Addressing the Jim Tressel Situation

In light of the recent developments with Ohio State and Jim Tressel, we felt the need to address the Jim Tressel issue and how it relates to this site and the topic of oversigning.

First and foremost, this site is dedicated to the topic of oversigning.  We have stated that from day 1 and we have not wavered from that topic; we have overlapped into some gray areas that are indirectly connected to oversigning, but we have never entered into discussions on topics that are exclusively outside the realm of oversigning.  Period. 

There is no denying that we have been very strong supporters of Jim Tressel and how he manages the recruiting process and the roster numbers.  On many occasions we have used his numbers and video of his comments regarding the topic as an example of how the process should be handled, and even more so we have praised his efforts to avoid oversigning at all costs by awarding scholarships to deserving 5th year walk-ons.  That has not changed.  Regardless of how you feel about what transpired in the recent events surrounding the NCAA investigation, it has absolutely no bearing on the facts that pertain to how he has conducted himself in the recruiting process and with regards to oversigning. 

Simply put, Jim Tressel's track record on recruiting, roster management, and oversigning has been impeccable, no one can challenge that, and we are not going to throw the baby out with the bath water.  What Tressel did has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of oversigning and therefore nothing will change here with regards to how we feel about how he manages his roster and what he does to avoid the abuses of oversigning. 

That said, it is fully understood that the debate on oversigning is often times a debate about ethics.  It is also fully understood that to engage in a conversation about ethics in one area and yet ignore or defer comment on unethical behavior in another area can be deemed as irresponsible and misconstrued as having an agenda.  That is not the case here.  This site is about having a linear discussion about oversigning in order to have it eliminated.  We will gladly take whatever criticism comes with this narrowed approach, but at the same time we hope that our readers understand that the most effective way to address the oversigning issue is to stay on point.

This site has been instrumental in leading to reform in the area of oversigning and that work will continue until it is finished.  The reason for this site's success is the narrowed focus on a singular topic (oversigning), and while that comes with the flaw of not being able to expand into other areas, such as the Tressel situation or any number of other topics that come up on a daily basis, it is vital to the success of the site and will be maintained. 

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  1. interesting how you narrow your approach NOW, when you espoused Tressel’s integrity for so long in everything that he did. You want this site to be only about oversigning NOW, now that Tressel has been caught lying.

    Where was this when you made a post trying to embarrass a poster? had nothing to do with oversigning, you just wanted to embarrass him.

    or remember this?
    1. Honesty in recruiting.
    2. The spirit of the NCAA rules vs. The Written Bylaws.
    3. College football being “Big Business” instead of Tax-Exempt Institutions of Higher Learning.

    Tressel winning at all costs, including playing players that could and ended up being ineligible. College football being a big business, as shown by Tressel’s and OSU’s actions.

    Espousing that GA should leave the SEC.

    An article on Star Jackson transferring and you adamantly saying that no player would ever transfer from a big school, just to get playing time. which you stood by, until there was an OSU player doing the same, then your tone changed.

    Saban addresses sports agents getting to players while they are in school, giving them cash, benefits etc, nothing to do with oversigning. But your hatred of all things Saban had you do a post about it.

    Dillon Baxter told a lie about schools still trying to recruit him after USC got sanctions and you ran with it hog wild, until it came out he lied about it. I didnt notice a big post apologizing for accusing schools of over-recruiting when they never did.

    you also talked about the NCAA APR.

    so color me surprised that your sections have gone all over the map, with your constantly holding up Tressel as a saint for everything, and now that his hand is caught in the cookie jar, you want to narrow everything from here on out, only about oversigning.

    • Not to mention the fact he has taken veiled as well as direct shots at Nick Saban, who has never been suspended or found guilty of having violated NCAA rules (and no, the fact that a few football players sold textbooks is not an example of how Saban violoated anything). Of the 12 coaches that have violated Section 10.1, as Tressel did, only ONE did not either get forced to resign or was fired. Make no mistake, this is a major violation that was committed here.

      If the author wants to bury his head in the sand like an ostrich, or take the “Kevin Bacon” approach:


      then I suppose all it does is confirm what has been asserted again and again on this board, which is that this guy has a clear agenda and that he has simply chosen oversigning as his means of getting his agenda satisfied.

      There’s no mystery behind the fact that Tressel has been absolutely pilloried by writers and media players throoughout the country. He has tried to exploit this Ward Cleaver image that people like this author have tried to put out there, and now everyone knows it was a crock. So Tressel should be held up as a paragon of virtue because he has followed his conference’s set of rules? Gimme a break. We have no idea how many times he has exploited kids and quietly stretched rules for his benefit. his track record at Youngstown State has been trotted out many times both here and elsewhere. His handling of the Maurice Clarett situation was highly dubious. And now this. Tressel has priven by these actions that he is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and if the author of this website had a lick of sense, he would stop using a cheater as an example of how to behave.

      • i’m not going to go too far on this. Oversigning, where as players are run off simply because their perceived value has diminished from when they were signed is bad to me. If a player lost their chance to go to school, simply because they needed to be moved to make room for a newer, shinier player, i do have a problem with that. I do wish scholarships were 4-year guarantees, and that maybe they upped the total amount.

        So i think oversigning is a good topic to be worked on. But Josh is no saint here. He has taken every chance he can to make the south look bad, hold up Tressel as a shining example that every school’s fanbase should want as a coach. and now he has found out that all coaches play to win the game. They can sign the right amount of players, graduate everyone they sign, but if they dont win, they wont coach for very long. If his record was reversed VS. michigan, he wouldnt still be at OSU.

    • Tre said everything that needs to be said.

      I believe having this website is a good idea and that the issue it attempts to address is a problem. However, the information is simply not conveyed in an unbiased manner. The response to the Jim Tressel situation simply underscores this. There is plenty of commentary on this site regarding taking the ethical high road, but apparently that is only important when it supports an underlying motive. Finally, there are a million ways to represent statistical data, and this site does reasonably well on occassion. But, to make the following statement is just unprofessional and probably reveals some of the motivation and perhaps the real agenda behind this work.

      “When putting all of this together we really didn’t know what to expect; we knew that the SEC signed a lot of players, but we had no idea just how many and we certainly didn’t expect such a wide margin…”

  2. Everyone at once…It’s Nick Saban’s fault! Jump on the bandwagon now. Blame Saban. The evidence is clear. Let’s promote this sites agenda. Nick Saban (fill in the blank).

  3. exactly what I would expect from this site. dog the integrity of the other conferences and then lightly throw flame at Tressel for his “ethics” which you have been more than happy to hammer other coaches for. i expect nothing less from most of you at this point, it’s kinda pathetic.

    oh yeah, star jackson just transferred from Georgia State…gonna post something about that? yeah, didn’t think so.

    the love affair you guys have with Bama and Nick Saban is called envy…

  4. Simply put, Jim Tressel’s track record on recruiting, roster management, and oversigning has been impeccable, no one can challenge that

    So you’re perfectly fine with the Sam Longo scenario? Still no question as to the transfer of a 3rd string OL just before the signing deadline so OSU could bring in more recruits? No, I’m sure Tressel would never do anything unethical like that in recruiting. I mean, look at his track record – right?

  5. Others have brought to light the change in the schedule for Big 10 schools that you don’t appear to take into consideration when discussing oversigning. Yes, the Big 10 cannot oversign with some exceptions. All that does is move the exodus of players to an earlier date so the scholarships are not included in the count given to the conference. If you really want to compare apples to apples you must assemble data on Big 10 announcement of athletes that are transferring or going on medical from the point of the season starting to signing day. You can then compare those numbers with the conference that don’t have the oversigning restrictions the B1G has.

    • For the millionth time, if guys were being forced out early they would have to be replaced and the overall number of players signed would rise. The Big Ten has the fewest number of players signed of all bcs conferences. Furthermore, I’d there was abuse upstream I would be detected by the transparency. If you’re hoping to find that there is abuse in the numbers further upstream it is doubtful that you find it.

      • The Big Ten has the fewest number of players signed of all bcs conferences

        So it is ok to oversign or force kids off the team as long as you aren’t doing it as much as the others?

        I’d there was abuse upstream I would be detected by the transparency

        Yes, OSU and JT would never conceal any information that would show their program in an unsavory light would they? From what I take from your descriptions so far, the whole transparency thing is like self-reporting right? How can we trust Tressel to do this honestly?

        If you’re hoping to find that there is abuse in the numbers further upstream it is doubtful that you find it

        Sam Longo.

    • I’m not trying to argue that the B1G is as bad at the process as the SEC. I just believe there needs to be a better comparison of apples to apples. B1G apples fall from the tree earlier than the SEC. Maybe it’s the climate.

      • Joshua mentioned the word “retention” earlier, which is why I started looking at Iowa. 34 of 117 over the last 5 classes have left the program, and prior classes indicate that number accelerates the further they move through their five years of eligibility. That’s 29% and counting – almost 1 in 3 already. Honestly, that seems “in the ballpark” for the six programs (3 per conference) that I have scanned.

        Iowa red-shirts 9 out of 10 players according to their fan blog. Some programs red-shirt considerably fewer, which could make for HUGE disparities over time. Alabama’s currently has signed 138 over the last 5 classes – 21 more than Iowa (4 per year). Yes, that total represents a signing class. It could also be 5 less players per year red-shirted, plus a few more players departing early for the pros. I don’t know.

        Joshua, have you ever run the numbers by a professional statistician? I am sure your Big 10 readers could provide dozens of volunteers. We talk about outliers here – are these truly outliers, a couple of standards deviations from the mean? How do the actual retention numbers really compare? I’m genuinely curious.

        • This line of analysis is very interesting. I have never really been comfortable with Josh’s discussion of players signed. There are a lot of exterior factor that he doesn’t get into (players that don’t qualify, JuCo players that only play 2 years, JuCo transfers that count twice in his numbers, etc). The crux of the matter is players getting “cut” or forced off the team (in his eyes). Your question of retention percentage is much more telling of this I believe. I’m interested to read your findings if you care to publish.

        • Funny you should mention that…currently working on a partnership that allow us to gain access to PhD level talent to help us research and report on this topic and a host of others on sites similar to this on other topics, such as academic fraud and truth in recruiting. Very excited about what we are going to be able to do in the future and how we will be able to help protect these young, vulnerable student-athletes. Not going to share any details but we have some great stuff in the works. Thanks for reading!

  6. I think the thing I take from this is that Tressel is in fact not an ethical man. He has shown he will bend the rules wherever he can, flatout lie, and find any loophole he can get at. To me that signals that if he could oversign, he would, because oversigning is a loophole. The Big Ten rules just flat out do not allow him to do so. So praise the Big Ten rule all you want, but as far as Tressel, he’d do it if he could.

    So the only coaches that we can be sure are actually “ethical” on this issue are the coaches(Coach Richt) in conferences that allow oversigning, and yet they do not do so.

  7. Tressel was wrong. There is no debate. There is more yet to uncover that will further “incriminate him” or diminish the depth of the cut we Buckeye fans felt. He is not a saint although he has shown a pretty good track record. There has only been one perfect man in the history of the world and it isn’t Tressel. If you want to put him on the list of things you would like to see changed about college football so be it but it has no reflection over how he has handled Oversigning. We all have our convictions and hold different values in different views. What Tressel did is undebatably wrong. He more or less ignored something until concrete evidence was provided. He hurt himself and potentialy the University by doing so. He did not lie or promise something to a recruit and then take it away from him. Both situations involve bad ethics, and I am mistake prone and no one to judge, but one as it stands now is self damaging and the other victimizes. It is not an equal comparison. You won’t hear me defending Tressel’s mistake though.

    • that we know of. Now that we have seen this, the rumors about players getting benefits when he was at Youngstown, and Clarett, Troy Smith and now Pryor and the other 4. Who knows what he promised to a kid.

      • Yes. Now that there is a chink in the armor, we shouldn’t be surprised to see some walls come tumbling down. Dean Smith was a very homey, conservative, telegenic guy–like Tressel– who was adored by UNC fans, and he was a great man. But behind closed doors he was also known to be a hard ass who did not suffer fools gladly. Additionally, he was a coach at a time when there was very little internet usage and not nearly the level of media scrutiny there is today. Moral of ths story–if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

        • Dean graduated every player but one over 40 years. I won’t say I’m in the inner circle, but I’m a couple of rings out — and the people who know him love him.

          He was routinely criticized for not “over-recruiting” his players. He stuck by King Rice despite legions of fans howling for a new PG. He wasn’t perfect, but he’s as close as you’ll find relative to a guy who genuinely believed his job was to teach kids first and win second.

          And no, he did not suffer people messing with his program. At all.

          • My only point is that the idea that it’s not a great idea to assume that the image a man propagates is exactly what it seems on the surface. Tressel, who has now been proven to be a deceitful liar, is probably still a great man, just simply not the pure guy that he or his apologists would have you believe.

            • You mean Media Image doesn’t equal Real Person?!

              Who knew?

              • I know. Amazing, isn’t it? But look at how many Buckeye fans hit the forums hard with the “I’d still want my boy to play for JT” posts. It wouldn’t matter to the great preponderance of these people what Tressel has done, they still only see the image of the man, and not the real man.

                What I especially like is how so many of the staunch anti-oversigners like to say that people that disagree with them are living in a fantasy world. Hopefully those same people have a mirror handy.

                • Listen – you guys see someone getting in trouble, you say they must be bad. What you don’t get is the NCAA loves Ohio State and the way they do things.

                  The only thing that could incriminate anyone here is the emails between Tressel and the lawyer (a former OSU player.) Which one is going to give those away to the NCAA?

                  At most schools – neither. This just all quietly goes away.
                  Do you really think that the criminals in Auburn who just got arrested for burglarizing, the kids from pennstate who ganged up and pommeled someone, or the criminal from florida who threatened to kill his girlfriend are above the moral injustice that is selling a ring they personally own? That would just be diluted. Selling of stuff/ signing of stuff for some food, or etc happens everwhere. Coaches go into the same restaurants with signatures on the wall. You do too. Everybody knows.

                  In OSU’s case here – they self discovered (in January), self investigated, self reported (in February), then self punished etc.

                  Yahoo Sports broke the story (in march) because they have a leak source within the NCAA – who again only knew because the University told them about it.

                  It’s like, I have two kids, both of them sometimes do bad things like kids do. One of them is cannot tell a lie, and the guilt eats at them – they fess up. The other… well…

                  Just because someone gets caught more often (because they are honest) doesn’t make them my bad kid.

                  OSU has the largest compliance department in the country. They are forthcoming, transparent, and thorough. I know you won’t hear about it because ESPN doesn’t like to report it now that they are in bed with the SEC, but OSU has been commended in the past for being a model to which others should strive.

                  USC by comparison got hammered because they had a staff of 1 single person in their compliance department. They were not forthcoming, they were defensive, they acted arrogant and above the rules, made no effort to dissuade agents from hanging around and they attempted to refute every claim the NCAA made. All this speaks to USC’s lack of effort to fully comply.

                  The NCAA hammered USC. The NCAA will not hammer OSU. They will receive their penalty because they committed the crime. But the NCAA would not have known anything had OSU not told them. And like it or not, on some level, that is worth rewarding with a measure of leniency. (the NCAA does want to encourage similar behavior not discourage it altogether.)

                  The penalty currently applied, may or may expand or contract. But I regret to inform you that if you are hoping for a big “lack of institutional control” hammer on OSU. Its not going to happen – save your venom. It just like childs play – oversimplifying larger politics and efforts in action. OSU and USC are far from similar.

                  That said – Yahoo sports say there are a couple more things brewing in the NCAA office. One will break in 6-8 weeks and one likely in August. They said, if the OSU story is an 8 of 10 as a story, the one in august is easily a 10 or better.

                  Hope that 10+ isn’t about your school, or your recent national championship, or…. for that matter was simply self reported. Cuz if it wasn’t……..


                  • Yes, OSU discovered and reported in Jan and Feb of this year. What the kids did was not that big of a deal (though much worse than checking out too many books – something Bama self-reported and had players suspended immediately for). The problem was that Tressel knew months before and didn’t report it. That is a major violation, whether you want to believe it or not. It may or may not reach lack of institutional control, and OSU’s good record will most likely garner them leniency, but this is a major violation and the COI will not likely be impressed with OSU’s self-imposed punishment. For starters, say good-bye to every win from last year, including that Sugar bowl win over an SEC team. Look at Tennessee’s punishment to be handed down well before yours as a guide. Pearl lied (but confessed soon after without a yahoo investigative story prodding) to the NCAA and the SEC suspended him for half the SEC conference games. I imagine that may be a start as well.

                    • With Pearl gone, there is only one coach who has committed a 10.1 violation that hasn’t been fired for it.

                      Would surprise me to see OSU set that precedent.

    • Are you guys looking for someone to say that Jim Tressel is perfect? No one is and that was the basis of my comment. Point A about oversigning is it gives a competitive advantage. Point B and probably the more important point depending on how you align yourself in the argument is that it is potentialy harming college kids that are not getting full disclosure. The way you guys are circling the wagons and taking shots at any visible target is pretty desperate. Anyone, from our police officers to supreme court justices are so heavily scrutinized that people attempt to use one of their mistakes and exhonerate everything that they have done theirself. If I were a police officer and got caught speeding does that mean that I shouldn’t be allowed to arrest the next crack dealer I find and put him in jail? The point is pretty obvious. Jim Tressel is not Jesus. He screwed up and will be punished. I just hope that he doesn’t bring others down with him the way that the Tat5 has done. The one thing that he hasn’t done is abused oversigning. Would he if he could? I don’t know. I can only take him at his word. A lot of you question his word because he got caught up ina lie/failure to disclose. Well if you judge him in this way then discount everything that anybody ever tells you. everyone has lied in their life. That makes the the entire world a liar. What it comes down to is that the BigTen model appears to work better than any other. If you think otherwise or think that oversigning isn’t an issue, take a look at the polls. You are in the minority.

  8. hahaha, freaking excuses. glad the SEC whoops his ass year in and year out.

  9. oh yeah, for the Georgia pukes on this site, ROLL TIDE….

  10. Perhaps someone can help me with this issue. A week or so ago, I was told about a television programs that pretended to expose the “scandal” that many colleges signed players to football scholarships who had felony convictions. And that Big Ten members signed more of these miscreants to scholarships than the members of any other conference in the country.
    Is this true?

  11. Josh, enjoy your excellent effort on this site as it provides an avenue for people to understand the shady undercurrent in CFB known as oversigning. But, even as a fan of this site, I found your defense to not commenting at greater length regarding Tressel’s major NCAA infraction a little empty and self-serving.

    I think you have severely hamstrung your narrative here by not extrapolating on Tressel’s disregard of ethical standards. Disregard of ethical standards in CFB is what this site is all about, and more so, about our general sense of right and wrong in the world. And you’ve explored and identified this issue in CFB oversigning as well as anyone. But, the reason why I spend time reading this blog is because there has never been a obvious bias here. By now narrowing your posts to only the ethics of oversigning, you’ve narrowed your ability to communicate about ethics as a goal. People who relate positively to the ethical issues raised by oversigning.com probably wont indict the author of dontcheatonyourspouse.com if she comments negatively about those who like kicking puppies.

    I’m fairly certain your a BIG-10 fan, as much as we’re all fans of our own conferences’ perception to others, but, we are actually fans of our favorite team, as I am.

    Alabama comments on Cam Newton, UCLA comments on Reggie Bush, Oklahoma comments Dez Bryant and so on…you get the point. Conference affiliation defense ends when its your rival who has stepped over the line.

    By choosing not to comment on Tressel, you have also narrowed the perception of who and which team you support… again, at the very least that’s the perception. Telling it like it is, is what has built your credibility here. And even though you addressed in your post above that there are indeed ethical connections, stating…

    “that to engage in a conversation about ethics in one area and yet ignore or defer comment on unethical behavior in another area can be deemed as irresponsible and misconstrued as having an agenda”

    when you have occasionally discussed ethics outside of oversigning, and at the same time offering as the only defense…

    ” That is not the case here. This site is about having a linear discussion about oversigning in order to have it eliminated. We will gladly take whatever criticism comes with this narrowed approach, but at the same time we hope that our readers understand that the most effective way to address the oversigning issue is to stay on point.”

    while also stating that you have now narrowed the approach to stay on point (when its uncomfortable?), rings hollow to those who want equity across the board, be it politics, business, or CFB blogs. Don’t stop the crusade against oversigning, its an important problem that needs to be addressed and enforced across the board. And I hope you wont compromise your credibility by remaining silent on Tressel…the point being that ethics can never be compartmentalized, its an all-in concept.

    Still a fan of the blog, emai me if needed.

  12. Saban kicks players off the team who break rules instead of lying to the NCAA for them. What a jerk.

  13. Yeah, Saban kicks them off if he needs their scholarship, and only then.

  14. I’ve really lost a lot of respect for Tressel due to the way he’s handled this situation…and I’m not even talking about the NCAA infraction. I’m talking about his public comments on the matter. In the initial press conference, he admitted guilt but was quick to try to explain it away with talk about confidentiality and concern over his players being involved in a federal investigation. The AD even joined in saying that he’s sure that Tressel’s decision came from the heart. I think people were offended by the way Ohio State tried to spin the situation.

    And we got another example last night. It’s pretty clear that the increase in suspension to 5 games is due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the public and media felt like a 2 game suspension – against Akron and Toledo – was a joke. But Tressel tried to spin it by claiming that he unselfishly wanted to handle the adversity together with his players. Sometimes it’s better to drop the spin and just be honest: “After further consideration, I’ve decided that a 2 game suspension is inadequate and have requested that the suspension be extended to 5 games. I believe that this suspension is much more appropriate for the very serious offense that I committed.”

  15. I can see all the comparisons with Tressel to Saban to Lane , and the OSU players to Newton ,and recruits who stole equipment and took money from boosters.

    It’s just terrible and such a complete unfair advantage in CFB for these kids to get tattoos for selling their own stuff. It really hurts college football!!!
    Even worse is not taking an email seriously from a whacked -out lawyer who was previously disbarred!
    That coach should be fired and all those players should be thrown in jail for selling their own stuff!! CFB will never be the same!!!

    • Tressel’s problems do not arise from the extra benefits, but from not being forthcoming to his enforcement staff or to the NCAA (lying to them by signing a form saying he had no further information). The comparison is not to Saban or Lane – no, a better comparison is to Bruce Pearl, who lied to the NCAA during their investigation but later confessed of his own conscience – not needing a Yahoo reporter to bring it out. Bruce Pearl was also fired today. Just another example of the SEC putting wins above ethics I guess.

  16. I really wish people would lay off the Tressel thing for a bit.

    Was Josh perhaps guilty in the past (pre-Tat5 admission) of taking his praise of Tressel for his position on oversigning a step or two too far in order to make a more broad statement on ethics in college football, with Tressel as the standard for proper conduct? Sure, you can make that case ( as many have, over and over again).

    But since the Tressel admission, Josh has made it clear what his stance will be: he’ll continue to praise Tressel for his conduct in regards to oversigning but leave it at that. So why can’t everybody accept that and move on from there? Josh was hardly the only person to deify Tressel as a paragon of virtue prior to this scandal. Are we not all entitled to a mulligan on this one?

    I mean, sure, if you catch Josh trying to praise Tressel for his ethical conduct beyond oversigning in the future, then hammer him for it. By all means. But until then, give him a chance to treat the issue the way he said he would. It seemed reasonable to me.

    • Fair enough, but where is this virtuous stance on the Sam Longo (non)story? The kid announces his transfer (to at that time an unknown school) just before signing day when OSU was oversigned. Tressel not only oversigned this class but had to clear room on the roster to lessen the impact. Not even a peep from Josh on this behavior which you know would be immediate front page material were it to happen at Alabama.

  17. Tressel may be a lying weasel, but at least he doesn’t oversign!

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