doesn’t dismiss me,” Gee said.
Tressel knew that his players were violating NCAA rules in April because of an e-mail from a Columbus lawyer. There was no mention of confidentiality in the original e-mail. That didn’t happen until two weeks later. Still, Tressel used it as his defense in his non-apology.
It’s so weak. He knew players broke the rules. He kept it from his bosses (and I use that term loosely) until they confronted him with the evidence. More importantly, he signed a document in September that he had no knowledge of any NCAA violations.
If Ohio State thinks this is over, the school is sadly mistaken. Sure, you got away with letting the five players who were charged with violations play in the Sugar Bowl. That was more evidence that the NCAA doesn’t treat all schools the same way.
But this will not end well for Tressel. Not only is his reputation smeared, I expect the NCAA to bring the hammer down the same way I expect it to come down on Bruce Pearl. It’s going to be ugly. It has to be ugly.
Ohio State finally won a game against an SEC team. Expect it to be vacated along with the Buckeyes’ other wins in 2010. Ohio State knowingly played ineligible players. That’s black and white.
The refs at the Big East tournament? That’s for another time.