Sports Illustrated: How Tressel Lost Ohio State

Written May 30th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye
Really? That’s your title?

After much speculation and rumors, the article that possibly expedited the end of the Ohio State careers of Jim Tressel (and Terrelle Pryor?) went online at Sports Illustrated this evening.

In it, author George Dohrmann raps up a six week investigation into Ohio State football and other aspects of life in the WHAC.  As you can imagine, it’s not flattering.

Sports Illustrated is alleging that the number of student athletes who have exchanged memorabilia for tattoos is actually 28, and not the 6 that were originally named.  After interviewing former employees at two Columbus area tattoo parlors, this number also includes nine Buckeyes currently with the program- Jamaal Berry, C.J. Barnett, Bo DeLande, Dorian Bell, Zach Domicone, John Simon, Storm Klein, Etienne Sabino, and Nathan Williams

Also in the piece, SI alleges that some of the exchanges of memorabilia was for marijuana, and that players often partook while they were at the various tattoo establishments.

Additionally, the authors discuss what they believe is Coach Tressel’s willingness to “turn a blind eye” to the misdoings of his star athletes. For Buckeye fans, much of this is not new- Tressel’s QB at YSU (Ray Isaacs) received improper benefits from a booster that Jim Tressel allegedly introduced him to; Maurice Clarett received benefits and so forth during his tenure; and Troy Smith was also found to have been guilty of a booster’s funding.  Interestingly, the fact that the NCAA reviewed these items and did not sanction Coach Tressel was a mere sidenote of the article.

Dohrmann and his colleagues also made the connection that Terelle Pryor is currently being investigated for his car usage, and seemed to speculate that this might be the same type of preferential treatment/benefits that the other star athletes received.

Finally, Dohrmann documents that a former OSU assistant coach believes that Coach Tressel “rigged a raffle” as an assistant coach to ensure that elite athletes won prizes at Ohio State football camps in the 1980s.

All this is portrayed as being contrary to Coach Tressel’s public persona; that he’d do anything to win, in spite of his professed values and ethics, and the support that many former students and others have for him.

All if this will be difficult for either side to prove; for the NCAA (who likes paper trails) or for the University (hard to exonerate in the court of public opinion). In spite of speculation that this would be a “bombshell”, it does seem like speculation and circumstantial testimony from (what SI admits are) persons of questionable reliability.

Again, at a surface level, this does not seem to be damning to the level that it would force a resignation, but we may never know what happened behind the scenes at the WHAC leading to this morning’s shocking announcement.

We will have more commentary and perspective on this as the weeks continue.

UPDATE: John Simon and Storm Klein are both denying allegations, with Simon saying that he had both of his tattoos done in HS.  Scouting photos support this.


  1. EddieNo Gravatar
    May 30th, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    They got the sneeking Bastard,great!!!!


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    May 30th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    And which sneeking Bastard would that be?


  2. JNo Gravatar
    May 30th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Don’t throw stones anybody!!!! Caus ya programs next


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    May 30th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Yeah, I’d love to see how any program would survive if SI moved into their business for 6 weeks.


    WestCoastBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    May 31st, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Next stop Auburn? oh wait no, they just wanted to ruin the image of a good man. Thank you sir. For your honored service. I highly doubt Coach Tressel reads blogs but all I can ever express is Thank you. Every where. How firm thy freindship good sir.


  3. Robby DNo Gravatar
    May 30th, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Sounds a lot like the article ESPN put out last week about the IU program: a lot of speculation and accusations, but little proof to back it up.
    While what that was written does leave a black eye on the program, I’ll wait and see if the NCAA can come to any truth on these matters.
    It’s a sad day nonetheless, but we’ll fight the battle and against all odds still rise above it.


  4. JimNo Gravatar
    May 31st, 2011 at 6:48 am

    It seems to me that people who already thought Ohio State was going to burn took this piece as a terrible scar on the program and something that is going to bring us down even further.

    People who already thought the program was going to take some hits but generally be alright saw the article as a series of unsubstantiated claims meant to make the program look bad (and certainly will to fans across the country predisposed to hate Ohio State), but lacking in enough hard evidence to really do any further damage with the NCAA.

    The reality is somewhere in the middle. Will Ohio State have to vacate wins? Probably. Will Ohio State get hit with a post season ban and scholarship reductions? Maybe. But what is really “down” for Ohio State? A few 10-2 or 9-3 seasons (maybe 7-5 if things get REALLY bad, heaven forbid) without a bowl game before the new coach gets rolling, the ban is lifted, and the scholarships are returned?

    I can’t help but feel a little optimistic about the future, and even possibly excited. It’s like when players graduate, you are sorry to see them go, but are excited to see the new players coming in and showing what they’ve got.

    It was terribly sad for Tressel to go out like he did, but now it is time to turn the page. Ohio State will take their lumps for this, possibly lose some of the periphery fans (is that really such a bad thing?) and keep on rolling… hopefully with players that understand the consequences of their actions a little bit better and a compliance staff a little bit more focused on their jobs.

    Those are my pie in the sky hopes for the future, regardless of what punishments the Buckeyes may or may not receive.


    KenNo Gravatar
    May 31st, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Well said.


  5. SteveNo Gravatar
    May 31st, 2011 at 11:05 am

    For some reason I don’t believe 100% of what some guy says that is sitting in prison and a lifelong drug addict.


  6. Geri RadivichNo Gravatar
    June 1st, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    What is done is done. Very sad. We now have to move on. Go Bucks!!!!!!!!!! The best of the best.


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