Thursday, March 10, 2011

Never trust a man in a vest

Orson tried to warn us all years ago. But we didn't listen. We never listen. We are stubborn like children. We want to believe in something pure so bad that we ignore all the obvious warning signs. In a world of Pete Carroll, Lane Kiffin, and John Calipari, we grasp onto coaches like Jim Tressel like some sort of deity. "Tressel does things the right way" we say to ourselves as he beats our team 7 straight years. We can somewhat accept losing, so long as it's on the level. We despise Miami, because we know they cheat. Same with USC. Texas? What a fine program they are running down in Austin. That Bob Stoops from Oklahoma is a hell of a coach.

So what do we do when our preconceived notions are crushed? The same thing we did when we learned the truth about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny (that they are realer than Read Deal Holyfield, to all my younger readers) and think back to all the little moments of doubt we had over the years. All those dead giveaways that we ignored, denying ourselves a second thought over the absurdity of it's existence. "Sure, a fat man in a velvet suit can slide down our, and everyone else's, chimneys, take a milk and cookie break, leave presents, spelunk the chimney again, and head to the next house. Then he goes to every other house in the world, and repeats the process all in one night."

The same can be said about Jim Tressel. Sure, OSU reported 375 seperate violations in almost a decade. Sure, JT had trouble at Youngstown State. We never had concrete evidence that he was dirty. Until now. When notified of impending trouble, he wished the messenger a Happy Easter.
Hat Tip to
So he allowed the potentially ineligible players to play in every game. When the accusations were made public, he lobbied to allow his players to play in the Sugar Bowl. He stood behind the players, 22 year olds, as they were suspended for 5 games in 2011. All the while, he knew about it since April. For Shame.

AJ Green, a WR from Georgia, was suspended for four games for selling a game worn jersey. Dez Bryant, formerly of Oklahoma State, now with the Dallas Cowboys, was suspended for 10 games in 2009. He had dinner with Deion Sanders, and lied to the NCAA about it. So Bryant lies to the NCAA and misses most of his Junior season, but Tressel does the same, and will miss games against Akron and Toledo?

If I were a parent, I would be outraged. Many of these parents put their trust in guys like Tressel when their son commits to Ohio State. He is to be trusted as a de facto parent. He is responsible for not only teaching these players blocking schemes, but how to be a man. Am I wrong? The OSU Mission Statement doesn't think so. Here is a snippet:
Integrity in all aspects of behavior - The highest sense of integrity shall characterize every aspect of policy, performance and programs in the OSUDA. All participants in the OSUDA shall exemplify impeccable integrity - be they student athletes, coaching staff, administrative professionals or support staff of the department.
 So what should happen? I say the NCAA should throw the book at them. Then send someone to Columbus to explain to everyone what a book is. Then bring much tougher sanctions than 2 games and $250,000. The self-imposed penalties are a big "Fuck You, Pay Me" to the NCAA. I am not calling for Tressel to lose his job. That is up to the University. I wouldn't be shocked if he did lose his job, however. OSU has to try to save some face here. Players selling/trading their trophies is embarrassing enough, but a cover-up on top of it all?

One year, I wanna say it was 1991, my suspicions should have been confirmed. I was at my dad and step-mom's house. It was Christmas Eve. We had to run out for milk. As we climbed in the car, my step-mom "forgot" something in the house. She ran in for 3-4 minutes tops, and re-emerged and we were on our way. When we got home, the entire tree skirt was covered in presents. Santa must have come when we were at the store. It never occurred to my sister or I that the present's were staged, ready to go when we left. That nothing was forgotten in the house. That the presents were brought out while we fought over which seat we would sit in. I just wanted to believe that bad.

I don't remember the exact moment I learned the truth about Santa or the Tooth Fairy. I don't think it was too long after the above incident. I'm sure I was inconsolable for a good 15 minutes. I'm sure I questioned how my parents could deceive me. I'm sure I went through miniature versions of the 5 stages of grief. But I got over it. I realized how silly the whole charade was. I realized how naive I was to have believed for so long.

This is that day. The above e-mail is like finding a receipt on December 26th that lists all the presents I got from Santa. Maybe there are no clean coaches. Maybe the whole college game is dirtier than I ever imagined.  Maybe OSU will have to vacate their wins from 2010, and the winning streak is back to 6. Hey, a blogger can dream, can't he?

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