For those looking for some semblance of a smoking gun in the Jim Tressel situation, today may be your day.
In the press conference announcing a two-game suspension that would ultimately become five for failing to disclose information that at least two of his players had likely received impermissible benefits, the Ohio State head coach laughably stood on a stinks-to-high-heaven “confidentiality defense” as an explanation for squatting on the information and failing to inform his bosses of the situation.
Tressel had received emails beginning last April from a Columbus attorney and former Buckeyes football player stating that two his current players — later learned to be quarterback Terrelle Pryor and wide receiver DeVier Posey — had been selling OSU memorabilia to the owner of a local tattoo parlor in exchange for money and/or discounts at his shop. Tressel claimed that he had not informed anyone at the university of the information he had in his hip pocket because “confidentiality” was requested by the sender. That “confidentially” defense was obliterated when the actual emails came to light and revealed “confidentiality” wasn’t requested until the second email was sent, a full two weeks after the first.
Now comes a damning report from the Columbus Dispatch which further proves just how much of a sham Tressel’s public stance really was.
According to the Dispatch, and citing multiple unnamed sources, Tressel forwarded the emails he had received last April to Jeanette, Pa., businessman Ted Sarniak. Sarniak has been Pryor’s mentor for the past several years and served as the point man in the quarterback’s recruitment.
A public-records request has been made by the Dispatch for emails that may have been exchanged between Tressel and Sarniak. The university is reviewing its records in an attempt to comply with the request.
The paper also writes that Tressel “shared the information with someone he thought could help his star quarterback even though he said he didn’t tell his bosses.”
So Tressel thought it to be more important to share information about potential NCAA violations with a person outside of the football program — at least we think he’s outside of it; the school made sure to let the paper know Sarniak is not a booster — than it would be to inform his employers that at least two of his players had likely committed NCAA violations? And he did this even as he thought there was a “confidentiality” agreement in place with the original emailer?
If it’s proven that Tressel shared the information he had about potential violations with someone outside of the program while at the very same time keeping it from the people inside of it that actually needed to know, the university should be livid at their head coach for putting them in this situation. And that’s on top of any residual livid feelings they may have for Tressel lying to them and the NCAA on at least different occasions. Livid enough, though, to do what’s contractually their right?
“Are you kidding me? I’m just hoping the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”
Yeah, silly us. What were we thinking?