Tressel Drops Bombshell on Day One in New Orleans
By Brandon Castel
NEW ORLEANS, La. — It didn’t take long for Ohio State coach Jim Tressel to make waves in New Orleans.
In the opening statement of his very first press conference, Tressel cleared up many of the questions surrounding the five Buckeyes who admitted to selling memorabilia following their freshman seasons in Columbus.
All five players will be allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas on Jan. 4, and all five will be back at Ohio State next season after making a commitment to Tressel and their teammates to serve their suspensions after participating in the bowl game.
“The first decision that any of our young people needed to make if indeed they wanted to stay a part of our family and be on the bowl trip and participate in one of the great games of all-time, the Sugar Bowl, would be that they would have to make any decisions based on their future and the NFL prior to us leaving for the bowl game,” Tressel said during his Thursday morning press conference.
“We just didn’t feel it would be fair to the NCAA or fair to the other people involved in the process if someone were able to participate and then have no consequences down there road.”
As of this moment, Tressel has no plans of holding Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Boom Herron, Mike Adams or Solomon Thomas out for any portion of the Sugar Bowl based on the fact they were willing to sign a commitment to doing the time for their “crime.”
“They wouldn't be here if they hadn't,” Tressel said.
On the surface, it almost sounds like an ultimatum by Tressel to the five in question; as if he held their hands to the paper and forced them to write their names if they ever wanted to put on the Scarlet and Gray again.
Tressel, however, saw it a different way.
“They’re going into this opportunity with their eyes open, knowing they have significant sanctions,” he said.
“Those decisions were made by our young people, and I’m excited to say that all of the guys who were involved, knowing they had some options, like playing in this game and then leaving. In their minds that could have been an option, and it wasn’t.
“Maybe another option in their mind was they could take themselves out of this game hoping their appeal for the future might be softened. None of them wanted to do that because they wanted to remain a part of the family at this moment, because they knew that 24 of our seniors won’t be with them in the future and they didn’t feel as if they could dessert their seniors just to help their own cause.”
With that, four of the five (Thomas not included) will likely start the game against Arkansas next Tuesday with the probability that Pryor in particular will take every snap under center. Tressel said the backup quarterback competition has not ramped up since the announcement because it won’t come into play until next season.
“They’re in the family, they’re on the trip. They want to be Buckeyes in 2011,” Tressel said of Pryor and the other four.
“They’re obviously very remorseful for misjudgments made.”
As a part of their penitence, the five players wanted to reach out to former Buckeye players and alumni with an apology. Who better then to speak with than two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin?
“I told them ‘Archie is the head of our alumni association and his office is across the street, why don’t you see if he’ll take a visit,’” Tressel said.
“He wasn’t in the office that day, but he said, ‘come out to my house, the kids might get a different perspective when they look at my basement and they see how important some of those things are to me.’”
Griffin has always been the consummate Buckeye, eternally grateful for the opportunity Woody Hayes gave him to play football at Ohio State back in the 1970s. Maybe spending time with him will have rubbed off on some of these young guys.
“It was a valuable lesson,” Tressel said.
“I’ve said many times that in adversity, lives are changed.”
Donate by Check :
1380 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43212
Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Donate to the-Ozone.
Click here to email this the-Ozone feature to a friend...or even a foe.
(c) 2010 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, rebroadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.