“Just Win Baby”… That Is What It’s All About Isn’t It?
Ohio States Head Football Coach Jim Tressel has decided that he deserves the same punishment as the players involved in the Buckeye Memorabilia Sale Scandal. Last Week, he issued a statement announcing he's suspending himself three more games in addition to the two games the university had suspended him for.
Like my players, I am very sorry for the mistakes I made," Tressel said in the statement. "I request of the university that my sanctions now include five games so that the players and I can handle this adversity together.
Yeah, Tressel is sorry alright. He's sorry he didn't delete the damaging emails from his computer. The ones which clearly showed he had known about these infractions for nine months, that he lied to the University and the NCAA repeatedly and that he knowingly played guys who were most likely ineligible. Oh, he's REALLY sorry.
And this five game suspension? What a joke. He'll still be involved in the game planning, conduct practices, be involved with recruiting, etc. He just won't be on the sidelines during the game. (I haven't read whether he'll still be paid for these games he's missing, but something tells me he's not going to miss any paychecks over this, other than the $250,000 fine he has to pay.)
But the real sad part of this, in my opinion, is the attitude of a lot of Ohio State fans. "What's the big deal?!? We were 12-1 last season." That is what it's all about isn't it? Just win baby!! Who cares if you use ineligible players, the rules they broke are stupid anyway. Who cares if the coach lied, he was just protecting his players because he cares so much about them. Tressel is apparently above right and wrong in Ohio because, after all, the Buckeyes just win baby! (I'd wager that if Ohio State had gone 1-12 last season, Buckeye fans attitude would be totally different toward their coach.)
Don't get me wrong, I love it when my team wins (GO HOGS!). I love to talk smack with fans of opposing teams before and after games. But if the Hogs lose, it does NOT affect my life in the least. As much as I LOVE going to games and following their progress throughout the season, the end result is NOT my indicator of how much I support the team or coach. If a coach at the University of Arkansas did what Tressel has done, I would be leading the charge to get them out of our program because that is NOT the kind of values that our coaches need to be instilling in those young men. Lying to investigators, covering up the truth and putting your school at risk of being penalized by the NCAA is NOT right and should never be condoned.
The fans are every bit as much to blame as Tressel, IMO. It's the "just win baby" mentality (which, I realize isn't going away as much as I detest it) which has fostered the environment for this kind of behavior in sports. An environment where cheaters often win (see Cam Newton at Auburn.. Ohio State.. Southern Cal) and coaches who try to build programs the right way, but don't progress as fast as fans think they should, often lose.