Ohio State Coach Tressel Does Right Thing: Resigns

OK. I know everyone has bigger burgers to fry today than fretting about Ohio State football. But this isn’t all about football. It’s about ethics, integrity and the value that a university places on education. And Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel did the right thing today by resigning. Unfortunately, he should have done it months ago when the news first broke about how he withheld information from OSU officials about a number of players who had violated NCAA rules but were allowed to continue playing last season.

I opined about this is March.

The perception of Tressel that I have — and I’ve never met him — is that he is a decent guy, an excellent coach and recruiter, and someone who cares about his players and the university. And he beats Michigan. Let me repeat that. He beats Michigan.

And I know that as a nation we set the ethical bar so low for those in business, government, education, sports and so on that people can roll over it — no lifting of the knee even required these days. Still, at a time when there is still considerable outrage — although not many criminal indictments — about the misdeeds of bankers, mortgage lenders, business executives, government officials and other miscreants, shouldn’t high-visibility and highly paid coaches of public and taxpayer supported universities be held to a high standard of ethical conduct?

I think so. And I recognize that university officials were not/are not going to fire Tressel. Hey, he beats Michigan. But he should have resigned.

Here’s from the statement from Ohio State this morning announcing Tressel’s resignation:

Athletics Director Gene Smith said, “We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best – representing this extraordinary University and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life…

Yep. It’s not all about beating Michigan.

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11 responses to “Ohio State Coach Tressel Does Right Thing: Resigns

  1. Brian "Breeze" Wooley

    Couldn’t agree more, sir. If one sacrifices integrity and values to win, is it truly a victory?

  2. Stephen Saluga

    Jim Tressel made many unethical decisions during his time at Ohio State University. Although he did not resign when the news first broke, the fact that he did says alot considering how college football is ran these days. This will be a huge hit to Ohio State as a school and football team.

  3. I am a huge Ohio State fan. My OSU football obsessed grandmother is the the one who gave me my devotion for the team. I was very upset to here the unethical decisions the coach was making. Though I know it was initially the players who were selling them items it was Tressel’s duty as a coach to report them. Not only did he put the entire team in jeopardy for recruiting players, but the school as a whole for recruiting students.

    • There really is no good news connected to Tressel’s resignation. But consider how differently this would have played out if he would have alerted officials as soon as he learned of the violations and taken steps to keep the violators from playing. Tough call. But ethically correct. And both Tressel and OSU would have come out way ahead.

  4. Stephen Wojtila

    I really liked your comment: “shouldn’t high-visibility and highly paid coaches of public and taxpayer supported universities be held to a high standard of ethical conduct?” In 2011, major corporations are often mistrusted and thought of as unethical. With the recession, these companies are laying off employees and making budget cuts, thus creating more tension with American citizens. A University is a business, but one of more respect and credibility. The Jim Tressel controversy should have been handled as a business asking for high respect would have handled a crisis. This being said, I do not think Tressel should have been fired but rather been transparent about the situation. His hiding of his knowledge about the issue proved to look awful from a public relations standpoint and although the University respects the couch enough to not fire him, Tressel did resign: a sign that he was at fault and made a mistake. This move, was a very dignified and responsible move that Tressel made so the University could continue to handle its “business” properly and he would still be remembered as a honorable couch.

  5. Marissa Decker

    I agree, the point here though isn’t that it happened, its the fact that he knew about it for several years and did not say anything. That hurt him more than anything, which is why it probably drove him to resign. Withholding anything always makes you look guilty. It is a shame that he didn’t just go through the necessary steps to make the players stop, because then all of this would have been behind him.

  6. Catherine Dies

    When the news first broke and Tressel didn’t resign, the hit probably was harder on the university than on Tressel. It was unethical for him to think it was “right” for him to stay at the university; skeptics then will always look for a fault in the football program, which is what the university is known for best. But, when Tressel finally resigned he did the right thing, the most ethical thing for the university and for his reputation. It’s unfortunate this happened, but maybe other coaches thinking they could get away with this situation also will think before they act.

  7. What happened to Integrity? It seems like there is no such thing as a good man anymore. Hard work and discipline were traits passed down from father to son in the Tressel family. My grandfather played football for Jim’s father Lee and I find myself wondering what Lee would think of his son’s actions. I think if Jim asked himself, “What would Dad have done?” he would be in a much better place had he applied that theory throughout his career. I think he did the only honorable thing he could have done by resigning. Tressel can’t hide from the truth and now he needs to find time to redefine himself. All I can say on behalf of all OSU fans is that I, or we, are disappointed. O-H-I-O

  8. Bernadette Foster

    I agree with what Stephen said. If Tressel wouldn’t have resigned, he may have just received a little slap on the wrist from Ohio State and continued on. I don’t think that would’ve shed a very good light on OSU. I love OSU but know that I would think about the school and the team very differently the longer this would’ve went on; I can only imagine the things people who don’t love OSU would say if this continued (they’re saying enough already with Tressel’s resignation). I think if Tressel reported the violations when they first happened, he could’ve done it very tactfully and with respect. In turn, people would probably think of him and the school has upfront and honest, even in bad times because they weren’t trying to do what so many businesses, government officials, sports, etc. try to do and cover everything up like it’s no big deal.

  9. When I first heard about the news I was shocked but I knew it was the right move for him to resign. Although he resigned on Monday, I wished he would have resigned months ago when this first came out, better yet I wish he wouldn’t have hidden the knowledge at all. If he would have just come out and told the NCAA about what he knew he might still have a job, but probably wouldn’t have enough players to coach. It was a bad PR move that he wasn’t honest and upfront about what he knew. Him keeping all the knowledge is unethical and makes him look guilty, but at least he is trying to be honest now by resigning.

  10. Kristal Dimon

    “The perception of Tressel that I have — and I’ve never met him — is that he is a decent guy, an excellent coach and recruiter, and someone who cares about his players and the university. And he beats Michigan. Let me repeat that. He beats Michigan.”
    So much pressure is put on coaches to put out results. Tressel handled that pressure well because of the results of his seasons. But at what cost?
    His job? Was it worth it, Jim? Who cares if he’s being a crook. He wins football games. And it’s not just he who should be taking the heat. Although he’s certainly become the martyr of this whole nightmare. You mean to tell me the athletic director had NO IDEA what was going on? Let’s follow the paper trail and see how deep this whole mess goes.

    “As a nation we set the ethical bar so low for those in business, government, education, sports and so on that people can roll over it — no lifting of the knee even required these days.”
    That seems to be a resounding theme that just won’t stop.
    It seems that people are simply to busy to give a damn about what’s right. Perhaps its simply lack of care and laziness. Either way it really bugs me that this kind of backdoor backhanded wheeling and dealing happens daily if not hourly… and not just locally, but globally.

    As Mitch said… “Where’s the integrity?”

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