Jim Tressel: The Professional Liar

By Will Burge

The reputation of a coach and an entire university took a major hit on Tuesday. The news started slowly on Monday night with a lone report by Yahoo sports’ NCAA infraction hound dogs Dan Wetzel and Charles Robinson.

Around 4pm a few more leaks were exposed as TV 10 in Columbus and the Columbus Dispatch reported that Jim Tressel would not step down or be fired as the head coach of Ohio State, but that he had violated NCAA rules and was facing a penalty.

Finally, minutes before a scheduled press conference at 7pm, the dam broke and the Buckeye flatlands were flooded with embarrassment and shame. Coach Jim Tressel, the beloved and squeaky clean leader of a perennial national title contender, would be suspended for two games next season and fined $250,000 for withholding information from the NCAA in an investigation.

Essentially he lied.

Buckeye fans and critics can try and deflect blame anyway they would like. Some were calling Terrelle Pryor a “scumbag” on the air while others said the “temptation of winning a national championship” drove Tressel to bend his morals.

Either way, he lied.

It is important to note that even though the Ohio State football program is a Billion dollar business; its employees are all of amateur status. Players are not paid to play football. Jim Tressel, however, is paid to lead young men to victories and mold their young minds.

As the highest profile employee who is paid, he has to be held to a higher standard. As a coach who has presented himself as everything that is right in college football, he has to be held to a higher standard. As a coach who authors the “Winner’s Manuel” each year, he has to be held to a higher standard.

By using the excuse that he was committed to the “confidentiality” of an email he received almost eight months prior to these infractions being reported, Tressel dodged question after question in his press conference. I thought if there was one coach in America who would suck it up and say he was 100% wrong, it would be Tressel. Unfortunately, he did not.

Jim Tressel lied. He lied to the NCAA and lied to the parents of the athletes. He promised them that he would keep their children out of trouble and set a positive example as they became adults. He lied.

The great thing about life, however, is that there is almost always a chance at redemption. Just because he lied in this one instance, does not mean that he is bad person. In fact, I think that most people who have dealt with him personally with will express the exact opposite sentiment.

He has done plenty of charity and good will that many people will choose not remember. Instead, they will now remember the lie that he told. Whether it was to protect the “young people” or to stay committed to the “confidentiality” of an email, he lied.

Athletic Director Gene Smith and Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee both stated emphatically that Jim Tressel is their coach now and in the future.

The challenge in front of coach Tressel now is the ultimate chance at redemption. He has been criticized for not winning big games and a national championship victory would be the ultimate elixir. Victories would start the rehabilitation of his name once again.

After all, we live in America and America loves winners.

America does not love liars. It is now up to Jim Tressel to decide by which moniker he will be remembered.




  1. yes will he did make a big mistake, and the OSU is worse off for it. but i think it goes to show that the systems in place with the NCAA and BCS need to be looked at as closely as the actions of this one team and coach

  2. Usually when credible journalists make such serious allegations they back up those allegations with very specific facts that detail with great precision what the alleged lies were. They don’t merely write things like “Essentially he lied.” That’s so they don’t get sued. I’m not sure who the writer of this item is, this fellow Will Burge, but he seems more interested in writing sizzling sentences than in illuminating us with exactly he believes Jim Tressel lied about. I’m wondering whether Will Burge is a trained journalist or merely a blogger who likes to pretend he’s a journalist. This item leaves me wondering, Where’s the Beef?

  3. Your an idiot that never played sports. How about a story about cam newton and his dad stealing 250,000.00 from miss state before going to auburn u loser.

  4. I totally agree. This is nowhere near the worst thing that any coach has done, but he did lie and that is what people will remember.

    He was basically in a no-win situation. If he tells on his players then he loses and get criticized. If he doesn’t then this happens.

    Choices have consequences. It’s just the price of winning at the elite level of college sports.

  5. All these people bashing Jim Tressel sound like they are either U of M students or alums. If not sorry for the insult. If so please remember The Fab 5 and the fact the football team was just investigated last year for NCAA infractions.

    • Chris Webber was the only person to accept gifts, no one else on the team violated any sanctions. also the coach didnt cover it up bc he wasnt A) stupid B) a scumbag who thought they could get away with it.

  6. Everyone is so quick to bash Tressel. I’m an admitted Tressel apologist. While I don’t disagree that this was completely mishandled by Tress I dont think all angles are being looked at. Tress said himself in the press conference that it would be difficult to explain why players who were eligible to play weren’t playing. If Pryor or any of the other players don’t play because of the ongoing Federal Investigation the investigation itself could have been compromised. He was in a damn if you do damn if you don’t situation. That being said he should have made the legal team for the university aware of the emails but at the end of the day I would rather answer to the NCAA than the Feds.

  7. Hey Will did you write this or did Hammer? Sounds like you are looking for a promotion by just agreeing with that ASS!

  8. Oh no, I definitely dont agree with Hammer. I think Tressel is actually a very good person, I said as much in the blog. The point of the blog was that this is how people will view him now, whether Buckeye fans (which I am one) like it or not.

    He can cleanse that stench by winning and winning the right way, which he has seemed to always do.

    Just because he is the head coach of Ohio State does not mean that he cannot be held accountable.

    I do greatly appreciate all the feedback, even when people tell me to move to Michigan.

  9. I know it’s your opinion and not an official news report, Burge, but I think it’s a bad take.

    You note that OSU football is a billion dollar business, then say its JTs job to mold young minds? Be held to a higher standard? False. The singular goal of a business is to make money. JT is CEO or at the very least a VP. His job is to protect the interests of the company.

    You claim Tressel dodged questions at the presser… I say false again. Gene Smith, because of the ongoing NCAA investigation, was Tressel’s question answering watchdog. He told what he could and could not say on just about every question.

    And your worst take of all? America doesn’t like liars.. Naivety at its finest. America hates being told what we don’t want to hear.

  10. Jim Tressel is one of the few remaining class acts left in college sports. Blogs and critics alike are making it seem as though this “violation” was ten times worse than that involving USC or Cam Newton. Come on now. As much hate as OSU gets for playing the “Yankees role” in college football, no one can argue the integrity of the program that Jim Tressell has established since he first came aboard. A minor blip like this simply opens up criticism from those who actively seek the smallest of issues at a program that has attained a reputation like Ohio State has. Infractions like this happen at every university, regardless if you’re a Division I powerhouse, or a Division III start-up. I look forward to Ohio State pulling the ultimate redemption in winning the National Title next year.

  11. Tressel manned up and took hi s medicine last night. Like the Cav’s game 5 implosion, we will likely NEVER know ALL there is to know.


  12. Acknowledging that JT made a midrange doesn’t make someone a UM fan, it makes them objective. He is hiding behind confidentiality yet that defense has several holes. He received the 1st email on April 2nd explaining the situation then the next email 2 wks later stating that the info was confidential. Then, in December when the suspensions were handed out and the “confidentiality” had been compromised, he flat lied about previous knowledge of the situation.

  13. He received emails that are public domain. Did he not think people would investigate it? If he was acting on confidentiality, then why did he say during the pc that he forwarded the emails before Smith jumped in and broke up the questioning? Someone forwarded information as part of a Federal Investigation to a 3rd party NOT involved in the investigation and thought that it would not get out? While this won’t destroy the program, it takes away the one advantage it did have over other programs, character.

  14. Professional Liar – How Hammeresque…Do all Hammer’s stupid comments over time make him a “Professional Idiot” ? When Hammer puts a price tag on what is exactly stealing ie a piece of candy to justify his actions is he a “Professional Thief” ? Character is character is character. One person who walked this earth was perfect. And withholding info is wrong. Consequences will come. Let’s also examine our own consciences from time-to-time. You can bet a lot of D-1 coaches are laying low right now.

  15. Winning helps but it has to be done with character. Kids sold crap to get tatoos ! Think about that. It is against NCAA regs but do you really consider that a real MORAL ISSUE ? It is an NCAA issue. I know the why’s and why-nots of the cans of worms that can open up but the offense is essentially selling stuff that is yours for tatoos.

    • I said this back when I heard about these guys selling their rings, gold pants medallions. If Woody were coach, no way in hell they’d ever see the field again. Those gold pant medallions represent beating Michigan, priority #1 on Woody’s list. To have so little value in B10 ‘ship rings and the other items from your accomplishments on the field w/ your teammates for the university just to get tattoo’s of one’s area code, nickname, etc. is a big issue. Pride in one’s school and pride in what you accomplished as a team was the one thing that Woody instilled in this program. For these kids to have such disregard for that, especially whe your HC has gone out of his way to bring it back to the forefront, is a slap in the face to the program and it’s fans.

      And this is coming from a non tOSU fan

  16. If I had a kid and he can play football for any coach on the college level, there is no doubt i’d want him to play for coach Tressel. By the way this talk of him not winning “big games” is stupid! If having an overall record of 106-22, 7 bigten championships, 6-4 bowl record (5-3 in bcs bowls), and 9-1 against Michigan isn’t enough to prove his worth then people really need to be educatedon the competiveness of major college football. Get off his back and I thought the negative talk about Ohio sports was suppost to come from goldhammer and fedor…

  17. Yes he lied. However I doubt he made a promise saying he would keep their kids out of trouble. I bet he promised he would TRY, but I’m pretty sure every coach in america promises they will TRY to keep the kid out of trouble, but ultimately it’s more the kid’s decisions. so that paragraph was totally irrelevant… also he wasn’t really dodging questions, it was AD Gene Smith who was protecting him from talking about certain issues, that’s not tressel’s fault. i know i sound like i’m defending him but i’m looking at it 2 ways. yes he made a mistake and will be punished severely-rightfully so. however any time confidentiality is an issue, it’s a tough issue. anyone who has been in this situation knows what i mean. what if your friend told you they had a drug problem and don’t want you to tell anyone else? see it’s tough regardless. he’ll reap what he sows, and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens…

  18. The rationalizations I’m seeing for Tressel are absurd in my view. Tressel lied to the NCAA in an effort to protect himself. If Ohio State had any integrity it would fire him. But the Ohio State football factory cares more about money and victories than it does about integrity.

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