Anyone who knows me knows that today's announcement of Jim Tressel's resignation at Ohio State is a cause for celebration. That said, I would like to sidestep gloating for irony. What makes a man like Tressel wait until Memorial Day to do something he should have done a long time ago, if not at least two weeks ago? Is he suggesting subtly that he has died for the cause, a martyr to a system out of control?
That would be accurate in a sense, if a laugh.
The system he lost his job protecting is the same one Pete Carroll was smart enough to jump off of just before the torpedo hit at USC. It is a system of money and the power derived thereof- that same system that made OSU prez Gene Smith look down his nose at Boise State and Utah, et al. We are richer than you, more powerful than you. That not only makes us better, but more deserving.
This is a system founded on TV contracts, bolstered by the monstrosity that is the BCS (who is not only besmirching the teams but the bowls themselves- look at the punishment and near expulsion that they handed the Fiesta Bowl for participating in a system THEY encourage), and built around the elite of the college football world- the Texases, Alabamas, USCs and Ohio States.
I found it amusing moments ago to read in a Texas alumni site called the Burnt Orange Review where the writer excoriates Tressel for not resigning earlier, for the constant stream of lies and disavowals that led him to today's action. He also goes on to blast ESPN for constantly feeding us investigative lollipops instead of tracking down evildoers like Tressel and OSU. I wonder how he would feel if ESPN woke up from the disingenuous lethargy he describes and turned their sights on the Longhorns. For the reason I found the article amusing is that it is his own Longhorns that manipulated the PAC-10 into taking Colorado off his hands, got Nebraska to agree to a self-imposed exile from the Big-12, all in the name of coercing the powers that be into giving U of T football a network of their very own. This was all very legal, and all very much a part of that same system. I'd like to know how many "Buckeye discount" type arrangements are going on in Austin. The university slogan "What happens here changes the world" is a good ad for their institution.. It is also a symbol of the arrogance these programs operate with- an arrogance shared by Ohio State.
Did Tressel share that arrogance? Well, he did give himself a 5-game suspension over the incident. Why wait for actual authorities to rule on the case, right? Except that what he probably regarded as less-than-full disclosure the rest of the world defines as lying. So, in an attempt to secure his own opinion of his actions, perhaps, he hired two weeks ago the former chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, Gene Marsh, to be his lawyer. Any body want to bet that Gene studied the case for two weeks and said, "You're dead, Jim." (Sorry, I've been watching Star Trek all day.) And that that is why he has had a change of mind (the day he hired Marsh, CBSSports.com ran an article titled, "Jim Tressel won't be resigning"). Which would also be amusing except that CBSSports.com has been op-ed-ing itself out of relevancy for some time now.
The one bright light on the opinion horizon was ESPN college analyst and OSU alum Mark May, who I just got done watching as he said Tressel should have resigned "months ago" and that with the extent of the revelations coming out even as we speak, Gene Smith will likely be next.
Good. Smith's arrogance, unlike Tressel's, is not a matter of debate. I've a feeling that when it's all said and done, Smith will bow out to avoid criminal complicity, let alone NCAA sanctions. But when the sun comes up the next day, Ohio State, Texas, USC will still be there. The BCS, the TV sports networks will still be there. And the system will install another disciple- likely a more subtle one than Gene Smith- and the system will go on. Ohio State will still sneer at her weaker brethren, Texas will continue to manipulate things until it creates the Big 12 that earns them the maximum profit, and the NCAA under the wings of its wonderful head Miles (Yeah, I fired Bobby Knight) Brand will continue to ensure us that the education of the student-athlete is the #1 priority.