The emails were released yesterday after the Buckeyes brief press conference in which there was not much resolution beyond confirming the suspension that was released prior to the presser. A two game suspension and a $250,000 fine has been handed down from the Ohio State University and right now folks are absorbing this information and doing the quick knee jerk reaction through comparison.
"Well if Dez Bryant got an entire season shouldn't Tressel be gone for a year" or the even more popular 5+ game suspension since the athletes involved in the scandal were suspended for those first five contests in the approaching 2011 season. There is some validity to that argument and given the Pete Carroll escape of 2010 people are far more conscious of making sure coaches get their comeuppance when they're complicit in the wrong doing.
Before I give my take on it all here are some quick thoughts from the Delany Dozen on the timeline of emotion from an Ohio State fan.
There a couple things that need to be made clear here in the Ohio State case and this dealing with Tressel, first and foremost the penalty handed down in the way of fining and suspending Tressel came from the school NOT THE NCAA. Stop the Dez Bryant talk for now, the NCAA hasn't even begun to turn this case over, all we have is the Yahoo! report, they haven't conducted their own investigation. What Ohio State did was take a step to show they're disciplining themselves with the hopes that the NCAA says "ok, that was enough, we won't spank you too hard."
Secondly, the immediate rush to vacate the 2010 season is a bit rushed. Not only for the reason mentioned in the paragraph above but also the fact remains that the actual transgression still remains the same. What that means is the players acts, which would lead to a the vacation of the season, haven't been altered or increased in severity. The five game suspension they've drawn is the same suspension they'd have gotten had these violations been revealed pre-season or in-season; see AJ Green and UNC for proof of some type of consistency in that form of punishment.
So those points being said what exactly are we dealing with here?
We've got Tressel with concrete knowledge of the violations way back in April of 2010, almost a full eight months prior to the NCAA really sinking their claws into the investigation and poking through the information. The NCAA's investigation turned over everything that we've read in the aforementioned emails and that means no real information was uncovered except the Jim Tressel knew bomb, and what a bomb that is.
The Vest has got all the information laid out for him; everything he needs to discipline the players currently on the roster, everything he needs to walk to his compliance people and have them look into the rumors and worst case scenario he has everything he needs to at least ask the players if the rumors were true in any way.
But he doesn't. He doesn't do anything. Does. Nothing.
Now playing a little devil's advocate here, perhaps Tressel does pass this off as rumor. I'm sure, being the head football coach with an easily searchable email account through Ohio State, that coach gets a lot of emails. Plenty of which consist of odd requests, idiotic comments and yes I'm sure a wild rumor or two. Let's just say, suspending our disbelief, that Tressel passed off this email the same way I did when I got this epic cheating scandal from a few readers.
So that's why in April he doesn't go run and tell his compliance folks, he instead brushes it off as no big deal, is polite but mostly just to placate a Buckeye supporter. Hard to buy but hey, for this discussion's sake I'll buy it.
Even if that was the case there's no reason in December, when the NCAA comes calling that Tressel doesn't step forward with the information. That is where he is the most damned, not from April to November where he, like other coaches we've seen embroiled in scandal, has the ability to use the "plausable deniability" excuse to an extent. Not just saying "I didn't know" the way other coaches have but saying "I didn't think they were true" or "I didn't take them seriously" for his case.
Rather Tressel is on the hook for December's investigation where he clearly withheld information from NCAA investigators in, at least what appears to be, an attempt to separate Ohio State from the players involved in the violations. How the NCAA handles this is going to be interesting, we're seeing a parallel situation down in Tennessee with their basketball coach having lied to NCAA investigators about violations.
We'll sit back and watch, Tressel may have sullied his good name and what fall out comes from this will be interesting to see.