Whoever said honesty is the best policy never dealt with the NCAA.

You don’t have to be a Georgia fan to appreciate the latest news on the Tatgate front

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months before the school claims it was made aware of the scheme, a two-month Yahoo! Sports investigation has found.

Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source. However, neither Ohio State nor the NCAA investigated the transactions or the players’ relationship with Rife until December 2010, when the school claims it was informed of the situation by the local United States Attorney’s office.

Ohio State director of compliance Doug Archie declined immediate comment when reached Monday by Yahoo! Sports. Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith were unavailable for comment. The NCAA declined comment.

… but it helps.

It was bad enough for us when Mark Emmert’s bunch looked inconsistent at best fashioning sanctions in the wake of Jim Delany’s lobbying to keep the five Ohio State players eligible for the Sugar Bowl.  But to find that the organization may have failed to perform proper due diligence in reaching its decision almost beggars belief.

Almost.  The process that led to A. J. Green’s four-game suspension let us know that the NCAA couldn’t find its way out of a paper bag without a TMZ article and a local guide to show the way.  The Yahoo! disclosure is just further confirmation of the NCAA’s investigative ineptitude.

But it’s not the icing on the cake.  We’ll have to wait for that shoe to drop if the NCAA is able to validate to its own satisfaction the details of this story, but it’ll be interesting to see what it does with Ohio State and Tressel if this checks out.  On one level, the bell can’t be unrung – wouldn’t it have been nice if Georgia had been allowed to postpone Green’s suspension until after the 2010 season? – but the NCAA doesn’t take kindly to programs which lie to it.

Speaking of which, they may not share wardrobes, but Tressel and Bruce Pearl have that whole hypocrisy thing down pat.

“I think we all have a little sensor within us, ‘Well, I’m not sure if I should be doing this,’” Tressel said. “And then sometimes it gets overridden by what you think your necessity is. …”

“There’s a gut-wrenching feeling when you lose a game and you know you could’ve done better,” he continued later. “And then there’s one that goes beyond when you don’t feel as if you did what you should do as people. So whatever the next step of gut-wrenching is, that’s the way you feel. And we feel a responsibility for our kids on and off the field. Obviously, it’s painful.”

Tressel also suggested that the responsibility of rules compliance ultimately falls on the coaching staff.

“I think ultimately we as coaches feel as if the buck stops here – that we’re the ones that need to make things even more crystal clear than when a compliance officer might spend time with our team or an outside speaker or whatever it happens to be,” he said. “The bottom line is that we feel as if that’s our responsibility, so obviously we don’t feel good about the fact that we fell short.”

A few random winners and losers from this:

  1. Chip Kelly. For him, any day that doesn’t have Oregon’s payments to a couple of sketchy recruiting services as its top college football scandal story is a good one.  It’s temporary, perhaps, but he’s a winner.
  2. Jim Tressel. Obviously it depends on the story being confirmed, but assuming it’s true, the man is in some deep, deep shit.
  3. Gordon Gee. He’s finding that it’s easier to be a sanctimonious bow-tie wearing fool at Vanderbilt.
  4. Mark Emmert. Don’t get me started.
  5. Oversigning opponents. Hey, live by the Big Ten as ethical poster boy, die by the Big Ten as ethical poster boy.
  6. Mike Slive. At first glance, you probably think he’s a winner, but I’m not so sure.  That smirk he had on his face upon hearing the news probably faded by the time he went to bed wondering who’s been working the Cecil Newton story.
  7. The Tatgate Five. If they’re not having second thoughts about turning pro now, they will be soon.


UPDATE: Here’s a great post that, sadly, is too true to be really funny.


Filed under Big Ten Football, The NCAA

81 responses to “Whoever said honesty is the best policy never dealt with the NCAA.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    This story is so rich. Jim Tressel, the studious ethical molder of men, concealing his knowledge. Jim Delaney, comfortably atop his academically superior conference (they’re almost as smart as the guys from UNC), beholding his top program tarred. Mark Emmert, who thought his job as NCAA preident would be fundraising, hand shaking, and free box seats everywhere, presiding over a big unraveling at so many schools. All that even before you think about A.J. Green’s comparative treatment.

    Enjoy it today SEC fans, for tomorrow Cecil will be back on the front page.

  2. joe

    Please vacate the Sugar Bolw win, let them be 0-10 vs SEC!

  3. Faulkner

    I loathe Ohio State. I hope Jim Delaney enjoys his crow.

  4. Bulldog Joe

    Uh oh. Some other program will pay the price for this.

    • Dog in Fla

      Odds are that it will be Tennessee because, unlike Bruce, Tressel never showed up on television when he had Script Ohio painted on his chest.

  5. DavetheDawg

    Leaders and Legends. Remind me again…which one does OSU fall under?

  6. Sanford222View

    Unfortunately I have that buffoon Gee’s signature on two of my diplomas. He kept following me around as I tried to become educated after high school.

    • Dog in Fla

      Recall you writing one time that Vanderbilt was one. Which is the other or are they both the same?

      “Presidencies then followed — first at West Virginia and then at the University of Colorado, Ohio State, Brown University and Vanderbilt.”

      Many thought he did a great job at Vanderbilt. Had it not been for his wife (at that time) having her reefer in the Mansion and then the divorce, maybe he would not have gone back to The Ohio State University.

      • Sanford222View

        I went to the University of Colorado for undergrad and Vanderbilt for grad school. I actually consumed alcohol with him at both universities as well.

        I wonder if the reefer was left over from their days in Boulder?

        • Dog in Fla

          So apparently he’s a Mormon who, from time to time, may stray on EtOH. I did not know they did that.

          Didn’t the wife come up with a medicinal reefer prescrip?

  7. Tenn_Dawg

    Imagine the roasting Richt and the SEC would be getting right now if it came to light that Richt knew AJ was selling “multiple” items and did not report it until after the season. As bad as the Camgate stuff is (and believe me I think some serious stuff is going on there) at least MSU notified the SEC about being propositioned. Like you said if this is proven then the NCAA and the Big Ten will have to deal with Tressel & Ohio State appropriately without the white gloves. I really don’t see how this is any different from what Bruce Pearl did because I am sure that the NCAA asked Ohio St. when they first knew of these transgressions. If not isn’t it still lying just by omisssions.

    • 69Dawg

      Heck the SEC was mad at MSU for reporting it in the first place. That cover-up was started by the SEC. If the NCAA finally (doubtfully) gets the goods on Scam they should bust the SEC office in the chops. Here’s hoping that Yahoo Sports can share their “sources” with the NCAA otherwise Tressel will be cleared for lack of evidence.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Hell, the Camgate cover-up was probably started by Slime himself. Got to protect that BCS bowl revenue.

    • SSB Charley

      C’mon now, don’t know you the reason why AJ Green is such a horrible person while these Bucknuts are such fine upstanding people is because AJ sold his jersey to an agent?

      Quite frankly, I see practically no difference in what Pearl and Tressel are accused to have done: they both lied to the NCAA regarding an investigation. We can only hope that the Bucknuts get the punishment for which they are due.

    • Coastal Dawg

      It isn’t but nothing significant happened to Pearl, or will for that matter. He lied to the NCAA and coached others to do the same. For that he had to sit out a few lousy games. Big freakin deal. He still was at every team practice during the suspension. Even if he gets slammed and fired he will have another job in 2 days.

      Compare that with Dez Bryant. How many millions of dollars did sitting out a year cost him for a similar if not less offense? How much did telling the truth cost AJ Green?

      My point is the NCAA isn’t going to touch most coaches because they are scared of labor lawyers. They don’t have that fear when it comes to players.

  8. D.N. Nation

    This can’t be right. Someone throw a flag on Orson Charles or something.

  9. MinnesotaDawg

    My view is that NOTHING significant will happen in light of this new information–not by the NCAA, not by Ohio State, not by the Big Ten. Like most implications of impropriety and/or cheating in the Big Ten, it will simply fade away with time or a later slap on the wrist. Tressel is one of the biggest phonies in college football (and that is saying something). He’s cut from the same Ohio coaching cloth as Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, where pushing (i.e., bending or breaking the rules) is part of the game. However, because he wears glasses and sweater vests apparently, he gets blessed with the “Joe Paterno untouchable ethics halo” despite the near constant stench of cheating from The Ohio State during his tenure.

    • Ohiowa

      Exactly what are cheating are you talking about? If it is such a stench of cheating, why hasn’t anyone come forward and investigate?
      The only problem that seems glaring about Tressell’s program is that it consistantly doesn’t win big game, over, and over and over.

  10. Dog in Fla

    The NCAA intends to put its ace interviewer on the project

  11. Does this mean I no longer have to feel ethically inferior because South Carolina isn’t a Big 10 school? Excellent.

    • Have a good time with Texas Dawg’s next lecture.😉

    • Can I plead no contest here?

      • Frankly, I’m half kidding, but only half. I’m ready to admit that the Big 10 has sensible oversigning standards, and have basically been saying that all along. But I also don’t appreciate the sanctimonious tone you get from some oversigning crusaders. Strict “good school, bad school” dichotomies don’t tend to hold up very long, and this story about Tressel is precisely why.

        In Mike’s defense, I haven’t gotten too much of that from him.

    • Texas_Dawg

      Ah, yes. I love this one.

      “It’s OK to exploit black teens in the South, pressure players into ill-advised transfers, lie to recruits and families, cheat the integrity of the game, punish injured players by forcing them off the team, and so on… because some Ohio State players sold their stuff.”

      What a solid argument.

      • Seriously, do you even read what others write before you write this BS? Nobody ever said that “It’s OK to exploit black teens.” You remind me of some of our “elected officials” with some of these logical fallacies. Pay attention to what others are actually saying and address the facts. It’s called having a conversation.

        The point isn’t that what’s happening at Ohio St. makes oversigning OK. Nobody ever said that, and it doesn’t make sense, anyways. The point is that those living in glass houses should be careful about the kind of tone they take when they call out their rivals.

        And yes, it’s a big deal that the Ohio St. players sold their memorabilia. Maybe it the rules should be changed, but as of right now, what happened at OSU is still against the amateurism rules that largely serve as the basis for this sport. And Tressel may have lied about what they did. One thing you can say about this case that you can’t say about oversigning is that here, the rules were knowingly broken. Not good for Ohio St.

        • Texas_Dawg

          Um, that is what oversigning is.

          And yes, your argument is that what South Carolina does is not unethical because other schools do unethical things as well.

          It’s really lame.

          Ohio State, whatever it has done rightly or wrongly, has absolutely nothing to do with South Carolina’s oversigning.

          Once again, you have shown how you attempt to downplay the issue. You do it all the time.

          • For the thousandth time, I accept that oversigning is potentially exploitative. Nobody is arguing that it’s not, even if some of us view it in a somewhat different light than you do.

            And no, my argument is not that what South Carolina has done is not unethical because Ohio St. has done unethical things. It’s that both programs have exhibited unethical behavior and that that compromises Ohio St.’s sanctimonious posturing. Remember when you told me to clean my side of the street before worrying about that of others? That’s kind of what I’m saying, only that, unlike yourself, I’m not opposed to hearing others critique what my school has done as long as they dispense with the self-righteous BS. Questions of ethics shouldn’t be about one-upping your rivals. They should be about solving problems.

            • Texas_Dawg

              What “sanctimonious posturing” by OSU are you talking about? Do you have a link to that?

    • Texas_Dawg

      Does this mean I no longer have to feel ethically inferior because South Carolina isn’t a Big 10 school? Excellent.

      Cute, but South Carolina is still an unethical joke of a school.

      • At least Jim Harrick never coached for us.

        There’s a lesson for you to learn from this situation at OSU, Texas_Dawg.

        • Texas_Dawg

          Harrick acted unethically. So he was fired. So was Damon Evans. Why? Because the university strongly disapproves of highly unethical behavior and seeks to get rid of it where it happens. Just as with any professional institution.

          We’ll see how Ohio State handles the Tressel situation.

          But what we know for sure is that Harris Pastides, Eric Hyman, Steve Spurrier, and others at South Carolina are actively engaged in morally reprehensible behavior.

          Personal corruption and institutional corruption.

          There is a huge difference.

          • That you can argue that the Harricks’ transgressions didn’t involve institutional corruption shows how corrupt your thinking is.

            Adams and Dooley knew they were taking a risk when they hired JH. They didn’t care. And that wound up biting them in the ass. Yet neither received the slightest sanction for that.

            It’s pathetic that you’ll excuse the school over that black eye.

            • Exactly my point. Harrick had a record of problems longer than anything Calipari can lay claim to.

            • Texas_Dawg

              I’m not excusing it at all.

              The point is that the Harricks WERE FIRED.

              Have the leaders of South Carolina been fired?

              • They haven’t broken any rules or laws, have they?

                I don’t think offending Bernie Machen’s delicate sensibilities is a firing offense.

                • Texas_Dawg

                  They are Greg McGarity’s “delicate sensibilities” too.

                  And those of a large majority of officials at other universities, clearly.

                  If the leaders of South Carolina were, say, all caught cheating on their wives with the school’s employees, there would be nothing illegal about that either.

                  All kinds of highly unethical behaviors that are legal.

                  • If the leaders of South Carolina were, say, all caught cheating on their wives with the school’s employees, there would be nothing illegal about that either.

                    Last time I looked, sexual harassment is against the law, so your analogy ain’t the strongest. Just ask Alabama about that.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              Senator, while I will not defend Jim harrick or his son I do wish to point out that the reaction by Mike Adams (and Dooley at Adams’ direction) was way out of line. To cancel the UGA basketball team’s remainder of the season was a cowardly act by Adams intended for one purpose only–to save his own skin. That team had innocent players on it, too. Those guys had played their hearts out all season, had achieved sufficient success to qualify for an invitation to the big dance and zap–their season ends to protect the guy who hired Harrick. Also, last time I checked the University of Georgia had a contractual (as well as a moral) obligation to the SEC to field a team in the SEC tournament. I don’t care if the entire team was dirty, you don’t just not show up for the SEC Tournament. If every player were disqualified because of cheating (which they were not) then you go get the winner of the intramural championship and send those guys to represent the school. That act by Adams is what destroyed UGA basketball, not Harrick. After what Adams did the next coach was doomed. We’re still trying to climb out of the hole Adams dug for the basketball program.

              • Everything Adams does should be viewed through the prism of what’s best for Michael Adams. The decision to screw the kids on the basketball team was reached so that Adams could show the world how serious he was about the Harricks’ academic fraud… without having to pay a personal price, of course.

                Typical behavior, in other words.

          • There’s another difference that I think you’re forgetting. Harrick and, now, potentially Tressel broke already existing rules. Spurrier didn’t.

        • In a nutshell, this is why I’m so pissed that Michael Adams never paid a price for the Harricks.

          Because that’ll be thrown in my face the rest of my life and there’s no answer for it.

          • Texas_Dawg

            The answer for it is that it was wrong. Extremely unethical, immoral behavior. I certainly haven’t said otherwise.

            Has Gamecock Man condemned the extremely unethical, immoral behavior of oversigning and demanded that his coaches be fired for engaging in it?

            • Which just goes to show how unethical the University of South Carolina is.

              It doesn’t even have rules against its employees engaging in such morally reprehensible behavior.

              Pretty pathetic.

              There’s also the facts that Mike Adams provided a side agreement of $250K to be paid to Jim Donnan without the Athletic Department knowing, spent $30K on his son’s high school graduation party out of Foundation funds, as well as a myriad of other “unethical” and “morally reprehensible “things that were exposed in the forensic audit report that was commissioned back in 2003 to investigate the expenditures of Mike Adams. Since the president of the University is the paramount figure in the University’s mission of higher education, he/she should be held to a higher moral and ethical standard than a football coach, no?

              Has Gamecock ManTD condemned the extremely unethical, immoral behavior of oversigningabusing expense accounts with the UGA Foundation and demanded that his coachesUniversity president be fired for engaging in it?

              It seems that the University of Georgia doesn’t even have rules against its employees engaging in such morally reprehensible behavior. There’s some old saying about glass houses and all, but it escapes me.

              • Texas_Dawg

                Is Adams doing that now? Or is all you have something from 8 years ago?

                • Mayor of Dawgtown

                  Uh, TD, Adams should have been fired 8 years ago. That’s the point.

                  • Texas_Dawg

                    And he wasn’t, after the matter was investigated.

                    And if Adams is as corrupt as AuditDawg likes to pretend, it says a lot about oversigning that even a person like that won’t engage in the practice.

            • I have called Spurrier out for it numerous times. However, you’re right that I haven’t called for him to be fired for it. That’s because I don’t believe that he should be fired. Restrained by stronger regulations? Yes? Publicly reprimanded? Sure. Fired? No. If you’re trying to suggest that what Spurrier and Harrick did was equal, then I think you’re wrong. As I’ve said multiple times in this thread, the first difference between the two situations is that Harrick broke the rules. Spurrier did not. And while you’re right that something isn’t moral just because it’s not against the rules, at the same time it’s (1) true that knowingly breaking a set rule is an important distinction here and (2) the reason oversigning isn’t against the rules because the administrators have yet to come to a consensus regarding how to regulate it. Regardless of how many times you use absolute, moralistic terms to decry the practice, this lack of consensus reflects the fact that this is a complex situation. Hopefully, we can trust our administrators to get together and make some sensible decisions about how best to deal with the problem. Lastly, while I’m sure you believe his apologies are just a front to mask intentionally malevolent behavior, I happen to believe Spurrier when he says that he made a mistake and that he’ll be more up front with his recruits in the future. Spurrier is a lot of things, but he does not have a history of dishonesty and cheating, and considering that he’s built a good name for himself in this regard over several decades, maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt when he says he just screwed up. If he starts doing it more often, then yeah, maybe I’ll call for him to be fired.

              Just out of curiosity, do any other Georgia fans on this board believe Spurrier should be fired for this?

              • Macallanlover

                Not I, because it is a bad rule that needs strengthening. SOS is not the first person to bend their ethics as a defense against others beating them to death and never even given a thought to it. Most people tend to sink to the lowest level of those they are competing against, it is one reason I am such a strong supporter of CMR…..he is extraordinary. I believe Spurrier truly feels badly about about what he did, he is under a lot of pressure to deliver, from himself and others. He is pretty deperate at this point to bring a title to Columbia, and will likely leave as soon as he does. I think he wants to go out on top.

                • Texas_Dawg

                  I believe Spurrier truly feels badly about about what he did

                  Why in the world would you think that?

                  Oversigning isn’t just some accident. He didn’t just pull 2 scholarships. He was 6 oversigned in addition to those 2. This was an intentional, orchestrated plan.

                  And after being busted about it Spurrier was still taking shots at Jordan Montgomery’s coach as recently as last week.

                  The only thing he feels bad about is that Travis Haney and the local SC reporters weren’t able to bury the story as they certainly would have been able to do in the past.

              • Texas_Dawg

                I wouldn’t call for just Spurrier to be fired. It is unethical behavior fully supported by the institution, from Harris Pastides on down. So firing Spurrier would just be making him a scapegoat.

                If you are calling for the school to stop oversigning, then good for you.

            • FisheriesDawg

              Yet you were strongly on the side of Jim Harrick and condemned the administration’s move to pull the team out of the tournament over a simple PE class in 2003. Why?

        • SSB Charley

          Yes, but Lou Holtz did. I’m just sayin’.

  12. Well, crap. There’s no suitable defense, except the Auburn defense.

    Wetzel and Robinson are HATERZZ conspiring and fabricating becauause its so obvious their jellous of our success!! Tressel is clean, All in for the Buckeye Family!

  13. Dog in Fla

    Am I just very confused or could this quote from yesterday apply to tOSU

    March 7, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    “Oregon sucks at cheating. They need to have an offseason trip…to learn from the best. When you are passing on money, you do it with the debit cards you buy at Wal-Mart so they can’t be traced. In addition, you use the pay-as-go cell phones so they can’t be traced. Come on Oregon, if you’re going to do it, cheat like a pro.”

  14. Cojones

    I like the fact that Yahoo Sports investigated for two months to get it right. ESPN won’t touch this story because they are mostly alums of OSU. We all should give Yahoo Sports a thumbs up for this “Gotcha” windfall.

    • Dog in Fla

      Yahoo! Sports and National Enquirer – the leading investigative reporting journalists for sports and celebrity marital misconduct.

  15. shane#1

    I am very disheartened by this story. I have defended Tressel to other Dawg fans. Sickening. The NCAA is toothless as a body to enforce any kind of rules in CFB. As was pointed out earlier, tract phones from Wallyworld allow a coach to call a recruit at any time and as often as he likes. When the minutes are used up the kid throws the phone away. Prepaid debit cards allow boosters and agents to pay a kid off and not have him post photos of himself on Facebook holding wads of cash. Holding a debit card up for the camera has little street cred. It is the honest coaches and programs that self report that bear the brunt of NCAA penalties. If you cheat and are good at it, and you put a pile of cash into CFB you will never be questioned.

    • NK_Knight

      Should be noted that Yahoo found out through the NCAA…so, do not self-report. Ohio State did (even the Tressell stuff) and Yahoo got a hold of it. Best recourse seems to be is circle the wagons, don’t self-report, and deny, deny, deny.

  16. It’s realistic – and quite likely – that the players were selling merchandise long before they were caught. The first time you get caught is rarely the first time you did something wrong.
    But when Tressel and the school knew is a different matter. If that’s true, it seems like it would have come out when this all broke back in December, it’s not like OSU is a low-profile school with no media attention.
    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  17. Smith is here

    how rich is this :

    “This isn’t the first time Tressel has faced scrutiny for NCAA infractions within the OSU football program.
    Running back Maurice Clarett was suspended for the 2003 season for accepting improper benefits.
    Quarterback Troy Smith was suspended for the 2004 Alamo Bowl and 2005 season opener after accepting money from a booster.

    Tressel was scheduled to sign copies of his book, “Life Promises for Success,” at Barnes & Noble on OSU’s campus tonight from 7-9. The store confirmed to The Lantern Tuesday afternoon that the event was postponed until Spring Quarter. ”

    I assume it was postponed so Jackie Sherrill could finish the foreword and updated pics of the “complimentarily” up-tatted Prior and crew could be added in

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Actually it was postponed to give Maurice Clarett time to arrange special permission for leave from the State Penitentiary to be able to attend. He wants an autographed copy of Tressel’s book.

  18. TimRankine

    Is Texas_Dawg actually Don Rumsfeld? Has any advocate of a cause ever been so successfully adept at malpractice? Or is Texas_Dawg just a plant for the pro-oversigning forces? A Jeff Gannon, if you will?

  19. TimRankine

    Is Texas_Dawg actually Don Rumsfeld? Has any advocate of a cause ever been so successfully adept at malpractice?

    Or is Texas_Dawg just a plant for the pro-oversigning forces? A Jeff Gannon, if you will?

    Texas_D, give me 500 words on why you are not either person, and 500 more on how you developed your superior logic.

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