Tag:Jim Tressel
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:34 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Ohio State won't be hit with failure to monitor

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State got some good news on Friday when the NCAA announced that it had not found any new violations to charge Ohio State with, and would not be hitting the school with a "failure to monitor" charge. From the report in the Columbus Dispatch:
The NCAA has notified Ohio State University that it will not face charges of failing to appropriately monitor its football team as part of a memorabilia-sales scandal that brought down former Coach Jim Tressel.

The NCAA has not uncovered any new, unreported violations during its investigation and agrees with Ohio State that Tressel was the only university official aware of violations by his players and that he failed to report them.

"Other than (two redacted player names) and (Ted) Sarniak, there is no indication that Tressel provided or discussed the information he received ... with anyone else, particularly athletics administrators," the NCAA reported in an enforcement staff case summary.
The entire case summary can be read here. You can also read all 139 pages of the NCAA's interview with Jim Tressel here

What does this mean for Ohio State? Well, no school has ever received a postseason or television ban without being hit with the "failure to monitor" charge, and the odds of Ohio State facing such a punishment are now essentially non-existent. This also means that the blame for the entire situation will continue to lie solely at Jim Tressel's feet, and since he's already stepped down as head coach at Ohio State, the rest of the school's athletic department can sleep soundly tonight and in the future.

This news all comes after a report was released by a Columbus-area television station earlier on Friday afternoon saying that Tressel had told the NCAA he informed others at Ohio State about the transgressions of his players in December of 2010. A full month before Ohio State claims it came upon any information regarding the case.

Ohio State "categorically" denied the report, and with this latest announcement from the NCAA, it seems the NCAA felt the same way.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:09 pm
 

Ohio State 'categorically denies' report

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Well, that didn't take long.

Ohio State has already responded to Friday's local television report that Jim Tressel alerted university compliance officials to a "tip" of violations in December, a month before the school claims it was alerted in its report to the NCAA. And for an official institutional statement, it does not pull its punches; the report is "categorically denied" and characterized as "unnecessarily damaging, inaccurate and entirely misleading."

The complete statement:
The university’s filings to the NCAA; Coach Tressel’s formal, written response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations on July 8; and the NCAA’s own Case Summary received yesterday on July 21 all make clear that when Coach Tressel was interviewed by a number of people within the institution on December 9 and December 16, he did not share his knowledge about the NCAA violation.

As we have previously stated to the public and the NCAA in our filings, Coach Tressel only sought advice from the University in January 2011 -- after the university had discovered e-mails that showed that he had knowledge of the matter and in contradiction to his statements to the University the previous December. That sequence of events is summarized clearly by the NCAA in its Case Summary.

The University categorically denies anything to the contrary, and such allegations are inconsistent with the conclusions of the NCAA and the University.

Any attempt to characterize events differently would be unnecessarily damaging, inaccurate and entirely misleading.
Assuming Ohio State is right and the report is wrong -- and the transcripts of Tressel's Feb. 8 statements to the NCAA would seem to clarify the matter one way or the other -- it would certainly help the Buckeyes avoid any charges of institutional wrongdoing.

And apparently, it has. More on today's developments out of Columbus forthcoming.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Report: Tressel let OSU know of problems in Dec.

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you thought that you were done reading about Jim Tressel, tattoos, Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State, well, then you're incredibly naive. This is a story that won't be going away anytime soon.

The lastest in the ongoing saga at Ohio State involves when Jim Tressel let the school know about any possible issues involving his players and their love of getting tattoos in exchange for Ohio State memorabilia.

According to Ohio State, the school did not become aware of any problem until January while it was investigating an "unrelated legal matter." Well, according to a report from Ohio television station WBNS, that's not the case. The report says that Tressel told NCAA investigators he told Ohio State officials about a tip he received on the issue a month earlier in December.
Multiple sources told 10 Investigates' Paul Aker that Tressel claimed he verbally disclosed the tip he received about his players' involvement with tattoo shop owner Ed Rife around Dec. 16 to compliance director Doug Archie, Julie Vannatta, Ohio State's senior assistant general counsel, and perhaps others.

10 Investigates asked Vannatta about the claim. She said that she is aware Tressel made such a statement, but that it is not true.
What does this mean for Ohio State and the current NCAA investigation? Honestly, I'm not sure it means much. Obviously, if Tressel is telling the truth, then it's pretty clear that Ohio State has been lying to the NCAA, which wouldn't be good for the school, Gene Smith, Doug Archie or Julie Vannatta. Still, even if Tressel is telling the truth -- and I don't see why he'd have any reason to lie about it at this point -- the NCAA would still have to prove that Ohio State had been lying to them the entire time, and without concrete evidence -- like an email -- it's just a case of "he said, they said."

It could just be possible that Tressel is getting his dates mixed up. I mean, it's been reported he first found out about all of this in April of 2010, and when you sit on information for as long as he did, it's easy to forget whether you were hiding information for eight or nine months. I mean, it's not like Tressel would be the first person to get his dates and concept of time altered during this mess.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 11:50 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Les Miles talks about the Will Lyles situation

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As the NCAA continues to investigate Will Lyles and his ties with schools across the country -- with his relationship with Oregon garnering the most attention -- it's not just keeping its nose in the Pacific Northwest. The NCAA has also taken the time to talk with LSU and head coach Les Miles, as LSU has paid Lyles $26,000 since the 2008 season, including $6,000 in 2010. The same year that Oregon paid Lyles $25,000.

While there's no evidence to show that LSU's relationship with Lyles has been anything other than school and scout, it's not exactly the kind of attention any program wants right now, especially when most of what you hear or read about with Lyles has to do with him steering recruits to Oregon.

Les Miles spoke about the NCAA's visit to Baton Rouge on Sunday night while in New Orleans on a speaking tour.

"I think it's fundamental. I think it's necessary. We're going to comply. We're going to be very cooperative," Miles told the USA Today. "That's really all I can say."

Which, if we've learned anything about NCAA investigations around the country for the last year or so, is probably the best route to take. It's clear at this point that the best thing any school or coach can do is be honest with the NCAA. It's a lesson Jim Tressel had to learn the hard way recently at Ohio State, and could be one that Chip Kelly learns in the future depending on how the NCAA investigation at Oregon turns out. 

Posted on: July 14, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:45 pm
 

The entire 2011 season simulated on NCAA 12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

After getting my new copy of EA Sports' NCAA Football 12 on Tuesday, I took the time to simulate the entire 2012 season to see what the video game thinks is going to happen this year. In order to make things realistic, I even went through all the trouble of updating rosters to reflect what they currently look like.

That meant moving Russell Wilson from NC State to Wisconsin, removing Terrelle Pryor -- not to mention benching the suspended Buckeyes for the first five games of the season -- removing WaShaun Ealey and Caleb King from Georgia's backfield and so on and so forth.

No need to thank me, it was a labor of love.

So how did things turn out?

Well, it looks as if we'll once again have a non-BCS school finish the year undefeated -- the only school to do so -- but it's not Boise State or TCU. In fact, Boise State finally got its shot at a national title, but it couldn't come through.

Who did?

Let's find out. First we'll start with the conference champions (Records don't include conference championships or bowl games).

ACC -- North Carolina 9-3 (6-2)

Big 12 -- Texas A&M 10-2 (8-1)

Big East -- South Florida 9-3 (6-1)

Big Ten -- Wisconsin 11-1 (7-1)

C-USA -- Houston 12-0 (8-0)

MAC -- Western Michigan 10-2 (7-1)

MWC -- Boise State 12-0 (7-0)

Pac 12 -- Oregon 9-3 (7-2)

SEC -- South Carolina 11-1 (7-1)

Sun Belt -- Troy 10-2 (8-0)

WAC -- Fresno State 8-4 (7-0)

And how about those BCS bowl games? Well I'm glad you asked.

Rose Bowl -- Wisconsin 49, Oregon 46 OT

Fiesta Bowl -- Texas A&M 38, Ohio State 17

Orange Bowl -- North Carolina 28, Alabama 20

Sugar Bowl -- Houston 48, South Florida 13

BCS National Championship -- South Carolina 24, Boise State 22

Yes, that's right, the Ol' Ball Coach has added another national title to his resume. Boise State did have a chance to topple the BCS machine, but couldn't pull through. Trailing 24-16, Kellen Moore hit Kyle Efaw on a 16-yard touchdown with 3 minutes left, but the Broncos couldn't convert the two-point conversion. The Gamecocks ran out the clock and celebrated a national title. Oh, and Stephen Garcia was the game's MVP. Let that marinate in your brain for a minute or two.

As for awards, I hope Houston quarterback Case Keenum used all that time off last season to build himself a trophy case because it looks as if he's going to need one. Keenum not only won the Heisman Trophy, but the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Davey O'Brien trophies to boot. That's what happens when you lead Houston to a 14-0 record yet still finish second in both polls.

Now, if that's not enough info for you, let's take a look at some of the season storylines by conference.

ACC

-- Jimbo Fisher hits the sophomore slump. Florida State doesn't even qualify for a bowl berth after finishing the year 5-7 with a 3-5 mark within the ACC. FSU loses to Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Maryland, NC State, Boston College, Miami and Florida. And of those losses, only the loss to Florida was by less than 10 points.

-- Al Golden has Miami on the right track. Sure, the Canes only went 8-5 during the season, but they did finish 6-2 in ACC play, just missing the ACC title game thanks to a 27-17 loss to North Carolina

-- Duke goes bowling! That's right, Duke finishes the year 7-6 with a 4-4 mark in the ACC, including a two-point win over UNC. Though the Dukies do lose to Florida in the Music City Bowl. I have no idea who Steve Spurrier was rooting for while watching.

-- Boston College is the "best" team in the Atlantic Division. The Eagles finish the year 8-6 with a 5-3 mark in the conference. They even nearly beat UNC in the title game, losing 29-27.

Big 12

-- Oklahoma can't handle the pressure. The Sooners started out the year 7-0 before getting shocked by Kansas State on the road -- where else? -- 24-21. They also lost at Oklahoma State 38-24 to end the regular season and kill their hopes of a BCS berth.

-- Texas won't be terrible two years in a row. The Longhorns finish the season 11-2 with a 7-2 mark in the Big 12. Though they do lose to Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which stings a bit.

-- Where have you gone, Blaine Gabbert? Missouri needs you. The Tigers finished the season 4-8 with a 2-7 mark in the conference. Seems they're going to miss Colorado, Nebraska and the North Division.

Big East

-- The Big East is respectable. While no team in the conference finished the season with less than three losses (Pitt being the only with three), seven of the eight Big East schools won at least seven games, with Rutgers holding the only losing record.

-- Louisville can't finish. The Cardinals led the Big East most of the season before losing four of their last five games to finish 3-4 in the conference.

-- Casino or football field, Dana Holgorsen has a tough time winning anywhere this year. The Mountaineers went 2-5 in the Big East during his inaugural campaign.

Big Ten

-- Who needs Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor? Ohio State went 4-1 in its first five games of the season while so many of its playmakers sat out, and though the Buckeyes struggled in Big Ten play, they still finished the year 9-4 and got an at-large berth to the Fiesta Bowl. Oh, and they still beat Michigan.

-- Not that Michigan minded all that much, because Brady Hoke made believers out of the faithful in his first year. That Michigan loss to Ohio State? That was the Wolverines only Big Ten loss of the regular season, as they went 7-1 to win the Legends Division.

-- Wisconsin loves Russell Wilson. Wilson and the Badgers tore up the Big Ten all year long until the final week of the regular season. Then, after being 11-0 and ranked #1 for the majority of the regular season, the Badgers fell at home to Penn State 42-28. Though I guess beating Michigan 34-13 in the first Big Ten Championship Game and then Oregon in the Rose Bowl took some of the sting out of it.

-- New kid Nebraska gets picked on. The Huskers went 3-5 in Big Ten play, even losing to Minnesota. Though that wasn't as embarrassing as the 13-7 loss to Ohio -- University, not State -- in the Texas Bowl.

Pac-12

-- USC isn't on probation in virtual reality. So the Trojans were able to win the Pac-12 South division, even if they did lose to Oregon 35-14 in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship.

-- Utah enjoyed their move more than Colorado. The Utes finished the season 5-4 in conference play while Colorado went 3-6.

-- Andrew Luck should have gone pro. Stanford and Luck were off to a very nice start to the season, opening 7-0. Then Luck broke his arm, missed the rest of the year and Stanford finished 10-3.

SEC

-- The East still stinks. Sure, South Carolina wins the national title, but no other SEC East team managed to win more than four games in the conference. Meanwhile, in the West, LSU had the worst season of anyone, going 7-6 with a 3-5 mark in the SEC. Les Miles needs to eat more grass.

-- Will Muschamp did OK. Florida finished the season 9-4 with a 4-4 mark in the SEC, though Charlie Weis' offense needs some work. The Gators never scored more than 21 points against a SEC opponent not named Vanderbilt.

-- Alabama needs to fire Nick Saban, PAAAAWWWWWWWL. Oh the indignity of Alabama's 2012 season. Not only did the Tide lose the SEC title game to South Carolina, but then they went and lost to North Carolina in the Orange Bowl. Since when does Alabama play in the Orange Bowl, PAAWWWWL? NICK SABAN HAS GOT TO GO.

-- Auburn doesn't miss Cam Newton as much as you'd think. Even without their Heisman winning quarterback, the Tigers still manage to go 8-5 with a 4-4 mark in the conference. Not great, but not terrible either.

Non-BCS

-- TCU would like to get to the Big East ASAP. The Horned Frogs lose twice in 2012, and not just to Boise State. Unlike 2011, TCU wasn't able to escape San Diego State, losing 33-30 at Qualcomm Stadium.

-- Notre Dame is back! The Irish finish the year 10-3, and feature one of the most potent offenses in college football. Why they're painting Brian Kelly over Touchdown Jesus as you read this.

-- BYU finds independence to be constricting. The Cougars first season free of the shackles of conferencedom does not work out very well, as BYU finishes the year 4-8 and even loses to Utah State along the way.

-- While I already went over the disrespect Houston received, what about conference mate Southern Miss? The Golden Eagles finished the regular season 11-1 before losing to Houston in the C-USA title game, and they couldn't even sniff the Top 25.

And that's it. There's the entire 2011 season right there according to a video game. I suppose at this point there's no point in even watching any of the games. Now, if you don't mind me, I'm going to go try and wrap my head around Stephen Garcia leading South Carolina to a national championship.

Can you imagine that party?
Posted on: July 8, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:19 pm
 

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

By Jerry Hinnen and Tom Fornelli

Jerry Hinnen and Tom Fornelli of the Eye On College Football blog discuss Ohio State's decision to vacate wins from the 2010 season and the bus it has decided to drive over Jim Tressel.

Jerry Hinnen: The first question that comes to mind reading the Ohio State response to the NCAA is this, Tom: what part is most laughable? I feel like we've got so many options here. 

Tom Fornelli: Where to begin? There's a lot to mock here.

If anything, I'll just start with the entire concept of vacating wins in the first place. What does that even mean when you really get down to it? The Buckeyes no longer beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl? Well, Arkansas didn't beat Ohio State either. So did the Sugar Bowl just not happen, because I remember watching it. I mean, if you're going to vacate wins, it should just be a symbolic move to make along with other self-imposed sanctions you're making. It should not be the only punishment you're imposing on yourself.

Yeah, according to Ohio State's history books, that win over Arkansas never happened, but are they returning the money they got from the BCS for playing in the game? Nope. I mean, this is like if I were to rob a series of banks, and then one day the police caught me. Then, when they showed up at my door, I just screamed "I'm vacating the robberies! They never happened! Wipe them from the books! Oh, but I'm not giving the money back to the banks I no longer robbed."

It's a joke. 

JH: It is, and it would be a funny one if one of the nation's largest universities and most respected football program's integrity weren't at stake. But for my money, the most jaw-dropping aspect is the school's treatment of Jim Tressel.

On the one hand, the response calls Tressel's actions "embarrassing" and claims he acted alone without any other Buckeye administration member aware of his decisions. Clearly, after the coddling Tressel received from Gordon Gee and Gene Smith in previous press conferences, the school is trying to distance itself from its former coach. He's smeared the institution's good name. He's a pariah. They've forced him to resign (after the part where he'd done it voluntarily).

Or, as it turns out, they've allowed him to retire with benefits, waived a $250,000 fine they'd previously sworn to collect, and paid him an extra $50,000 on top of that. OSU hates Tressel and everything he stands for ... except for the part where they've rewarded him for his loyalty with hundreds of thousands of dollars and a retirement in the school's good graces.

If you're the NCAA, where do you begin to make sense of this? Is there any way to interpret these kinds of actions other than a desperate hope the NCAA will pay attention only to what the response is saying, rather than what the program is actually doing?

TF: As far as the treatment of Tressel is concerned, if I'm the NCAA I'm not buying a single word of it. That is, unless they want to turn a blind eye to reality. How is anybody really supposed to believe that Tressel was doing any of this on his own after the way Ohio State has treated the entire situation?

I don't think paying the guy who you're blaming for everything is the move you make unless you really want him to go along with that stance. Let's be honest, Tressel is the fall guy here and now Gene Smith and Gordon Gee are doing everything they can to save their own behinds. If you think about it, though, no matter how this went down, is Gene Smith somebody who should survive all this?

He either knew about everything and is pretending he didn't -- he's vacating his memory -- or he really knew nothing! How can you argue that you should keep your job as an athletic director of a school when something of this scope is taking place under your very nose without you having a clue?

Ohio State just really doesn't seem to get it, or they're in a deep state of denial. The NCAA isn't going to see that the school has vacated it's wins from last season and move on. There will be scholarships lost, and there will be a postseason bowl ban for a year or two. It's not fair to the players on the team or whichever coach eventually takes over for Tressel, but unfortunately for Ohio State, the NCAA knows that you can't just erase the past and fix things.

JH: We're assuming they do. Since we're discussing the NCAA's Committee on Infractions here, there's no way to know exactly what they're going to do until they do it. Precedents mean nothing and logic is frequently tossed aside like so many babies in so much bathwater.

But if the COI ever wants to be taken seriously, rubber-stamping OSU's self-imposed "punishment" and giving the Buckeyes a pat on the head just can't be an option. Without subpoena power, the only thing standing between the NCAA and utter investigative helplessness is honesty and cooperation from those involved. What it got instead from from OSU was Tressel lying through his teeth with Gee and Smith nodding genially at his side. The NCAA tried to be lenient with the Buckeyes once already--and was repaid with a sham of a Sugar Bowl and a carton's worth of egg on its face for its troubles.

And now OSU wants to pin the entire thing on the coach it enabled at every step (up to and including the pillow-laden step right out the door), expecting the NCAA to look at its meaningless dabbles in the history books and declare "OK, we're cool." Judging from the sledgehammer dropped on USC, I'll be beyond stunned if the NCAA is feeling very cool at all.

TF: Agreed. Any predictions on what the NCAA adds if anything? Personally I'm thinking around 10 scholarships and a two-year postseason ban.

JH: Sounds about right--plus a show-cause order for Tressel. His college football coaching career is over.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 12:55 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Ohio State to vacate wins from 2010

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State submitted its reply to NCAA charges Friday, and according to the Associated Press, the school is going to wipe its 2010 season from the record books. Though the school did not mention any plans to lose scholarships or impose a bowl ban.

Ohio State says it's vacating its wins from the 2010 football season, including the Buckeyes' victory over Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.

Responding to NCAA allegations over a memorabilia-for-cash scandal that cost former coach Jim Tressel his job, Ohio State says Friday it also is waiving a $250,000 fine it had imposed on Tressel and changing his resignation to a retirement. Through the school, the ex-Buckeyes coach says that he is taking responsibility for the NCAA inquiry, which developed after it was learned Tressel failed to report players receiving improper benefits.

The university also is imposing a two-year probation period on the program, which means there would be harsher penalties if any further wrongdoing is discovered..

Of course, while vacating its entire 2010 season is a good first step for Ohio State, this does not mean the school will escape the loss of scholarships or a postseason ban. After the school's date in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions next month, the NCAA could decide to institute both punishments, if not more.

And speaking of that meeting next month, word also came today that Jim Tressel will be appearing in front of the Committee on Infractions as well. My guess is that any further punishment that may come Ohio State's way could have a lot to do with whether Tressel is willing to fall on his sword as the school seems to hope he will by saying he was the only school official who was aware of any violations.

You can read more about my thoughts, along with Jerry Hinnen's, about Ohio State's decision here

Posted on: July 8, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 9:58 am
 

Report: Mike Vrabel could join OSU coaching staff

Posted by Chip Patterson

While the NFL lockout appears to be nearing the end of this extensive process, one legendary linebacker may already be considering a move into the coaching ranks. According to multiple reports, most notably from College Football Talk's John Taylor, "there's a very good chance" Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel will return to his alma mater and join Luke Fickell's staff at Ohio State.

As Josh Katzowitz from the Eye on Football pointed out, Fickell and Vrabel were roomates when they played for the Buckeyes. Vrabel technically is a free agent, and it is unknown what the market will be for the 35-year-old Pro Bowler with three Super Bowl rings. He started in all 16 games last season, and recently reminded media that he still has time left on the gridiron.

But when the lockout ends and free agency opens, it is possible that Vrabel will find his best fit back in Columbus. He has openly mentioned a plan to return to coaching eventually, and this kind of opportunity might be perfect for a passionate alum looking to aid a scarred program.
 
 
 
 
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