In the mid-morning hustle to get word on the prospects of Swansea City's promotion playoff final, a headline caught my eye--"Tressel resigns at Ohio State".
And there you have it. As clear as can be. Just as I have said for months he would not be long for his job, but I figured it should've come sooner than now.
The story itself was a bit anti-climactic really. Caught in a crossfire of his own lies and damaging revelations, Jim Tressel jumped ship before it went down with him at the helm. The truth is, he should've been fired months ago, having egregiously and willingly breached the clause in his contract pertaining to his knowledge of massive violations of NCAA rules. Who would've thought he'd be willing to forgo an all-expenses paid weekend at a beachfront resort in Florida for a seminar on Rules Infractions (and probably a bit of golf and time by the pool for good measure)? And why wouldn't the NCAA have something like that at a Motel 6 outside of Sioux Falls S.D. anyway?
No, the good Reverend thought it better to go looking like a martyr, hounded by the evil media for merely "protecting" his players. Protecting them from what becomes the question du jour.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the only person Jim Tressel ever worried about protecting was himself. He built up a convienent wall of self-denial that made Richard Nixon look like an innocent man. He certainly came to look more and more like one of those mob bosses from his old hometown of Youngstown than he did as the man of integrity and faith he portrays himself as.
I read an interesting article on ESPN.com, which was archived from 2004, about Tressel's dealings with a guy named Sammy Maldonando, who was recruited by John Cooper and fell out of favor with Tressel for reasons unknown.
I thought the pertinent passage describing a meeting between Maldonado's parents and Tressel spoke volumes about his integrity--when confronted why Sammy wasn't playing, Tressel laid on the standard BS that "he was making too many mistakes in practice". Turns out, the boy hadn't even participated in practice for 2 weeks prior, his mother having been in attendence and videotaping all of it. Tressel went ashen and the parents were quickly bundled out of the meeting after calling Tressel a liar to his face.
It doesn't matter at all about the context of whether the shadiness is part of the business, or who else is doing what and when. At the end of the day, Tressel decided that the truth could not set him free, and now he joins the rolls of the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans out of work. And I say, it's about time.
And of course, the day was complete before the stroke of noon when Swansea won 4-2, to lift themselves into the top flight of English football for the first time in almost 30 years, and just 9 years since they almost went out of business. Happy days indeed.