On the popular Adam Carolla Podcast, the hosts are known for playing a game titled “More harm than good,” in which they come up with people, ideas or concepts that have caused more damage than benefits for society.
But since Carolla’s expertise often falls outside the world of sports, allow me to make the case for something that should join bathroom attendants and open seating on airplanes in being the root of more harm than good: the Jim Tressel era at Ohio State.
Before I make my case, however, let’s toss out a few cases for Tressel: his religion and his charity work. Religion has nothing to do with football (am I the only one who’s wondered what Tim Tebow’s reputation would be if he was an atheist?) and every college coach, including Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari (who’s had two Final Fours vacated) does charity work.
As for what actually matters when evaluating a football coach, it’d be hard to do enough damage to make a national title, seven Big Ten titles and eight BCS bowl game appearances not worth it, but with the recent extended suspensions of DeVier Posey and Dan “Boom” Herron, I have no choice but to conclude that Tressel did just that.
So, just how does one make a near decade of dominance at one of college football’s most high profile programs a moot point? It all started with Tattoo-gate, where Tressel was tipped off to the wrongdoings of Terrelle Pryor and Posey, but failed to report it, and instead chose to play athletes who should have been ruled ineligible for the duration of the 2010 season.
His decision (or indecision) eventually led to him being forced out as OSU’s head coach, but not before he could further damage the program.
After Pryor, Posey and four other teammates were suspended for the start of the 2011 season, Tressel made them promise that they would return for their senior seasons before letting them play in the Sugar Bowl. You know, because there’s no better way to punish kids who claim they only sold stuff because they were in dire need of the money than by preventing them from making a living for one more whole year?
Asking the already troubled players to return to school turned out to be just as problematic as you’d think. Posey and Herron continued to accept money that they didn’t earn through March 2011, four months after they had already been punished for Tattoo-gate.
The NCAA allegedly discovered this because Pryor, who thanks to his promise to Tressel missed the NFL draft deadline, was doing his best to get ruled ineligible by the NCAA in hopes of being taken in the NFL’s supplemental draft.
Had Pryor, Posey and Herron all declared for the draft following Tattoo-gate, Tressel would likely still be out of a college coaching job and the Buckeyes would be just as much of a mess on the field as they are now. But thanks to Tressel demanding players to return to a school that they didn’t want to be at, OSU is likely facing charges of a lack of institutional control, as in less than a year, 10 players have been suspended for receiving improper benefits.
And if you want to blame the players for their transgressions, go ahead; I’m right there with you. Just remember who recruited these troublemakers to OSU in the first place.
People like to pretend that Tressel transformed OSU into the national power that it is, when in reality, he’s leaving the football program in worse shape than it was in before he got here, and that’s a clear sign of having done more harm than good.