While growing up in Cleveland in the 1970s, I learned that Ohio State football is huge. I was alive to see games during the Woody Hayes Era. I loved watching football on the artificial turf. Carlos Snow. Vince Workman. Art Schlichter. Chris Spielman (my god, I love me some Chris Spielman.) Cris Carter. David Boston. Andy Katzenmoyer. Keith Byars. Chris Gamble. Eddie George. Tim Spencer. Raymont Harris. Troy Smith. Joey Galloway. Santonio Holmes. Terry Glenn. Pepe Pearson. I’ve had so many favorite players over the years. I’ve also had a lot I didn’t like. Robert Smith. Stanley Jackson. Austin Moherman.
College and high school football is not just a part of the institutions in the Buckeye state, it IS the Buckeye state.
Yesterday’s news of head coach Jim Tressel resigning was like a punch in the stomach, although it was fully expected at some point. The way things are in today’s society, with the media investigating everything, it was just a matter of time before coach did the politically correct right now and resigned.
First off, it is a dumb thing to lose your job over. Tattoo-gate, or whatever you want to call it. The student-athletes at not only The Ohio State University, but all other institutions, fill the coffers for these colleges and fund the athletic programs for the entire school. One year living in North Carolina, Duke football wanted to charge me $50 face value for a football ticket. Again, that’s Duke football. Are you kidding me? Even the doormats are raking in the dough. In return, the kids get nothing. OK, it is argued they get a free education, and that is invaluable. But the hypocritical NCAA is making millions, if not billions, off of the athletes, their jersey and number, video games, television contracts and whatnot…and when they sell their OWN personal items, it is disallowed. It is against the rules. These are also teenagers or young adults in their early 20s, coming most often from lower income families, having the temptation of things they could only dream of growing up. But, right, shame on the players. Shame on the coach for protecting them. Shame shame shame.
You know what, shame on you, NCAA. A good man is out of a job today, although it won’t last long. The pros will come calling. All of those jealous fans (I’m looking at you maize and blue, or other Johnny-Come-Lately southern schools) who are glad to see Tressel go, remember this date – December 29, 1978. That was the last day coach Woody Hayes roamed the sidelines. And you know what? The sun rose on December 30. Head coach Earle Bruce took the reins. Ohio State football continued and prospered, and will do so again.
The Ohio State football coaching job is the Los Angeles Lakers job in the NBA, it is the managerial job of the New York Yankees. If you win, you are not only loved, you’re a saint. You’re treated better than a family member. If you lose…cough, cough…John Cooper, you are vilified.
To the new coach, whether it be Jon Gruden, Urban Meyer, or whoever the media decides to spit out of the rumor mill, just please do one thing. Win with respect. Lose with grace. And do everything like coach Jim Tressel did 95 percent of the time in Columbus.
And most importantly, above all else, keeping spanking that school up north.