Big Ten

College Football Analysis: Ohio State's Tressel in Big Trouble

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They say there are three things that are certain in life. Death, taxes, and Jim Tressel dominating the Big 10.

All kidding aside, Jim Tressel's legacy at Ohio State is definitely one to remember. After taking over in 2000, the Vest posted a 7-5 record in 2001.

That would be the worst year in his illustrious career in Columbus, as the Buckeyes would post a 99-17 (.853) record over the next 9 years, including a 61-11 mark in Big Ten play. 

When a Coach is hired at Ohio State, they are brought in to do two things; Beat Michigan, and win titles. In 2002, the Buckeyes won the National Title, defeating the Miami Hurricanes in an epic 31-24 overtime victory. The Buckeyes have won outright or shared the Big 10 Title 6 years in a row, and defeated arch-rival Michigan 7 years in a row. Life was pretty good for Coach Tressel, who's team expected to compete for another Big 10 Title this season.

But things haven't gone as smoothly recently as they have before. In December, 5 Buckeye players, including starters QB Terrelle Pryor, OT Mike Adams, RB Dan Herron, WR Devier Posey, and DE Soloman Thomas were suspended for receiving improper benefits and selling memorabilia, including championship rings and  Maize pants given to the Buckeyes for winning the annual UM/OSU game. 

After campaigning for the 5 starters to play in the Sugar Bowl, (in which the Bucks defeated Arkansas 31-26), Tressel suspended the same five for the first five games of the 2011 season. With that out of the way, the Buckeyes thought they were ready to move on and begin the spring without those players. In March of 2011 though, more news emerged.

"Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel received an e-mail last April telling him that two of his players were caught up in a federal drug-trafficking case and the sale of memorabilia, breaking NCAA rules." 

Tressel was suspended for the first two games of the season, which he later upped to five games to join his players, and fined $250,000. But the controversey around the program continued to swirl. Coach Tressel was approached by a former Ohio State football player in the 1980's that these things were going on, and Tressel refused to acknowledge it. In a "notice of allegations" sent to Ohio State  by the NCAA relating to Tressel considered "potential major violations" and had "permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible. The report also says he "failed to deport himself ... (with) honesty and integrity" and said he was lying when he filled out a compliance form in September which said he had no knowledge of any NCAA violations by any of his players."

While Ohio State may not get the death penalty or even severe sanctions as some believe, Jim Tressel is treading on extremely thin ice. Not only is the NCAA extremely unhappy with him lying to them (he signed a compliance form, people!) but mentioned in the investigation were transgressions with past players (Troy Smith) as well. If this holds up, the Vest may just be be out of a job by the end of the year.