NCAA Football

Tressel situation highlights strength of Paterno

Image Courtesy of Avinash Kunnath

Yesterday, the nation was greeted with a new take on NCAA compliance by Jim Tressel and the Ohio State University. Tressel’s “admittance” to mistakes that will at least have him suspended for the first two games next season and a penalty of $250,000 is an absolute disgrace to the institution that is college football.

 

Jim Tressel has shown over and over again that he is okay with lying and cheating as long as it produces victories on the field. Tressel has had some serious problems in the past that he has been able to deny and sweep under the rug. Those problems are not limited to only his time at Ohio State. Tressel now has brought major violations to two schools.

In 2004 at Ohio State, Troy Smith was caught taking money from boosters under Tressel’s watch. In 2002 Maurice Clarett was found driving around the country in brand new cars. While at Youngstown State Tressel coached Ray “The Colonel” Isaac in 1991. In this now famous investigation, Isaac received upwards of $10,000 from a local business man named Michael Monus. According to court testimony it was Tressel who introduced Isaac to Monus in his freshman year.

“I got a call from Mr. Tressel,” Monus told the jury during the court testimony, “and I believe the call was that he wanted me to be introduced to Ray and to work out some kind of job for him.”

The job turned into payments for nothing and an attempt by the University to cover things up. Youngstown State did an internal investigation and declared that there was little to no truth to the allegations. This was an investigation headed by the then Youngstown State Athletic Director Jim Malmisur and Tressel (sound familiar?). The investigation report was sent to the NCAA who later decided to drop the matter all together after reading the report.

The most glaring relation to this current fiasco is the Maurice Clarett disaster. Clarett received cash payments from Ohio State and from boosters as well as cars from a local Columbus dealer. Clarett also accumulated thousands of dollars in cell phone bills that were paid off by Bobby Dellimuti. Tressel denied knowing anything that was going on with Clarett. However, Clarett himself stated that it was Tressel who directed Clarett to the people who would loan him cars. Tressel also said he did not know anyone named Bobby Dellimuti after the investigations had begun, when in fact Tressel knew quite well who Dellimuti was. ESPN questioned Tressel about this issue and Tressel said he had been introduced to Dellimuti before Clarett was a freshman.

“I knew he was a booster of the Warren high school program and a fellow who was very involved with coach McDaniel,” Tressel said to ESPN.

As the rumors began to swirl around Clarett and Ohio State, Tressel claimed to reporters: “I think we’ve worked very hard on it. It’s a difficult task. We need to do it better.” Sound familiar?

Those close to Clarett all stated that Tressel’s denying of knowing anything about the extra benefits was a complete joke. After all three of these instances of violations came to light, Tressel denied having any involvement or even knowing that they were going on. Sound familiar?

Jim Tressel has produced a winning formula at Ohio State like he did at Younstown State, but for Tressel it seems as if winning is everything and he will do anything to win even when the reputation of his players, coaches and the university he represents are on the line.

For Penn State fans this is just another notch in their belt for disliking Tressel and Ohio State. Penn State’s ability to run a classy program and one that operates without any major violations in its history now stands taller than ever. The sole reason for this, Paterno.

Joe Paterno has coached at Penn State for 61 years. As he enters into his 62nd season on staff and his 46th as head coach, Paterno can hold his head high. It is because of his morals and beliefs that Penn State has remained out of the spotlight and circumstances like those currently at Ohio State. That is not to say that things havn’t happened under Paterno’s watch. We can all remember when Curtis Enis was sent packing for accepting a suit from an agent and how about the 2006 football player brawl that had multiple player suspensions and expulsions. However, Paterno has taken an honest approach to all issues that have surfaced around his program. He has not been afraid to bench star athletes in what has become called “Joe Pa’s Doghouse” or talk about them to the media. This includes players with on the field issues, academic issues as well as drug and alcohol related issues. After the 2006 brawl Paterno faced the media and spoke about what happened. He also said that the actions of those individuals would be felt by the whole team. That season the entire team was forced to clean the stadium after home games. Would you expect that at Ohio State?

Paterno and his staff have ruled with an iron fist over their program and they have created a culture of football that is built off of respect not only for teammates, but for past players, family, the fans and the university. Even though Penn State fans may be upset with Paterno’s old-school style on the field, there certainly is nothing to be upset about off the field.

Jim Tressel has stated in the past that Paterno is a role model and a coach he admires, well, take a page out of Paterno’s handbook Jim and learn some respect.

 

Below is taken from the NCAA by-laws about player benefits:

NCAA by-law 12.3.1.2 states that an athlete shall be deemed ineligible if he or she accepts benefits from agents or marketing representatives. The rule further states that student-athletes, their family or friends cannot receive benefits or loans from agents. Additionally, NCAA by-law 12.1.2.1.6 states that athletes cannot receive preferential treatment, benefits or services because of the individual’s athletics reputation or skill or pay-back potential as a professional athlete, unless such treatment, benefits or services are specifically permitted under NCAA legislation.

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