You probably think the headline refers to Ohio State's Jim Tressel's resignation; Tressel did, after all, pull an Ensign this week, resigning in the hopes that it would end the investigation into wrongdoings, but this blog isn't about that...
... so much. The only thing I know about Tressel's resignation is just that: he resigned. I haven't read up much further on it thus far because here's what I know about NCAA Division I-A (or BCS-Level) college football programs that go 106-22 over many seasons: they cheat.
Or, cheat by the standards set up by the NCAA, which demands that coaches and players live up to standards that the university itself doesn't have to, and that are rarely enforced, anyway -- when it counts.
The worst charges -- the "most egregious," according to Fox -- were that Tressel lied to the NCAA and covered up allegations that his players had sold memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor, itself a violation.
So Tressel was primarily in trouble for not revealing to the NCAA that players were selling gear they wore.
Meanwhile, Ohio State University auctioned off game-worn gear, while the investigation into players doing that was going on.
That's not the only hypocrisy on display here. Tressel was aware of rules violations, and didn't report them -- but what about Ohio State?
Ohio State acted shocked... shocked... that Tressel might let his players get involved in rules violations, or might himself commit rules violations -- but they hired Tressel while he was under investigation for NCAA rules violations at Youngstown State, and while Tressel moved on to Ohio State, Youngstown was sanctioned for things that happened there. (See also: USC, Pete Carroll.)
Should Ohio State have been allowed to hire a coach that was under investigation? Shouldn't Tressel have been suspended by the NCAA, or shouldn't Ohio State have refused to hire him? The only people punished for Tressel's rules violations were a minor college that he left in the lurch.
And while he was with them, Ohio State had to know about Tressel: everybody else did. Sports Illustrated has this quote in its article about him, relating a story told by an associate about Tressell (allegedly?) rigging raffles so that certain players would get memorabilia:
"In the morning, he would read the Bible with another coach," Tressel's former colleague said. "Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel."There have been ongoing rules violations and reports of the same for years under Tressel. So Tressel is forced to resign for not reporting violations: what of the Ohio State administrators who did exactly what Tressel did: ignored evidence of ongoing rules violations?
Will they resign?
Ohio State is allowed to do the things that Tressel and his players can't, and they hired Tressel for doing exactly what they now fired him for: for ignoring NCAA rules.
Those rules are "rules" that the NCAA and other college-sports related organizations routinely ignore, if they want to: Cam Newton and Reggie Bush both were awarded Temporary Heisman Trophies, heightening their draft prospects. Cam Newton was allowed to play out a season he "earned" by having his dad shop him around... reportedly without his knowledge. (The Ohio State players under suspicion were allowed to play in their BCS Bowl game this year, too, so the "rules" apparently don't apply post-Christmas.)
This post's headline doesn't so much refer to Tressel or his resignation, as it does the sideshow of fireworks this creates, fireworks that Ohio State and the NCAA and other college football factories hope will distract you from realizing that the NCAA, major colleges, and related organizations are making millions off college players while secretly encouraging rule-breaking for major programs, punishing programs that actually enforce academic and ethical standards, and then throwing a little bit of sacrificial jetsam off the ship whenever the public starts paying attention.
"We will always be Buckeyes," Tressel said at the end of his resignation speech.
Yes, and Buckeyes, and the other programs that routinely win, will always ignore the "rules" college sports claims to live by.