In the month or so since it was announced that Jim Tressel would hold himself to the “same standard” as his players and imposed a five-game suspension on himself, there’s been no real hard news regarding “the episode“. And, to be perfectly blunt, there’s still no real news.
However, when (Warning! Personal opinion ahead!) the greatest golfer of all-time who also happens to be a graduate of Ohio State chimes in on the situation, we’ll go ahead and make note of it. Although we get the feeling the school’s president and athletic director would prefer the Golden Bear’s voice box went into hibernation for a while.
Speaking at a fundraising luncheon for his Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus was questioned by the assembled media on what has transpired with Tressel over the past couple of months. While admitting he doesn’t “know what really happened”, Nicklaus still advanced his theory that there’s no way others within the university didn’t know about the information the coach had, that at least two of his players had likely received impermissible benefits, and sat on for months.
“I’ll promise you that Tressel wasn’t the only one who knew what happened,” Nicklaus was quoted as saying by the Columbus Dispatch. “I’m going to bet you the university, I’m going to bet you (president E. Gordon) Gee and I’m going to bet you (athletics director) Gene (Smith) and everybody else knew, and Tressel probably took the hit for it. Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong, I don’t know. …
“I can’t imagine the rest of the university didn’t know what was going on. Jim, who is a terrific guy, maybe he decided to take it on his own shoulders. I don’t know. That could well be. I’m not privy to that. I just like him a lot.”
That sound you may have just heard was Gee and/or Smith cringing mightily.
Of course, Nicklaus’ theory flies in the face of what we think we “know” to be the truth behind the case. Tressel received information via email on April 1 last year that quarterback Terrelle Pryor and wide receiver DeVier Posey had sold/bartered merchandise to the owner of a Columbus tattoo parlor. According to the school, he kept the information to himself — with the inexplicable exception of sharing the 411 with Pryor’s long-time handler — until an OSU official stumbled upon the emails this past January during an unrelated search.
At least, Gee, Smith and the entire athletic program had better hope that Nicklaus’ theory is nothing more than the result of black helicopters hovering over his head. If Nicklaus’ theory were proven correct and Smith or Gee or anyone else knew of potential violations before January and did not forward that information on to the NCAA, the fallout for the football program would be devastating. As would sanctions handed down by the NCAA on the football program.
That said, we find it very hard to believe that Gee or Smith or anyone in a position of authority knew what Tressel knew and did what The Vest did by sitting on the information.