Watching The Big Ten Network's coverage tonight of Jim Tressel's suspension, it was visibly evident to me how distraught and distressed Coach Tressel was at that press conference. For a man who prides himself on maintaining an even keel, I have to confess that Coach Tressel's facial expressions demonstrated a man tremendously fatigued, both physically and emotionally.
Despite being a huge Coach Tressel fan, I am not going to suggest that what Coach Tressel did was right. Quite honestly, nobody, with the exception of those privy to the sensitive information associated to this NCAA investigation, can accurately describe what the correct course of action was with regards to the e-mails Coach Tressel received last spring and did not report. I truly believe Coach Tressel made a decision that he felt was in the best interest of the players involved.
I will suggest that Coach Tressel visibly demonstrated to me, and I am presuming other Ohio State fans, a true sense of remorse and regret during the course of the press conference. And I am anxious to see going forward how this will affect Coach Tressel in not only the 2011 season, but beyond.
While Ohio State has suspended Coach Tressel for the first two games of the 2011 season, fined him $250,000, required attendance at a compliance seminar as well as a public reprimand of him, it is entirely possible the NCAA is not done with Ohio State. Make no mistake about Gene Smith's complimentary tones at the onset of the press conference towards the NCAA - those were classic examples of someone throwing themselves at the mercy of the judge.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated that "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and conveniences, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." It will be interesting to see how Coach Tressel, as well as the collective Ohio State community, stand going forward into the 2011 college football season.