Jim Tressel : Mr. Dirty Hands Himself

November 3, 2011

Dirty Hands


A particularly intriguing lecture today regarding “dirty hands” reminded me of a certain someone, from a certain school in Ohio, being forced to resign from his position as a result of being found with dirty hands. The invincible, nerdy, well-disciplined, strong-moraled man covered in a miserably-grey sweater vest caused turmoil in Columbus this past spring. Jim Tressel did something his fan base would have thought inconceiveable: he lied to the Ohio State football program. His tenure at head coach turned out to indeed be “too-good-to-be-true.” It turned out that the image that he portrayed to the outside world was much different than the man he actually was.

Why you sad, bro?

The dilemma began when several star athletes on the Buckeye football team were penalized by the program for receiving free tattoos at a parlor in Columbus before the Rose Bowl Game in January. They were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season, but were mysteriously allowed to participate in their team’s Rose Bowl game (this should have been a instant sign that Tressel’s character was questionable.) Tressel, building his image on ethics and doing things the right way, should have banned his players from playing in the Rose Bowl game if he wanted to stay consistent with his image. Nevertheless, the media and fanbase dropped the issue for a while. However, what people didn’t realize was this was the beginning of the end for their beloved Tressel.

A short time after the Rose Bowl, the NCAA decided to further investigate OSU. They discovered that several players had been receiving improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor, and that Terrelle Pryor had sold personal memorabilia in upwards of $20,000 in value. Tressel initialy claimed that he had no prior knowledge of his players receiving improper benefits, trying to protect his own image. It was soon discovered, however, that he was notified via an email from Pryor’s agent well before the investigation began that Pryor had done something wrong and that Tressel should notify the NCAA. Tressel replied that he would inform them immediately, but he never followed through.

Why did Tressel do this? All coaches are well-aware of NCAA rules and regulations. But Tressel knew that if he notified the NCAA, his team would be without their star quarterback for a while, and their team would struggle as a result. The fans would have been disappointed if their Buckeyes started to lose, especially if this had cost them a chance to beat their nemesis: Michigan. All of these outside pressures, in Jim Tressel’s eyes, were enough for Tressel to withhold information from the NCAA. He did something wrong by not obeying NCAA protocol in hopes that both he and his team/fanbase would benefit in the longrun. His hands were dirty. He felt like he was above the law, being the head coach of a dominant football team. We all know how this story ends…

What do you guys feel about this situation? Keep in mind we are avid Wolverine fans so our views may be a bit biased, but how would you feel if our coach was put in this position? Should he stick to the rules to keep an honorable reputation at our school, or should he go to any means necessary to win for us? To what extent can one have dirty hands but still have a positive image?

Go Blue

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About chkeeler

Sophomore at University of Michigan

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One Comment on “Jim Tressel : Mr. Dirty Hands Himself”

  1. wjpetok24 Says:

    Bias aside, the actions of former OSU coach Jim Tressel are inexcusable and certainly fireable. I believe that if it wasn’t for the magnitude of his presence and position, a firing would have occurred much sooner and swiftly than it did. The cardinal rule in the NCAA is one of compliance, and Tressel broke this rule. He knew about all the infractions and refused to provide this information to the NCAA. This resulted in a 2010 trip to a BCS bowl, a trip that brought in millions of dollars for OSU and a tremendous season by their QB, Terelle Pryor.

    It is evident that Tressel acted purely based on his self-interests. While those who observed him as being a great coach for OSU, they simply don’t understand that running a college program is about making these student-athletes into well-rounded people, not allowing them to do whatever they like as long as they win on Saturdays. Tressel’s transgressions should not be diminished by the fact that he ran the program the right way the most of the time, because that is simply not true. For him to get off the hook and be allowed to coach in Professional football is disgraceful. His hands are beyond dirty, and are irreconcilable. He should be banished for life and never allowed to influence the lives of young adults again.

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