March 27, 2011

Will Jim Tressel return to Ohio State?

At the College Football Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the college football coverage staff for his opinion about a topic in the sport.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Do you think Ohio State coach Jim Tressel will be on the sideline at some point this season?

Olin Buchanan's answer:
Absolutely Tressel will be coaching. He faces a five-game suspension; therefore, I'd expect him to be on the sideline on Oct. 8, when the Buckeyes travel to Nebraska. Remember, Ohio State's administration originally imposed a two-game suspension on Tressel, who volunteered to make it five games in order to serve the same suspension that five of his players did. Funny, though, Tressel didn't volunteer until after the NCAA rejected Ohio State's appeal to have the players' suspensions reduced. It's possible that the NCAA could add to Tressel's suspension, but I doubt it. Besides, if the NCAA did add to the suspension, wouldn't it just defer the further suspensions to 2012? Isn't that how the NCAA works these days?

Tom Dienhart's answer:
I think he should be suspended for the entire season and Ohio State should have to forfeit all victories and its share of the 2010 Big Ten title. This entire affair makes me wonder: What else has Tressel done that we never have heard about? Trust me: The first time someone gets caught doing something illegal is not the first time they ever did something illegal. The recent revelation that Tressel forwarded the emails to Terrelle Pryor's mentor only makes Tressel look sneakier. Why forward the emails to that person and not your bosses? It's a joke that Tressel believes his suspension should be for as long as his players. Doesn't Tressel know that he's the leader, that he's the face of the program, that he's the one who is supposed to set the standard? In the end, I don't know if the NCAA will have the findings of its investigation done before the start of this season. So, I expect to see Tressel on the sideline after five games, with his first game being a trip to Nebraska on Oct. 8.

David Fox's answer:
In light of Friday's news, I don't see how Ohio State can retain Jim Tressel and maintain any shred of good standing with the NCAA. The Columbus Dispatch reported Tressel forwarded email warnings of improprieties to Terrelle Pryor's mentor. Tressel previously said he did not forward to his bosses the emails warning him of Pryor and others selling memorabilia because the coach had concerns of confidentiality and safety. That defense sure doesn't look as credible now, does it? Will Ohio State keep a coach who kept so-called mentors in the loop on possible violations but not athletic administrators? Tressel has built more capital with his program than almost any coach in the country. If anyone can keep his job in the face of all this, it would be someone like Tressel. As we learn more details, though, I don't see how Ohio State can keep him as coach in 2011.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
I think Jim Tressel is done as Ohio State's coach. The latest revelation - that he sent info on potential NCAA violations committed by Terrelle Pryor to Pryor's mentor but not anyone above him at Ohio State - has to be it. If Tressel weren't such a successful coach, he'd already have been fired. There's no way he can stay now. He lied to his boss and he lied to the NCAA. Does A.D. Gene Smith have the gumption to fire him (we know bowtie-wearing school president Gordon Gee doesn't)? Or will this be a case of the NCAA bringing the hammer itself?

Steve Megargee's answer:
While I'm having more and more questions about Jim Tressel's long-term future at Ohio State, I'd be surprised if he sits out the entire season. I don't expect Tressel to leave on his own, and I don't believe Ohio State would fire him unless it's left with little choice. So this likely comes down to how the NCAA rules on this particular case. And I can't imagine the NCAA would act swiftly if it's planning a punishment so severe that it would cause a national championship coach to sit out an entire season or to step down for good. The NCAA may indeed decide a five-game suspension isn't strong enough, but I'm not expecting Tressel to miss any additional time this season. The bigger question may be whether Tressel is coaching Ohio State at all by 2012.




 

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