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Commentary: Jim Tressel’s resignation leaves Buckeye Nation confused, with mixed emotions

Lauren Hallow / Lantern photographer

Having spent most of my 22 years of life in Columbus, and being a current student at The Ohio State University, one would think that I, of all people, would have an opinion — or at least a coherent thought — about the resignation of former OSU football coach Jim Tressel.

But I just don’t.

The disaster that has been the OSU football program since the Dec. 23 announcement that six players had been suspended for a portion of the 2011 season for breaking NCAA rules has ultimately left me with feelings of numbness, confusion and indifference toward my hometown Buckeyes.

A part of me thinks Tressel got what he deserved. He withheld, and lied about, information to NCAA officials regarding his players’ violations. No man, no matter how great of a coach, is bigger than the university, and Tressel’s resignation was inevitable.

But, another part of me wants to blame the players.

If Terrelle Pryor, Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, Dan Herron, Solomon Thomas and Jordan Whiting had never sold their memorabilia to Eddie Rife at the Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor, Tressel wouldn’t have been put into the position to lie to protect his players.

And, at the same time, part of me wants to blame Tressel for recruiting these players, particularly Pryor, in the first place. Whether it be Maurice Clarett, Troy Smith, Ray Small or Pryor, there always has been at least one headache-inducing player on each of Tressel’s teams, and it ultimately caught up to him.

Another part of me is upset that OSU just lost one of the best coaches in college football. Regardless of how it ended, no one can deny the merits of his 106-22 record, 2002 national title and five BCS Bowl wins at OSU.

But then another part of me is excited for the change of pace that Tressel’s permanent replacement will bring. Show me a Buckeye fan who hasn’t secretly fantasized about Urban Meyer pacing the sidelines at the Shoe as his spread offense destroys opposing Big Ten defenses, and I’ll show you a liar.

However, despite being mentally divided about who to blame and whether to be scared or excited by Tressel’s resignation, my brain can agree on one thing, and that’s the source of my confusion.

I can take solace in knowing that OSU is not the only campus on which these types of violations occur, but the way in which Tressel and school officials handled the matter should be used as a lesson to aspiring public relations students on how not to do their jobs. It should never have come to this, with allegations and revelations about Tressel and the Buckeyes being a fixture of each day’s news. Yet, thanks to the potential that comes along with the OSU program, my disappointment is joined by feelings of confusion and optimism.

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