Yeah, I laughed, too. But there’s a certain sad logic in play that’s hard to dismiss completely:
Tressel was hit with a five-year, show-cause penalty for covering up rules violations, using ineligible players and lying to the NCAA. Show-cause penalties are supposed to be poison. Why would Kentucky go anywhere near him?
Tressel’s penalty is not as severe as, say, former Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl’s. Tressel is allowed to recruit. He is allowed to hire a staff. He is required to sit out five weeks of meetings, practices and games before he can coach, and he cannot coach a bowl game in his first year — but these are trifles for the likes of Kentucky.
The Wildcats are the long-standing doormat of the mighty Southeastern Conference. They are 12-23 in three years under Phillips. They are 1-9 this season. They are not going to a bowl game anytime soon.
Tressel is presumably willing to accept seven-figure paychecks. He has a resume that includes four Division I-AA titles, three appearances and one victory in the BCS national championship game, an Ohio State record of 94-22 (.810), six Big Ten titles and a 5-4 bowl record. Is there another man out there better qualified to make Kentucky respectable?
And vice versa.
Sure, it’s perverse in a way. But I bet you’d find some well-heeled backers of UK football who would sign on to it in a heartbeat.
How many tattoo parlors can there be in Lexington, anyway?