The Day After

By Dave DeNatale

Many of us in Buckeye Nation felt exactly like former OSU cornerback/ESPN Cleveland analyst Dustin Fox did this morning.  Foxy tweeted the following:  Woke up this morning and was hoping yesterday was a dream. One look at my twitter feed told me otherwise.

The scandal that has taken down Jim Tressel indeed feels like a nightmare.  But it’s reality.

And today, the aftermath begins.  There are so many questions still to be answered.

How does the Tressel resignation (forced or not) affect how the NCAA will come down on Ohio State after the two sides sit down in August?  Will the Buckeyes get a similar punishment to that of USC with a two-year postseason ban?  Will they lose scholarships?

Will Terrelle Pryor or any of the so-called “Tattoo Five” ever play for the Buckeyes again?  In Pryor’s case, there’s plenty of doubt as the NCAA and OSU are both reportedly ramping up their investigation as to whether or not the Buckeye quarterback received cars or extra benefits.

Can Luke Fickell keep the program together amidst all of the uncertainty and scrutiny?  As important as it will be for Fickell to guide the Buckeyes to wins this fall, he’s also got to convince recruits and potential recruits to come to Ohio State despite the fact that they may not be going to the postseason for awhile.

Will Gene Smith survive the firestorm?  You have to imagine that this scandal will be painted as a Jim Tressel lack-of-control problem, not an Ohio State lack of institutional control.  Greg Brinda always likes to remind me of the days of the Watergate Investigations, when John Dean was asked, “What did the President know and when did he know it?”  Those questions are about to be shifted to Smith and other members of the OSU athletic department.

And what will Jim Tressel’s legacy ultimately be?  That is a question that may take years to answer.  Fundamentally, everyone agrees that Tressel is a good and decent man.  A tremendous football coach.  A role model.   But he made critical errors in judgment that ultimately led to his undoing.  Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.”

I just wish Jim Tressel had remembered that.



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