Sallee: Tressel-Gate Has Only One Conclusion
Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel
Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel
Posted Mar 26, 2011

The revelation that Jim Tressel forwarded information that his players were receiving illegal benefits to Terrelle Pryor's mentor, and not anyone within the Ohio State athletic department is just another black mark on Tressel's growing list of NCAA concerns. Barrett Sallee takes a look at where this might end.

Reach me via e-mail at or on Twitter @BarrettSallee

Is there any doubt now that Jim Tressel's wholesome image is nothing more than a well-executed façade?

The new revelation that Tressel did, in fact, forward e-mails from a lawyer detailing incidents involving his players receiving improper benefits contradicts Tressel's initial claim that he failed to notify Ohio State due to "privacy issues." Not only has Tressel been caught in another lie, but the man he forwarded the e-mails to – Ted Sarniak – was heavily involved in Terrelle Pryor's recruiting process to the point that recruiters were dealing with him more than Pryor's high school coach, according to Dennis Dodd of

Nahh, nothing shady about that at all. (end sarcasm font)

To compound issues, the Ohio State administration appears to have known about this latest revelation for quite some time. When Tressel was asked if he forwarded these e-mails to anyone earlier this month by Dan Wetzel, athletic director Gene Smith interrupted Tressel before he could answer. Even the most ardent Buckeye supporters have to be embarrassed and ashamed by Ohio State's actions. In the tournament of dirty college football, the Buckeyes have surged to claim one of the top seeds in the country; and Tressel, the man whose nickname, coincidently, is "The Senator," is to blame. Fitting.

So where does this leave the Ohio State football program?

The NCAA has shied away from issuing "lack of institutional control" citations to programs that have found themselves in hot water in recent years, opting for the lesser "failure to monitor" tag. In this case, "failure to monitor" can't be applied. Ohio State monitored. They got the information. They (Jim Tressel) chose not to take the proper course of action when the information was received. If that's not "lack of institutional control," I don't know what is.

When Tressel first received his two-game suspension, that sound you heard was a uniformed laugh from the rest of the college football world, who knew what a joke that punishment was. So what does Ohio State do? Bump his suspension up to five games, in what was nothing more than a feeble PR attempt to calm the uproar. But Tressel bears more responsibility than the "tattoo five." He's supposed to be a leader of men (or is it "legend?"). Simply matching the suspensions isn't good enough.

Tressel's lies, and subsequent coverup, deserve much more than a five-game suspension. He deserves a full season suspension, if not outright termination. But judging from Ohio State's actions, it won't make that move.

Lack. Of. Institutional. Control.

Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for He can be reached at, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee

2010/2011 Off-Season Column Archive:
Tressel-Gate Has Only One Conclusion – March 26, 2011
Five Thoughts on Bama's Spring – March 25, 2011
Five Thoughts on Vandy's Spring – March 24, 2011
Five Thoughts on Florida's Spring – March 23, 2011
Bama Star Arrested – March 20, 2011
Five Thoughts on South Carolina's Spring – March 16, 2011
Five Thoughts on Arkansas' Spring – March 15, 2011
Auburn Players Arrested, Dismissed – March 12, 2011
Five Thoughts on LSU's Spring – March 11, 2011
CFN Analysis – The Too Busy Offseason – March 11, 2011
Five Thoughts on Georgia's Spring – March 9, 2011
CFN Analysis – Should Jim Tressel Have Been Fired – March 8, 2011
Five Thoughts on Mississippi State's Spring – March 6, 2011
Wheels On Newton Saga Keep Spinning – February 28, 2011
Six SEC West Spring Storylines – February 24, 2011
Kiffin and the Tennessee Issue – February 23, 2011
Six SEC East Spring Storylines – February 17, 2011
CFN Analysis – The SEC Schedule – February 10, 2011
Ealey Suspension Leaves Georgia In A Bind – February 9, 2011
SEC Signing Day Review – February 3, 2011
CFN Analysis – Signing Day 2011 – February 2, 2011
Dream Team Won't Save Richt – January 31, 2011
Five Thoughts On Kragthorpe – January 24, 2011
Ridiculously Early SEC West Rankings – January 23, 2011
LSU Hires OC Four Years Too Late – January 20, 2011
Ridiculously Early SEC East Rankings – January 19, 2011
CFN Analysis: Cam Turns Pro – January 14, 2011
BCS National Championship Review – January 11, 2011
CFN Analysis: Cotton Bowl – January 8, 2011
Five Thoughts On Why Auburn Wins – January 7, 2011
Five Thoughts On Dan Quinn – January 5, 2011
Tuesday Question: Should Rich Rod Be Fired – January 4, 2011
Five Thoughts on Charlie Weis – January 4, 2011
CFN Analysis: Charlie Weis as the Florida OC – January 3, 2011
CFN Analysis: Outback Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Gator Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Capital One Bowl – January 1, 2011
CFN Analysis: Liberty Bowl – December 31, 2010
CFN Analysis: Music City Bowl – December 30, 2010
End Of The Season Accountability – December 27, 2010
Pryor Can't Be Compared To Newton – December 23, 2010
Ranking The SEC Bowl Games – December 19, 2010
Malzahn Makes The Right Move – December 14, 2010
Five Thoughts on Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Florida Hires Muschamp – December 12, 2010
CFN Analysis: Cam's Heisman Landslide – December 11, 2010
Five Thoughts On Urban Meyer – December 9, 2010
Meyer Leaves Legacy, Question Marks – December 8, 2010

Click here for the 2010 regular season archive

Click here for the 2010 Three & Out archive