The NCAA has officially notified Ohio State of allegations against head coach Jim Tressel. At the heart of the allegations is a charge of “ethical misconduct” on the part of Coach Tressel. The NCAA makes no charge of “lack of institutional control” or “failure to monitor” against the athletic department or the university.
According to the Columbus Dispatch’s Ken Gordon, the possible fallout from this could be severe, including vacating wins from the 2010 season, loss of the Big 10 title from 2010, and a post season ban for this coming season. Of course, whether or not Jim Tressel keeps his job as the Ohio State coach is also in question. These kinds of allegations are usually fatal for head coaches.
The allegations center around Tressel’s “coverup” of information he received about Ohio State players and their involvement with selling memorabilia. The “customer” in this situation was under federal investigation for drug trafficking. According to Tressel, it was the danger of this situation that led him to keep the news under wraps. Curiously, there is absolutely no data in the culled communications records that indicates Tressel shared any of this information with athletic director Gene Smith or anyone in Ohio State’s compliance department. This is where it gets fishy for me.
While not one to engage in too much conspiracy theory, Tressel’s actions seem terribly out of character for him. While it’s entirely possible this is all on Tressel, I’m not quite swallowing that something this big went underneath the radar of an athletic department like Ohio State, regardless of whether Tressel told them or not, which also stretches the boundaries of credibility. Add to that the inconsistencies in the public handling of this case, and it would seem that the answer being offered to this equation doesn’t entirely add up. Ohio State “inadvertently” left out some emails from their previous disclosure? Please.
Jim Tressel is likely going to go down on this. The only question is whether he solely engineered a gargantuan coverup or is falling on the sword, Oliver North style, to prevent more serious penalties for the university. That question may never be answered.