When are coaches going to be held to a higher standard than their players?
They have to be. They’re the big man in charge, the head honcho. You know, the ones who have to have their hand in everything. And it doesn’t matter if they’re the head coach of San Jose State, or Ohio State, they openly accepted all the responsibility that comes with being a head coach when they signed their contract.
Head coaches are smart guys. They have to be to succeed.
I believe Jim Tressel knew exactly what he was doing when he chose not to inform his compliance director, or the NCAA, that he received a tip that a handful of his star players were receiving impermissible benefits by exchanging signed memorabilia for tattoos.
The April 16 e-mail sent from the now-identified attorney, Christopher Cicero, gave Tressel an itemized list of memorabilia that tattoo artist Eddie Rife had in his home. Tressel had the information. He just didn’t do anything with it.
I don’t agree Tressel had a “lapse in judgment” as some have stated on here, either. A lapse in judgment suggests Tressel made a quick, poorly thought out decision in the heat of a moment. In reality, Tressel had nine months, and according to Ohio State’s letter to the NCAA, three opportunities (I would contest he had four) to inform someone – anyone — that this was going on.
And he didn’t. That’s the bottom line.
His two-game suspension was a joke. If his players were to be suspended five games by the NCAA, there was no way anyone could justify Tressel only getting two. When news broke that Ohio State had lost their appeal to reduce the players’ suspensions, Tressel “requested” that Ohio State bump his punishment to five games to match.
But is it really the same thing?
Sure, Tressel won’t be on the sideline for the first four home games and a trip to Miami, but he will be able – as of today – to game plan and coach during the week. All the assistants will have to do on Saturdays is take the plan and execute.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. There are in-game adjustments, decisions, and so on that will be more difficult without Tressel’s presence, but Tressel will still largely be able to do what he gets paid to do.
The five suspended Buckeye players likely won’t be practicing with the 1st team during that sentence as backups attempt to get in as many reps as possible. Their time, both during the week and on Saturdays, is being cut short for their actions.
Tressel’s time is getting cut significantly less. Instead of working seven days a week, Tressel is really only working six.
A more fitting punishment would have been to take away Tressel’s contact with the team altogether for five weeks. Maybe more. That’ll be the NCAA’s decision.
Make no mistake; I’m not leading a lynch mob for Tressel. I actually like Tressel a lot. I’m only voicing what I think is fair, and I don’t think Tressel’s previous two-game suspension, or his current five-game suspension, is such.
I can tell you right now I don’t think Tressel should be fired. Is what he did a fireable offense? Technically, yes. It’s stated in Tressel’s contract that he can be fired with cause for failing to abide by NCAA protocol. But termination from employment is a very, for a lack of a better word, permanent decision.
Let’s just look at this for what it is: a coach lied and withheld information to his boss, and the NCAA, on multiple occasions regarding a Bylaw violation for which his players ultimately were suspended five games.
If his players were suspended five games, Tressel should get more.
Tressel, like all coaches, needs to be held to a higher standard than his players. And his current punishment just doesn’t do that.