Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!!!


I apologize. I look at the football off-season as an opportunity to refresh the collective juices that are required to write something on a weekly basis. I have been doing this now for the better part of 13 years and sometimes it makes you scratch your head and wonder why do it at all when you see the body of work in it’s entirety and wonder what else you could have done with your time…

But then there’s Maize and Blue days like today!

If you haven’t heard, Tressel’s goose is about to get cooked, in the media, anyway. Luckily for the Vest, he just participated in and won a BCS bowl against Arkansas and has the longest winning streak of any OSU head coach vs. Michigan, ever.

But, in the end, will that be enough? My guess is that the NCAA will act on this with a lot more vengeance than a 2 game, $250,000 fine that the OSU has handed down to ole Jimbo.

Why will it come down so hard? First – the e-mails. Give them a read. It’s highly entertaining.

So, the Vest knew and he knew DETAILS! And the BS about who do I talk to? I was protecting an investigation... and I was scared! that he spewed in the press conference?

Please…Don’t belittle our intelligence.

The Vest is supposed to be a guy that does everything right and by the book. He should have made it public to God and the world as soon as the first e-mail came across his desk. Instead, he didn’t tell anybody.

Second, and this is even more damning than not telling anyone about the initial e-mail: He lied about when he became knowledgeable about Tatoo-gate. He openly told the press when it came out that he had no prior knowledge some 9 months later. And he let the kids participate and play the entire season and the bowl game.

I’m sure the NCAA will have a field day with that.

The fact that some kids went off the page and sold some crap is really immaterial at this point. It’s the fact that The Vest knew, he wrote at the time it was wrong, and then he tried to distance himself from the entire thing will give the NCAA even more reason to question the integrity and morality of the program.

Not to mention that this kind of thing brings out the other little cover-ups including player gifts, cars, and who knows what else the never ending Booster Stream of Cash that fanatical buckeye fans have lined up and handed to players under Tressel’s watch. All you’ll need is one pissed of Booster to decide to do a tell all (think: Ed Martin) to save his own bacon in some sort of sting operation or tax scandal and you’ve got a problem that The Vest simply won’t be able to overcome.

Especially if he has a 3 or more loss season in the next year or two…with a couple of those losses to that “School up North…”

The NCAA came down hard on Lane Kiffin and Bruce Pearl at Tennessee. Pearl’s infractions (in case you aren’t familiar with them) were fairly innocent and by no means unforgiveable if he would have just admitted to it up front and taken the heat at that moment in time. But he lied about it. Then he lied about why he lied. That was Pearl. Granted, the Vest has way more cache than Pearl...But still…

And based on the fact that President Gee has come out in full support of the Vest, this will undoubtedly set up some sort of showdown between tOSU and the NCAA. To the point where the teeth of the NCAA will be tested as to what they can really do to a MAJOR Division 1 program.

If you didn’t get to see the ESPN expose on SMU and what went down in the 80’s-90’s, it was compelling stuff. But it was SMU.

This is the Ohio State University.

I’m not saying that the OSU will come right out and thumb their nose at the NCAA. But, much like USC, they’ll probably continue on with their illicit ways with whatever infraction is handed down.

At this point, I don’t really see how the entire 2010 season is not vacated. In addition, as a penalty for taking the BCS money by playing a bowl game with ineligible players, I’m sure the NCCA will impose some sort of post season ban and possibly scholarship reductions. The scholarship reductions may be multiple years. And, as that is the only weapon at the NCAA’s disposal, they should be.

It’s funny. I just re-read what I’ve written and while I never really hated Tressel, I never fully respected him, either. Not as a head coach. I always thought there was something that wasn’t quite right. I mean, I'm obviously biased and I know that... But how he was landing guys to play in that “conservative” offense? And how did he manage to do it year in and year out without any hiccups along the way? It's those little nagging questions that will all be answered shortly.

Maurice Clarett should have been the tell, and in many ways he was. We just didn’t read the hand right. But now all the Vest’s hole cards are about to be exposed and my guess is his stack isn’t big enough to pay off everyone sitting at the table. It's going to take a little time, but the Vest Death Watch has commenced.

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