Say what you will about his weak excuse at his presser, to me it was just another in a long line of shameful acts that I think Jim Tressel has been a part of throughout his entire career. But Tressel claimed that he was scared for the safety of his players via the emails that he had received from Columbus-area lawyer, and former buckeye football walk-on Christopher Cicero who had originally tipped Tressel of his players trading autographs and memorabilia for free tattoos.
Tressel claimed the information he was being given by Cicero was "confidential" and thus he didn't know who, if anyone, he could share this potentially damaging information with.
This via a report on ESPN.com today:
A fan of the Buckeyes' program, Cicero said he doesn't want to be considered the "Judas" in the controversy, and added he has received some death threats in the past few days.No surprise there. It continues...
Cicero also said he doesn't know of any other possible NCAA violations by Ohio State players, other than selling memorabilia to a Columbus tattoo parlor owner who has been under a federal drug investigation. Tressel has said he didn't report the e-mails from Cicero because he considered them to be "confidential."Was the intended meaning of "confidential" lost in translation? According to Tressel's email back to Cicero, he said "Thanks...I will get on it ASAP." Does that sound like a guy who is about to do nothing and say nothing? Is he just telling Cicero that so he'll go away?
Cicero said when he asked Tressel to keep the e-mails confidential, he meant that he would not go to the media or the public, not that Tressel couldn't inform the school or launch his own investigation.
ESPN video interview with Christopher Cicero.
Chris Spielman weighs in.
Tressel knew his players were up to no good. He knew in April and said nothing to his boss, the university president, a university attorney...no one. And the immediate result? A co-Big Ten championship, a 12-win season, and a huge victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. All with 5 players that Tressel knew the whole time were ineligible.
And finally, to top it all off, the smoking gun...
Ohio State’s official letter to the NCAA sheds more light on Tuesday’s confusing press conference. Specifically, it clearly explains the process by which coach Jim Tressel failed three times to tell his superiors that Ohio State players sold memorabilia and apparel.He does? 375 self-reported violations between 2000-2009. Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith, AJ Hawk, Terrelle Pryor? You call that at "atmosphere of compliance"? Whatever mythical compliant atmosphere Tressel has been promoting for the last 10 years has most certainly evaporated faster than you can say "corruption" with this latest scandal.
The three specific times:
• Tressel signed a document on Sept. 13, 2010 that said he was not aware of NCAA violations. (!)
• He failed to tell school officials on or around Dec. 9, 2010 about emails he received in April explaining players’ involvement in selling memorabilia.
• He did not tell school officials about the emails – or his knowledge of players selling memorabilia -- when specifically asked on Dec. 16, 2010. He also misled school officials that day when stating he “did not recall from whom he received the tip,” and that he “did not know that any items had been seized.”
The letter states, “The institution is very surprised and disappointed in Coach Tressel’s lack of action in this matter,” but goes on to say that the violation is “out of character” for Tressel and that he has a “proven history of promoting an atmosphere of NCAA compliance within the football program.”
The more details that emerge from this, the more you realize that tOSU has really no other choice than to at least heavily reprimand Jim Tressel. A 2-game suspension and a $250,000 fine is nothing.
A total of twelve coaches have violated the same bylaw (NCAA bylaw 10.1) that Tressel violated, and of those twelve, eleven were fired. To me, anything less is a slap in the face to not only the NCAA, but any other school out there who have been required to pay dearly for their own transgressions.
It's time for tOSU to come down from their high horse. Tressel should not get any special treatment or consideration because of his successful career or all of the accolades that he has brought to tOSU. Gene Smith needs to step up and fire Jim Tressel. If he chooses not to, the NCAA should require him to do so.