There’s a long-suffering Minnesota Golden Gophers fan I know who used to wear a worn-out t-shirt every time his favorite football team played Ohio State University.
“Oh how I hate Ohio State” were the words written on the t-shirt.
It’s not hard to do these days.
From their insistence to being called THE Ohio State University to the hypocrisy exhibited by football coach Jim Tressel this week the Buckeyes take the cake for arrogance.
Last December the professorial looking Tressel and athletic department officials announced that five football players were suspended for five games this fall for selling jerseys, championship rings and trophies to a tattoo parlor owner. What Tressel didn’t share with anyone at that news conference — including his own bosses — was that he had known of his players’ violations since last April. He never mentioned that little nugget of information to the school’s athletic director or compliance department until January, nine months after he learned about it.
Never mind that Tressel’s contract, according to the Associated Press, specifically requires him to immediately report any (that word is underlined in the contract) information which pertains to violations of NCAA, Big Ten or Ohio State bylaws and rules.
Tressel said he was disappointed at what had happened and that he didn’t do things as well as he possibly could have. He said didn’t want to interfere with a federal investigation and worried that sitting eligible players would raise a “whole new set of questions.”
What’s just as alarming is that Ohio State University Gordon Gee said he had not considered dismissing the successful football coach.
“No, are you kidding?” he said with a laugh. “Let me be very clear. I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”
Talk about the football tail wagging the academic dog.
Along with missing the season’s first two games against Akron and Toledo, Tressel was fined $250,000 for violating NCAA rules. That’s chump change to a man who, according to ESPN.com, earns about $3.5 million a year. And why do the players get suspended for five games (after being allowed to play in an alumi-pleasing 31-26 Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas while the man in charge of the football program only gets suspended for two inconsequential non-conference games?
Hypocrisy abounds in Columbus, Ohio and Tressel is leading the parade.
“I think that your No. 1 critic is yourself,” he said, tears welling in his eyes at Tuesday night’s conference.
To which legions of college football fans who yearn for some accountability are responding “Not while we’re around.”