When Trying To Understand the Fall of Jim Tressel the Important Question Is Not “What”…….But “Why” – Yes, “Why” Did Jim Tressel Cover-Up and Lie To His Bosses at Ohio State and Then Later to the NCAA? – Maybe Because If the TRUTH Had Come Out the Final Outcome….Jim Tressel’s Resignation and the NCAA’s Eventual Hammering of OSU Athletics Would Have Been One and the Same – The Unseemly Story Out of The Jim Tressel – Ohio State – Buckeye Five Debacle Was the Sugar Bowl’s Role In Getting Those 5 Ohio State Players Eligible For Last Year’s Sugar Bowl – One Can Only Wonder If the Some of College and University Presidents Understand Just Who They Are In Bed With and Here Is A Spot Where Experience In the REAL WORLD Off Of A College Campus Would Do the College Presidents That Support the Bogus BCS A Lot of Good – Oh, You Think the Fiesta Bowl Is the End? – Yes, Climb Back Out On That Limb….But Don’t Come Crying To Us When You Hear the Chainsaws Crank-Up!
Jim Tressel’s fall from power from one of the top and most respected coaches in the game of football has been so quick and unexplainable that a few of us here at Coaches Hot Seat have been using some of the skills we learned over 20 years ago from Uncle Sam to try and understand what the Hell just happened in Columbus, Ohio and the centerpiece of that training boiled down to one simple question:
If you want to know the TRUTH ask….
“Not what happened….but WHY did it happen?
The very BIG “why” questions in this entire Tressel – Ohio State debacle is why did…
“Jim Tressel not immediately report the emails he received about Ohio State football players selling merchandise to a tattoo parlor owner that was involved in a federal investigation to the compliance office and his bosses at Ohio State?”
“Why did Jim Tressel lie to the compliance office, his bosses at Ohio State and to the NCAA in December about when he knew about OSU players selling merchandise and being involved with the tattoo parlor owner?”
Answer those two questions and in our opinion you will have the REAL reason why Jim Tressel is no longer the head football coach at Ohio State and since we believe Tressel to be a smart man we assume that Tressel acted in a smart way during this entire debacle and using that logic one comes to one inescapable conclusion (our opinion):
Covering-up what was going on at the tattoo parlor and the Ohio State players being involved with the tattoo parlor owner and the things that would come out from a full investigation of the players activities in and around the tattoo parlor and Tressel’s knowledge of such things would have eventually cost Jim Tressel his job and would also have led to huge NCAA sanctions against Ohio State.
Before we explain that fully there is a famous scene from the movie Nixon during the height of the Watergate investigation that happened in real life when White House counsel John Dean meets the head of the White House “plumbers” and former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt at a bridge in Washington DC where they are meeting to discuss the President of the United States paying a bribe to Hunt so he will keep quiet about both Hunt’s activities at the White House, the Watergate break-in, break-ins to other offices around the country and various other hijinks that violated Federal law, but also to keep Hunt quiet about things like Nixon’s involved with “Cuba” in the late 1950s and even into the 1960s.
Here is the dialogue from that scene in the movie Nixon between John Dean and E. Howard Hunt:
“EXT. WASHINGTON D.C. BRIDGE – NIGHT
JOHN DEAN stands at the center of the bridge, looks down
Lyndon Johnson passed away today at 74
– one of the most tragic of American
You’re early, John.
Dean jumps. Turns. HOWARD HUNT is standing behind him.
I was sorry to hear about your wife.
Yes … I got the money.
The President would like to know if
that was the last payment.
I’ll bet he would.
In Richard Nixon’s long history of
underhanded dealings, he has never
gotten better value for his money. If
I were to open my mouth, all the
dominoes would fall.
Hunt starts to walk away.
Can I ask you a question?
How the hell do you have the temerity
to blackmail the President of the
That’s not the question, John. The
question is: Why is he paying?
To protect his people.
I’m one of his people. The Cubans are
his people. And we’re going to jail
Howard, you’ll serve no more than two
years, then he’ll pardon you.
(lights his pipe)
John, sooner or later — sooner, I
think — you are going to learn the
lesson that has been learned by
everyone who has ever gotten close to
Richard Nixon. That he’s the darkness
reaching out for the darkness. And
eventually, it’s either you or him.
Look at the landscape of his life and
you’ll see a boneyard.
Hunt throws a match into the river.
… And he’s already digging your
Here are the important lines from the above scene:
How the hell do you have the temerity
to blackmail the President of the
That’s not the question, John. The
question is: Why is he paying?”
Yes, “why” was the President of the United States paying E. Howard Hunt to be quiet about his activities….
The very good question of “why” did Jim Tressel not immediately report the emails about Ohio State players selling merchandise to the compliance office at OSU and then why did he lie to his bosses and to the NCAA in December about when he knew about his players activities?
Because in our opinion in both instances “what really was going on” was that E. Howard Hunt’s activities that violated dozens of U.S. laws and what the Ohio State players were doing at the tattoo parlor and elsewhere, as detailed in George Dohrman’s SI piece, would have led to the downfall of President Nixon and Jim Tressel so both men had ever incentive to cover-up things and hope that the cover-up worked and things just went away.
Often one will hear say that Richard Nixon was brought down by a “two bit” burglary of the Democrat National Committee’s offices at the Watergate but nothing could be further from the truth.
Why then was E. Howard Hunt leading a team to break into the Democratic National Committee’s offices at the Watergate?
J. Anthony Lukas wrote a book on the Watergate scandal that explained the reason and at a symposium at Hofstra University in 1997 that included many former Nixon Administration officials the real reason for the break-in to the DNC’s offices at the Watergate was detailed:
“Jeb Stuart Magruder is one of a handful of Nixon aides who almost certainly knew the motive for the Watergate break-ins. Dispatched from the White House by Haldeman to become Attorney General John N. Mitchell’s deputy at the Committee for the Re-election of the President, he served as the key link between the political figures such as Haldeman and Mitchell and the operational types, notably G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt.
Like his colleagues, Magruder had never provided a satisfactory explanation for the burglaries. But, after serving seven months in prison for his Watergate activities, he had become executive minister of the First Community Church of Columbus, Ohio, so perhaps he was more inclined to talk now.
When the Hofstra organizers invited me to serve on their Watergate panel with Magruder, I resolved to ask him once more about the motive and specifically about a theory I had long favored.
Originally developed by Terry Lenzner of the Senate Select Committee on Campaign Practices (and elaborated in an article of mine), it goes like this: The Nixon forces were trying to determine what Lawrence F. O’Brien, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, knew about some shady dealings between Nixon and Howard Hughes, particularly $100,000 passed from the multimillionaire to the President’s friend Charles (Bebe) Rebozo, part of which was apparently later spent on furnishings and jewelry for the President and his family. Secondarily, the White House may have been trying to dig up some dirt with which to persuade the Democrats to withhold, during the 1972 campaign, what they knew about the Nixon-Hughes relationship.
When I had posed my question, Magruder took the pulpit and launched into some cosmic reflections on God and the universe. Just when I began to dismay of getting an answer, he paused. ”I want to be honest about what happened here,” he said. ”It was a planned burglary . . . . As far as I know the primary purpose of the break-in was to deal with the information that has been referred to about Howard Hughes and Larry O’Brien and what that meant as far as the cash that had supposedly been given to Bebe Rebozo and spent later by the President possibly.””
Is J. Anthony Lukas and thus are we saying that monies passed from multimillionaire Howard Hughes to one of Richard Nixon’s friends was the reason that E. Howard Hunt and his team of “plumbers” were tasked to break into the DNC’s offices at the Watergate to find out what DNC chairman Larry O’Brien know about the money from Hughes?
Yes….,but what would come from an investigation looking into E. Howard Hunt’s activities with the White House “plumbers” and during his time as a CIA agent was something that President Nixon was very scared about and thus why E. Howard Hunt could blackmail the President and more than likely Nixon would have gotten away with everything if not for the existence of the White House tapes that detailed Nixon’s complicity with people working at the White House that were violating Federal law at his direction.
Imagine for a moment Jim Tressel sitting in front of his computer in April 2010 and receiving an email from a former Ohio State player giving Tressel a heads-up that some current OSU players were selling merchandise to a tattoo parlor owner that was involved in a Federal investigation. What must have run through Jim Tressel’s head upon reading that email?
In our opinion what ran through Jim Tressel’s head was that if he printed out those emails and walked them down to the Ohio State compliance office to have the matter looked into then the entire lid of what many Ohio State players had been involved in over many years would have been blown off and that would have more than likely led to Tressel’s firing and major NCAA sanctions against Ohio State.
Yes, in our opinion, Jim Tressel covered-up and lied about what and when he knew about the activities of his Ohio State players because he reasoned as the smart man that telling the truth would be worse than lying and covering-up of things……even if he cover-up did not work completely as it didn’t initially when things came out in the public in December of last year. But the cover-up of when Jim Tressel knew about things continued until he was forced to admit his lies and deceit to Ohio State and NCAA investigators with Tressel’s own lies and deceit eventually costing Jim Tressel his job.
Why then did Jim Tressel not report the initial email about his Ohio State players selling merchandise to the OSU compliance office and to his bosses as required by his contract?
In our opinion, because Jim Tressel rightfully assumed that an investigation of the tattoo parlor by the news media and NCAA would eventually lead to his firing and to major NCAA sanctions and thus like Richard Nixon….Jim Tressel had very good reasons, at least to Jim Tressel they must have seemed like very good reasons, to cover-up and lie because either the cover-up and lies would work and things would go forward or the cover-up and lies would not work and everything would come out (think the Sports Illustrated story and NCAA investigation) and Tressel would lose his job and major NCAA sanctions would be handed down.
Maybe then the assumption by us and many in the news media that Jim Tressel could have headed off everything if he had just reported things to the compliance office at Ohio State immediately is not true because sitting in front of that computer in April 2010 Jim Tressel must have thought that if he turned over the email about the activities of his players at the tattoo parlor that an investigation of the tattoo parlor would lead to many other things and Jim Tressel would be out of a job and OSU football would be hit hard by the NCAA.
In our opinion, Jim Tressel covered things up and lied over the past year plus because he fully knew what would have happened if he didn’t and in the end the gamble that Tressel took did not work and now Ohio State athletics is going to be hammered even harder by the NCAA than if Jim Tressel had very simply just done what he has encouraged and even demanded from his players over the years:
Tell the Truth, Be Honest, Have Integrity, Lead by Example.
Jim Tressel only has Jim Tressel to blame for this entire mess and when Ohio State athletics is hammered by the NCAA later this year it will be Jim Tressel, and if there are any others at Ohio State that helped to cover-up this mess, that will be to blame for OSU football losing scholarships and going on probation.
In our opinion, the appropriate punishment by the NCAA in this Ohio State case, keeping in mind the flogging that USC took for one player and his family getting money that the NCAA did not directly connect to USC, would be to shut down the Ohio State football program (but not the rest of OSU athletics) for 3 years which would send a clear and unequivocal message that cheating and lying by head football coaches, coaches, players, boosters and anyone else was no longer going to be tolerated by the NCAA.
The Underbelly Debacle Related to the Tressel – Ohio State – Buckeye Five Mess
Of all the things that have happened in this entire Tressel – Ohio State – Buckeye Five debacle by far the worst in our opinion was the decision by the NCAA to allow the Ohio State players to play in the Sugar Bowl last December, and what made that decision really bad was that it was lobbied for very hard by Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan…
….which exposes an even dirtier secret in college football than boosters being involved in recruiting and paying players and some of things that go on in recruiting that are beyond the pale.
Yes, the dirty secret is the power that the bowl games have over the game of college football which is nothing less than a very powerful cabal made up of people that in our opinion do not have the best interests of student-athletes, the schools, the coaches, the fans as their primary mission, but rather insuring that the bowl game succeeds even if that success comes at a cost to everyone involved in college football throughout the regular season and the rest of the year save a few days around the end of December and the first of January each year.
In the above College Football Talk story on the Buckeye Five being allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl the CEO of that game is quoted from a Columbus Dispatch story:
“In the days since a quintet of Ohio State Buckeyes were suspended for the first five games of 2011 but not this year’s bowl game, the widely-held belief was that forces greater than the NCAA led to this head-scratching decision.
It’s been assumed Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was one of those forces. Now, it’s been confirmed the bowl itself flexed its considerable muscle to ensure Terrelle Pryor & Company were available for the date with Arkansas.
And, perhaps most amazingly — or disgustingly, depending on your perspective — they’re damn proud of what they’ve accomplished and not ashamed to woof about it publicly.
Speaking to Ken Gordon of the Columbus Dispatch, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan showed no shame in stating that it was made perfectly clear to the powers that be that it was imperative the Ohio State-Arkansas game go off with both teams at full strength.
“I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the integrity of this year’s game, we would greatly appreciate it,” Hoolahan said. “That appeal did not fall on deaf ears, and I’m extremely excited about it, that the Buckeyes are coming in at full strength and with no dilution.”
Hoolahan also addressed those who felt the five should’ve started their suspensions immediately, and came out with the understatement of the year.
“I appreciate and fully understand the Midwestern values and ethics behind that. But I’m probably thinking of this from a selfish perspective.””
A “selfish perspective” Paul Hoolahan? Well, at least Paul Hoolahan was being honest about lobbying to have the Ohio State players play in “his” game, but what the above story about the Sugar Bowl details is something that some college and university presidents don’t seem to understand….namely that the bowl games interests’ are not aligned with what is best for intercollegiate athletics and the student-athletes on their college campuses and that some college and university presidents that have never worked a day of their lives in the REAL WORLD do not have the ability to see the difference between people that are snake oil salesman….the bowl games…
…and the NCAA that runs every other National Championship involving every other sport on their college campuses that does not have as its’ primary interest making large salaries and lots of money off the backs of student-athletes.
Yes, there is more to come on the bowl games and college and university presidents that want to make stupid statements and walk back out on the limb that was sawed off behind them by the very Sorry Excuses for Leaders that were running the Fiesta Bowl better be careful how far they get out on the limb….because they may just find that what the Fiesta Bowl was up to was only a very small window into what in our opinion is the very dirty and unseemly place of the current postseason in college football.
Walk out on that limb if you like college and university presidents but don’t be “surprised and shocked” when you hear the chain saws crank up behind you and the next time instead of just a few people in a bowl game losing their jobs because there were college and university presidents that were stupid enough to support something as Bogus and Un-American as the BCS the next time around may just take down the entire game of college football and do great damage to intercollegiate athletics….and that will be the direct fault of the
College and University Presidents
…because it was them that are doing business with people that we would not trust to watch our dogs forget about being responsible and looking out for the best interests of student-athletes.