Tressel tendered his resignation Monday, ending his 10-year tenure as head coach of the Buckeyes. Luke Fickell, the co-defensive coordinator and assistant coach who was set to coach the first five games of the season for Ohio State, will take over as the interim head coach.
“After meeting with University officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach,” Tressel said in a statement. “The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable.”
Tressel took Ohio State to new heights with a 106-22 record in 10 seasons in Columbus. He won the 2002 BCS National Championship and went to eight BCS bowl games. He took Ohio State to consecutive national championship games in 2006 and 2007, although he came up empty each time. More impressively, Tressel led Ohio State to six consecutive Big Ten titles from 2005-2010.
Tressel finally got over his nemesis from the SEC in defeating Arkansas in what turned out to be his final game.
That all might be erased now. The NCAA is still to lay down its penalties on Ohio State for the memorabilia-for-tatoos scandal that shook the entire program. That is what got Tressel into such hot water in the first place.
It still means Ohio State is going to be without Terrelle Pryor and a bunch of other critical players for the first five games of the 2011 season. It still means Tressel got caught up in a web of lies as he tried to conceal what he knew about the player’s selling memorabilia for cash and tatoos. Tressel stated he had no knowledge of the players actions. And then e-mails came out showing that he did.
The institutional control seems to be even worse former Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small telling The Lantern that everyone was doing actions similar to what the Buckeyes got in trouble for during his time in Columbus from 2006-2010. Small claimed that players got deals on cars and preferrable treatment from local businesses as players simply did not think about the NCAA rules.
Small backtracked Friday claiming he did not say everyone was selling memorabilia and that he only did it to make ends meet — showing a larger problem with the NCAA’s scholarship structure in general.
“It was either break the rule or get evicted,” Small told Outside the Lines on Friday. “That was the best thing I could do. It was the smartest plan I came up with to pay my rent.”
Unfortunately this is an all too common problem throughout the NCAA that goes unreported. while Small now contends that not every player was selling memorabilia for cash and goods, it is clear more than just Small were doing it. And Tressel knew about it and did not disclose the violations to the NCAA.
Now Tressel is leaving to save face. Ohio State will not get left completely off the hook, but distancing itself from Tressel will help when the NCAA lays down its hammer. This will not be the last we hear of this even with Tressel gone.
The Big Ten is opened up now — both competitively and behind closed doors. Some new coach and some new team is going to have to try and fill the void.
Photo via DayLife.com.