Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Teardown of Ohio State Continues

It's been over a week since Ohio State finally had the good enough sense to tell Jim Tressel to get the hell out of town. The leader of the nation's most self-absorbed and sanctimonious football program was exposed as a fraud on the level of Lane Kiffin, only a fraud who won at least ten games virtually every year he was on the job.

In other words, Tressel was a cheater who actually knew how to take advantage of his cheating. Kiffin is just a fool until proven otherwise.

While the NCAA continues its investigation, and the Buckeyes try to find a quarterback, along with the soul they sold to win BCS games, it's interesting to read different takes on the situation.

Bill Carter of Sports Business Journal doesn't even want to call Tressel a coach, that's how low he thinks of the former media favorite.

He also tears down the notion that coaches who run opposite of Tressel should be considered heroic, or that they should be cheered incessantly for making tough decisions. As an example, he notes that Virginia lacrosse coach Dom Starsia led his team to a national championship this season, even though one of his players was charged with murdering a women's player last year, and he has dealt with disciplinary issues during this season.

This is no slight on Coach Starsia. I think he did a commendable job in which he should be congratulated — just not honored. A year ago, he provided leadership to a group of young men between the ages of 18 and 22 as they tried to understand a tragedy for which they had no experience to draw from. This year, University of Virginia lacrosse coach Dom Starsia provided the appropriate leadership expected of any college coach. Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel did not. This year, he punished individuals with no consideration of their skill level, for behavior that was detrimental to the team.

I’ll say it again — he did what we should expect any adult in a leadership role to do. Nothing more. I hope the athletic director and the administrators at the University of Virginia reward Coach Starsia with a handshake and a smile and tell him “good job” — which would be commensurate with the job he has done. But, by no fault of his, I’m sure he will be lauded as a hero for making “tough decisions” (I would simply call them “right decisions”).

I guess you would call Coach Starsia heroic if you are comparing him with Jim Tressel. (I can’t even call Tressel “Coach”.) Tressel provided no leadership whatsoever. Himself overpaid and self-entitled, he allowed the teens and young adults for which he was responsible to behave similarly (despite the fact that being paid at all is breaking the rules and to be self-entitled will result in difficulties out in the real world — so much for college football coaches teaching life lessons!).

I could write 100 paragraphs on how disgusting I think his behavior is, but it’s a bore. To me, Tressel is a nobody. He’s a footnote. I hope I forget about him by the end of this week, though I doubt ESPN will let me. 

The ESPN part is funny, because as one-time FanHouse comrade Clay Travis noted weeks ago, ESPN was flat-out refusing to cover this story was it was breaking in front of the world. Naturally, they weren't covering it because they wanted to both protect Tressel and themselves ... they didn't break the story, so they weren't going to take it seriously.

No one can deny the hero worship we give to coaches like Starsia, provided it's in a sport we care about. The problem is that we also mix in hero worship for cheats and liars like Tressel, and then we just brush them off like yesterday's news when they're exposed.

After all, there are other cheats and liars to worship. Until they get exposed, too.

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