Response to Coach Tressel’s Press Conference

This is a collaborative effort between most of us MotSaG’ers. Hopefully it isn’t too disjointed.

For reference, has the press conference video. It also has a link to the Self Report document that Ohio State submitted to the NCAA. The O-Zone has the emails referred to in the press conference.

(NB: The linked document states that Coach Tressel is not allowed to coach in the spring or summer sessions. Ohio State has since clarified that this is not one of the punishments self-imposed. Tressel will be with the team through the spring and summer. He will not coach the first two games of the season.)

After watching the press conference and digesting things, here are some points we think need to be made

  • Yahoo! Sports didn’t break this case and their two month investigation was a farce and they received info from an OSU investigation through a leak. They didn’t even request the emails through the Freedom Of Information Act until after they put their story out there.
  • OSU initiated this investigation and had the NCAA involved the entire time and had their input on the case the entire time. OSU did a TWO month exhaustive investigation. NOT YAHOO.
  • SYR is happy with the outcome of this investigation and the penalties. He doesn’t believe the NCAA will add anything or they would have advised OSU of that in their dealings.
  • The attorney who emailed Tressel asked for explicit confidentiality and this was an on-going Federal Criminal Investigation. While, yes, he should have said something, it is quite conceivable for him to think he couldn’t tell anyone.
  • It should be reiterated that not only did OSU initiate the investigation and self-report and self-impose but they also did it extremely quickly and no one quit to go take a job in the NFL instead of staying to face the case head on.
  • The national and local sportswriters are really taking Tressel to task, but it is obvious that you can’t make everyone happy.
  • Tressel seemed genuine and YNBA is glad he is the coach and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
  • Tressel was visibly upset when talking about past players that had been involved in the law. That was sincere and anyone in the media to question that needs to take a deep look in the mirror.
  • The players involved in this really owe Tressel Really owe him, because regardless of what he did, this is a non-issues if the initial violations don’t occur.
  • This University (and we fans) are represented by the three men who stood up there today and represented all of us in Buckeye Nation. The world did not end and all will be fine. No long term bad side effects will come from this. Those who hate OSU will always hate OSU and this will just be fuel for their fodder.

I think it’s fair to say that this went about as well as possible from an Ohio State fan’s perspective.

Needless to say, we are with this team more than ever before. The 2011 season is going to be a crazy one.

Of course, that’s our opinion. We’d love to hear what you guys are thinking. Don’t hold back. If you disagree, let us know.


  1. Aside from the “federal drug-trafficking” angle, the two things that most surprised me were (1) Tressel’s emotional state and (2) Gene Smith’s “command” of the situation.

    I came away thinking that only the staunchest of Buckeye-haters would find fault with the way Gene Smith has apparently handled the situation. I appreciated the subtle dig he made at “other” large programs that took months or years to complete simple investigations – “not on my watch that’s not how we do it here.”

    Personally, I’m still worried that the NCAA might hand down an order vacating last year’s wins. One thing for sure – this drama is far from over.

  2. @sM – SYR and I were discussing this and he thinks since the NCAA has been involved with the investigation, they would be aware of any self-imposed punishments Ohio State would make. So they could have expressed dissent at the time if they didn’t feel like it was enough. So they may not punish further.

    And yes, Gene Smith brought the hammer down.

  3. Hey guys,

    Please help me with SYR?

  4. Jimmy CC- I am SYR lol…..

  5. sportsMonkey says

    Not sure, eK. They collaborated on the investigation, but the penalties were decided by OSU and the compliance consultant firm that Smith hired. By the time OSU got around to writing its report, the NCAA was likely already back home starting its own process.

    Also. Smith expected to have another week at least to wrap this up. The leak on Monday caused them to rush-finish the report out in one day.

    IMO, it’ll come down to whether or not the NCAA wants to give an ‘answer’ to the criticism they’ve endured over the past year.

  6. As a college football fan I think Gene Smith came out looking good from the press conference, but Tressel came out looking like a dufus. First, the whole confidentiality defense seems contrived. Why couldn’t he simply say, “I receive X number of emails everyday and finding the ones that are true and relevant is not easy, I made a mistake.” I believe that is a more convincing argument than, I thought this was confidential so I couldn’t tell anyone. Second, how is missing the Toledo and Akron games any punishment at all we are going to roll them by 50 points anyway.

    Personally I think he ends up getting a larger suspension and loses the 2010 wins including the sugar bowl for playing with players he reasonably should have known were ineligible.

  7. Els – all good points.

  8. To Jim Tressel

    Leadership is tough in any profession ( I am a COO) and we all have been in circumstances where we may have made a judgement call that was wrong.

    You are a man of God and must rely on your faith and trust to get you through this. Read Mark 4:40. Worry never solves a problem it only tortures and torments you. You have God given peace and God given power, rely on those.

    There will be many many critical people all with the ideas of what should have happened, what the NCAA should do.

    You have alwasy been honorable and most people are forgetting that OSU self reported.

    You have the support of me and my whole family, but most importantly, you have an AWESOME God! Trust Him!

  9. Cloud of Dust says

    Els – In light of the e-mails, I don’t think that Tressel could have simply said “I didn’t know if it was trustworthy.” He clearly treats it as if he thinks it is and the back-and-forth seems to solidify his belief that he is supposed to keep this quiet so as not to interfere with a federal investigation. As he said last night, he should have consulted someone at OSU more familiar with the law than he is and that was the mistake he is paying for now.

    If people would get over their hating for a second, the people who SHOULD be coming out of this worse off are Wetzel and Robinson, who passed off Ohio State’s internal investigation as their own.

  10. Dust,
    I only said in my opinion it would be a more plausible story that he didn’t believe it to be credible than the story the athletic department went with. The facts are from reading the emails, this did not come from an US DA’s office, it came from a defense lawyer who had meetings with the target of investigation, and from my limited knowledge of client confidentiality, said lawyer broke that just by emailing JT. So I don’t think the “I was protecting the confidentiality of an ongoing investigation” argument flies.
    Ohh and in the last set of emails still dated April said lawyer says that the investigation has ended, so wouldn’t that be a good indicator that you could let the compliance department know?
    I just have a bad feeling that the NCAA is going to increase the punishment as I believe and fan could coach them past Toledo and Akron.

  11. I’m sorry the last email was June 6

  12. Cloud of Dust says

    I agree with you that it would have been a more plausible story, all the more reason to believe that the story they “went with” is true. If the university wasn’t informed by the US D.A. until December, then how can their investigation have been over in June?

    I also agree that this lawyer should not have even shared this info with Tressel in the first place, but I really don’t see any clear indication that this is anything more nefarious than poor judgment on Tressel’s part.

    I would also add that one of the emails carries the subject line “RE:Names??” suggesting that Tressel may have been waiting for a full list of players involved.

  13. Dust,
    I believe that email “RE:Names??” is the one which he states “are there any more names than the ones previously discussed” or something to that extent. But my overall point is that before this JT could have handed me chocolate ice cream and told me it was vanilla and I would have taken him at his word, now not so much. I don’t think the press conference did him any favors. I think he looked like he was reading of a script (he said he had notes) and it came off contrived and not genuine. I guess I’m just disappointed and preparing for more penalties from the NCAA.

  14. Cloud of Dust says

    Fair enough. That was not my take at all, and he also explained quite clearly why he had notes (he did not, however, say whether he wrote “and so forth” on said notes).

    I can’t blame you for looking at him a little more suspiciously now. Personally, I don’t see any gaping holes in the story, but it’s mostly conjecture at this point (some of those emails have magic marker where none seems necessary).

    As far as the NCAA, I understand that they may not have had much of a hand in deciding the sanctions, but they were involved from the beginning, running their investigation concurrent with ours. I’d be surprised if it was anything more than another game and/or some extra cash.

  15. I kind of wish it had taken a little longer for this to shake out. From the first hint of a story from Yahoo to the press conference was about a day. Now if we want to discuss the larger issue – mainly that the whole system is completely jacked up – we have to start out with a 2,000 word essay explaining why what the Vest did was wrong, etc. before actually getting to the larger point.

    When one takes a step back and looks at college athletics as they stand today – especially football and basketball – it’s hard not to gape in wonder about the rampant hypocrisy floating all over the place. Let’s not forget, the issue that Pryor et. al. got into trouble for was selling memorabilia, whatever, while they were still in school. Yes, it was against the rules, and yes, it was a boneheaded decision on their part.

    But it’s hard to get too excited considering how much cash Ohio State University makes selling memorabilia, jerseys, whatever.

    Tressel sitting on this for nine months or whatever, that disappoints me, but it doesn’t surprise me. Just another thing for the haters to point to. And just as they were beginning to shut up about Clarett, this gives ESPN and everyone else an excuse to bring that garbage back up again.

    Let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture here, though. 1-The NCAA is a corrupt, flawed system badly in need of overhaul, and 2-it’s not like he paid Pryor’s dad a couple hundred grand to get him to play in Columbus.

  16. Cloud of Dust says

    So true, Bacon. Another downside of the accelerated timeline is that there is so much bad information out there that is becoming “true” by constant repetition. ESPN made me sick yesterday.

  17. Tried to post this earlier but it didn’t post. Shocked. Oh, well, I’ll try again: Hey Johnny, I’m back. Who will be your coach & qb this Fall?? I think a vest would really go well with a bowtie. You?


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