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And Another Thing


The noose tightens

The last days of the Vest may well be upon us.

Don't see how this ends any other way for Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, now that the NCAA has released its report on the Terrelle Pryor Et Al scandal. Basically, it states the obvious: That Tressel got caught red-handed lying about violations he knew about months before, and exacerbated it by signing a document he knew to be untrue (i.e., that he knew of no violations by the athletes in his charge). Add the fact that, rather than alerting his athletic director to those violations, he instead leaked it to Pryor's de facto agent, and this goes way beyond five-game-suspension territory.

This is, frankly, as sleazy as anything you'll find anywhere these days in big-boy college athletics, which is saying something. And by releasing such a strongly worded rebuke, the NCAA is not only acknowledging as much, it's pretty much forcing Ohio State's hand. It has to fire the man.

If it doesn't, the consequences will in all probability be catastrophic -- not SMU-gets-the-death-penalty catastrosphic, but not all that far off. It might be even be too late now for the school to save itself from major sanctions, given how cavalierly it treated all this when it first came to light.

I can still hear OSU president Gordon Gee, at the initial news conference, making a ha-ha-that's-funny joke out of a reporter's question about firing Tressel over this. Not a smart move. The NCAA might be willing to cut the OSUs of the world some slack when there's bowl money at stake -- thus the deferred punishment that kept the affected players eligible for the Sugar Bowl -- but it takes a dim view of being shown up. And Gee cracking wise did just that by hinting that Ohio State was not regarding the situation with sufficient gravity.

Well. Joke's on OSU now. Though I doubt anyone's laughing.


Ben Smith's blog.