If the Jim Tressel dishonesty saga were a season of “24”, this would be the first hour. Because as far as potentially sinking ships go, this Titanic just hit the iceberg. The damage has been done and the Goodship Buckeye is taking on water.
One look at the information released by the school, there is going to be a lot more to come out of this situation. The tattoo artist “really is a drug dealer” according to the email sent by the attorney/booster to Coach Tressel. In addition, the government offered him a deal with 10 years. For the accused tattoo artist, Eddie Rife, he might be able to bargain with the feds or he might offer to sell his story.
Being the entrepreneur that he was, Rife might not have gotten just merchandise from all of the players that he made deals with. Players also have access to game tickets that could be cashed in on the secondary market. Also, how are we to believe that he didn’t already sell some items that he received in bartering with players?
The university outlines three instances where Tressel had the opportunity to come clean, but failed to do so. This whole situation from the start with the player suspensions has had the vibe of “oh, bleep, we got caught”. Nobody involved, from President Gee to Athletics Director Gene Smith to Tressel and the players have shown the kind of contrition that is required and understanding of the severity of this situation. The sense is that behind closed doors they’re telling each other to “Don’t let this happen again, Ok?”
There is also the issue with Pryor being stopped for traffic violations driving different cars owned by a local car salesman and a dealer. Pryor was cleared of wrongdoing in those instances but the number of questionable situations that he has experienced makes one wonder what happens when he’s not caught in the act.
While there isn’t anything else, yet, if Tressel has made any enemies in Columbus, now would be the time to expect them to surface with more information. Also, with the revelation that they weren’t fully cooperative with the NCAA, additional sanctions could be forthcoming. So with the university already admitting guilt in this situation and the possibility of more to come, it’s not farfetched to speculate on who might replace Tressel if the situation comes to that.
Here’s the short list:
Urban Meyer: Meyers just stepped down two months ago because of health issues, but the Cincinnati alum and Ohio native might find this opportunity to be too good to pass up. He was an assistant with the Buckeyes under Earle Bruce in the mid-80’s and, of course, is a two-time national champion head coach during his six years at Florida. Even if there isn’t an immediate change, perhaps Meyer becomes the heir apparent to Tressel if the administration wants to ease him into retirement after this season.
Bob Stoops: The Oklahoma head coach is a Youngstown, Ohio native and many believe that he would be interested in returning home if the Buckeyes job was open. In addition, Stoops played in the Big Ten at Iowa and his experience at an elite football program would help him come in with an understanding of the culture and high expectations that go with the job.
Dan Mullen: In his second year at Mississippi State, Mullen’s Bulldogs gave the Michigan Wolverines their worst loss ever in a bowl game, 52-14. Mullen had coached with Meyer every year from his days as a grad assistant at Notre Dame in 1999 until taking the job at Mississippi State. Mullen is from Pennsylvania so a move north to Ohio wouldn’t be out of the question for him. Would the combination of his New Year’s Day beat down of Michigan and his Pennsylvania roots would be appealing to the Buckeyes?
Chris Petersen: The Boise State head coach has taken the Broncos to two BCS games in the past 5 seasons and if the Buckeyes don’t go after a coach at a BCS school, this would be a great hire. He’s only making $1.6M which means a buyout would be relatively cheap to a school that currently pays their coach almost $4M annually. Petersen is the only one of these candidates that doesn’t have northeast connections, so this would be a more “outside of the box” pick.
- Brian W.