Guest Post- Another Look at Jim Tressel

Written June 6th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

Way back in January, way before the defecation contacted the oscillator, we offered a guest post as part of prize package for winning our bowl contest.  Tyler Kelly won the shirt of honor, and has been biding his time before he took us up on our offer.  This is the first of a two part post by him, talking about his (brief) experience as a member of the Ohio State football team.

Kelly swears he told the SID 6'2", 180...

First of all, I’d like to thank Mali and company for letting me have the opportunity to write a guest column. In the second part of this, I’ll give an overview of the coaching candidates that come to mind for the future of Ohio State football. But, I’d be remiss if I did not take a couple sentences to show support for Coach Tressel.

Having been around Coach Tressel for a little while, even though it was only a few months in the spring and summer of 2001 on the team, and going back periodically to watch Spring practices — he definitely left an impression on me. And, if even a “no-name”/unknown/insignificant/obscure  walk-on  is sticking up for Coach Tressel, and was impacted positively by Coach Tressel and his staff, even if that person was there for a short period of time, perhaps there’s another side to this story.

My journey to the Scarlet and Gray is a bit of a long story - but after high school, I went to a prep school for a little while and after that I was ready to commit to the University of Kentucky, but decided at the last-minute to go to a junior college in Pennsylvania. Anyways, after a year and a half there, I transferred to Ohio State- my whole family (parents, sisters, aunts) went to Ohio State, so it’s in my blood. After walking on in the Spring of 2001, my academic adviser at the time informed my that I had to take a summer Chemistry class to be eligible for the season. It wasn’t because my grades were bad, it was because I didn’t have enough credits for a junior year (eligibility-wise) student-athlete. I think the Big 10 rule at that time was you had to have 112 credits as a Junior, or somewhere around that number, and I had a few short. So, I went home and took the 8-week course and passed it. But, I also thought that I could somehow be a Freshman eligibility-wise, even though I was technically a Junior as a student. I thought this because the junior college I went to before  did not have a football team, but, since my “NCAA clock”  had already started, those years were counting against me, and I didn’t know that.

So, after returning back to OSU in the late summer of 2001, having missed the beginning of camp due to the 8-week Chemistry course that didn’t start until mid-late June, I was already behind. I met with members of the coaching staff and thought I could appeal to the NCAA for more eligibility, but they explained the whole “NCAA clock” thing to me, and said I could maybe redshirt for the upcoming 2001 season and return the following spring. I opted not to do that. I just felt “too little, too late” at time, and I did not want to transfer again. But later I would regret the decision not to redshirt — because, at the very least, it would have been neat to be a part of a BCS National Championship team.

At any rate, I had the honor and privilege to be around Coach Tressel in his first year at tOSU. Although it was just for a brief time, as a walk-on wide receiver for the Ohio State football team for part of 2001, it did not take long for me to appreciate that Jim Tressel is not only a great coach, but clearly an even better man. This realization was confirmed when going back to Columbus to watch the team practice years later, and seeing that the “Winner’s Manual” Coach Tressel distributed to his team, was still a major part of the program.

Living the life after the Spring Game

Coach Tressel is consistent and steadfast in his care for each and every player, from the star players to the unheralded walk-ons. If you know Coach Tressel, you know that he is a coach that promotes a family atmosphere for the team. That is why you see former and current players come to his defense, because we know that he was protecting his players by being loyal. Maybe he’s loyal to a fault, almost … but, ask any player or any recruit if they’d prefer an especially loyal coach as opposed to somebody who is a snake oil salesman and I guarantee they’d take the former.

That’s why it makes those who have known Coach Tressel very angry when they hear “journalists” in the media like Pat Forde, George Dorhmann, David Epstein and others basically call the man a phony without really knowing the man. These type of “journalists” are even more prejudice than ESPN commentator Mark May, (it’s likely the root of his Ohio State hatred is a September Saturday in 1996. OSU: 72, Pitt: 0. He’ll never get over that). But, these other “journalists” are more disturbing, because, in an attempt to support their shameful agenda, they endeavor to dishearten a loyal Buckeye Nation, while trying to convince the casual college football fans with their flawed premise that Coach Tressel is a disingenuous and devious man.

This premise they attempt to lay out could not be more bogus. It’s one thing to report the news, but to go above and beyond by reaching for anything negative to report, whether factual or baseless is disconcerting. As an example, I would point to the recent Sports Illustrated article that seem to slander Coach Tressel’s character, and infers even more players received free or discounted tattoos; comments that have drawn the ire of some of the players mentioned in the article, whose families are considering legal action against Sports Illustrated. Although Coach Tressel’s intentions may have been pure, it is fair to say he made a mistake; but to create this distortion of a good man is just flat out erroneous and deceitful. They dug under every rock for even the smallest bit of negative news about Coach Tressel and Ohio State, all the while, failing to mention the positive things Coach Tressel has helped to accomplish, like the outstanding showing by Ohio State in the most recent NCAA APR ratings. These “journalists” should be ashamed of themselves.

Unequivocally, Jim Tressel is as solid a human being as it gets, who ran one of the cleanest programs in college football … on and off the field. Many in the media are spinning him to be the villain, but he is a decent man and he did not deserve to go out like this. I know Coach Tressel made some mistakes, but I feel as if some, not all, in the media are piling on and really hurting his character, which I knew to be very good.

Given this opportunity to write an article, I had to say something in defense of Coach Tressel, because I think he’s a humble guy that isn’t the type of person to combat the naysayers publicly, but I feel that the more people hear former players — from all walks of life, stand up for Coach Tressel … the better.

Next: If not JT, then who?


  1. IanNo Gravatar
    June 6th, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Terrific article! It’s a shame stuff like THIS will never make it to ESPN…


  2. Jeremy WayneNo Gravatar
    June 6th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    It is time that the entire NCAA community and fan base accept that Jim Tressel’s actions are wrong. I disagree with many laws on the books in the state I live in, but I must abide by them until the public rises up and changes them. Tressel may be a nice guy, but he cheated the current rules. That aside, as it happens everywhere, he LIED to his superiors and investigators to cover his ass. Let’s assume that possibly Arkansas’ football program was clean. The Sugar Bowl loss is a meaningless game for other athletes, coaches, students, and fans that also care deeply for their team. If I steal, lie, or cheat at work, but have a great demeanor at home or on camera, this does not make me less complicit in wrongdoing or a better man. It is time to stop defending illegal behavior and decide that education is the primary goal of Collegiate Athletic programs. If you don’t like it, start a minor league professional football system.


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    June 6th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Good point, although I’m not sure anyone here has ever defended Jim Tressel’s actions.

    In fact, you’ll probably find that we’ve got a pretty high standard for how athletics should be a part of the educational endeavors at a University, particularly one that represents a state (in name and with tax dollars). Which is why we’re so excited that Ohio State has the highest APR for football of any team in the top 25, and is second only to an educational stalwart within the conference. Those are things that you couldn’t say during the previous coaching administration.

    I think what Ty (and others) are trying to talk about is how nuanced life is- that there’s often another side of a situation that can often get overlooked in the hyperbole a tenor of our current “24 hour media cycle; whoever screams loudest is right” culture. Terribly good people can occasionally make terrible decisions, and have to live in that. However, accountability for the mistake(s) shouldn’t be the totality of the narrative around that person’s life.

    Even if not true (and I don’t believe that all of these accounts are inaccurate), it’s an important part of any transition/grieving process.


  3. gregNo Gravatar
    June 6th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Good points by everybody. Good article.
    I think it’s fair to say though, the ESPN does not go after other programs with the same TENACITY that it does with tOSU.
    ESPN has devoted entire half-hour College Football Live shows on multiple days, just to the Ohio State scanda.
    And, its true — Coach Tressel covered up, but was what he did really as bad as other situations, (Tennessee basketball, USC football, Auburn allegations — and in the past Florida State and other schools).
    I just think that the media has selective perserverance when it comes to who they want to go after.
    For those that say that Jim Tressel cheated, lied, etc. That is fine — you can say that, but ask yourself — the larger point is: does the media cover the story fairly? Or, do they seem to go after certain coaches harder?
    If you ask me — it’s unbalanced. Where was this 24/7 ESPN TV/internet/radio for other schools. You can’t tell me they’ve been consistent.


  4. John BNo Gravatar
    December 15th, 2012 at 4:33 am

    Excellent summary from a player who knew JT firsthand, not just another media pharisee. It’s been unreal to see the casting of stones at JT for ‘not knowing’ about something when we have several SEC programs flowing with all sorts of booster-gate perk scandals that somehow never get covered. JT is a dynamite coach who has always been respectful and classy with opponents, other coaches, and even hypocrites in the media. As a former badger, I hope Wisconsin finds a coach that can bring that kind of leadership on the field and with the public. JT actually ran a very clean program (by SEC standards), and still is greatly respected by other coaches. I intrepreted the stoning of JT as a media assault on the Big Ten by elements of the press corpse that fawn on the SEC, west coast, and east coast and must have something to validate their behavior. – Go Badgers, and Go Bucks!


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