Posted by Adam Jacobi
POP QUIZ: Will Jim Tressel be coaching at Ohio State next year? He's still employed by OSU, and he's not suspended for the entire year, so odds are pretty good that he'll be back in Columbus at this rate, right?
Yes, "at this rate." Unfortunately for Tressel and Ohio State, the bad news may not be over just yet. Current broadcaster and former award-winning Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman told a crowd at a fundraiser yesterday that he thinks Tressel's gone -- and his prediction took an ominous tone shortly thereafter:
“I’d be surprised if he’s coaching next year (2011). Why I say that is I think there is more stuff coming out,” the Ohio State legend said.
Spielman did not offer an opinion about what should happen, but said Ohio State and its football coach are looking at tough decisions.
“He’s a friend of mine. I respect him. I would be honored if my son were ever good enough to have him play for a guy like Jim Tressel,” Spielman said.
“That being said, Ohio State is bigger than one individual. It’s bigger than the James Cancer Hospital. It’s bigger than the band and football and basketball and the Fisher College of Business. So what has to happen, in my opinion, is that the people in charge have to take an honest look and say, ‘What is best for the university moving forward?’ Then they have to make a hard decision."
Graciously, CBSSports.com blogger Tom Fornelli has decided not to accuse Spielman of plagiarism. We kid, we kid.
Back to the point, this is the awful limbo that Ohio State finds itself in. There are still months to go until the school faces the NCAA Committee on Infractions, and if nothing else comes out, Tressel's five-game suspension just might hold as appropriate punishment for his (essentially singular) role in the coverup.
As the Ohio State car investigation shows, though, there's going to be no shortage of scrutiny of the dealings of the OSU program over those coming months, and there's also little reason for Spielman -- who's quite admirably still a Buckeye through and through -- to simply invent the idea that there's more bad news coming. Spielman works at the largest sports media company in the world and still, presumably, has plenty of contacts in and around the Ohio State athletic department and community. If he's worried about more bad news, the rest of Ohio State sure should be too.
What Spielman didn't do, however, was intimate any single detail about what new developments there may be, which means he's either sworn to off-the-record secrecy (possible) or all he's heard is nebulous and undeveloped enough that anything new might not be worth concern when all the facts come out (also possible). As the "where there's smoke there's fire" situation goes, though, Spielman's statements absolutely constitute smoke, and Ohio State should be bracing for even more bad news.