April 26th, 2011 11:53 AM║ Posted By: MrSEC.com ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Tags: ESPN, Jim Tressel, Ohio State, OSU
From across the SEC — and especially from Tennessee and Alabama — they pour in… emails telling me that ESPN isn’t going after Jim Tressel and Ohio State with the same gusto with which they pursued UT’s Bruce Pearl and/or Auburn’s Cam Newton.
But just to set the record straight, ESPN’s Pat Forde has now called for Tressel’s head on a plate.
Meanwhile, former Buckeyes Kirk Herbstreit — video here — and Chris Spielman — video here — are showing some serious backbone, too. The two ESPN analysts aren’t holding back in their assessment of the situation:
Spielman: “I’m a good friend of Jim Tressel’s and if my son’s ever good enough to play for Ohio State I want him to play for Jim Tressel. That being said, I do believe his intention was to protect the players first and foremost. However, he still lost sight of his contract and what he’s obligated to do. … I think he probably, if he had it all to do over again, (would) get up, grab the emails, walk 10 feet down the hall, take a left and hand them over to the compliance office. Every college football coach is put in this situation on a daily basis and they are trained — according to the college football coaches that I’ve talked to — that anytime they get a phone call or email of player misconduct, they hand it over to compliance. And that’s where he went wrong. I think his intent was pure, but his actions justify the punishment that’s coming his way, in my opinion.”
Herbstreit: “The fact that he was vague or not forthcoming with information initially with the NCAA… I mean when you get into that area, that’s a danger zone when it comes to coaches and their involvement with the NCAA. And there are countless examples of coaches — that when they’ve decided to do that — they are no longer staying onboard as the head coach. … It’s just a real black eye on the entire university.”
Considering those fellows played at OSU, those are some pretty strong comments. And then there’s this from Herbstreit:
“The Ohio State fanbase, blindedly, are just supporting Ohio State and Jim Tressel. I mean, it’s almost gotten to the point (where) he beats Michigan, he wins 10 games, he goes to BCS bowl games… they’ll support him no matter what he does, as far as the fanbase. … It goes to show you — when you win games and you win championships and you beat Michigan then a lot of fans… they’ll find a way and a reason to twist any kind of story to try to be pro-Ohio State.”
Hmmm. Sounds like some Tennessee fans with Pearl, Auburn fans with Newton, Kentucky fans when it comes to questions regarding John Calipari’s reputation, etc, etc.
We all see things through our own lenses. That’s why fans of School X never understand why anyone would ever dare question School X.
It’s also why many fans of School X always believe School Y is getting off easier than the ol’ School X did.
But in this case — if Ohio State is School Y — the Buckeyes and Tressel are getting wall-to-wall coverage just like Pearl and Newton, Tennessee and Auburn. The only difference is Tressel’s case broke just two months ago. Give it time and you’ll find that the national media won’t let up on OSU any more than it has let up on Auburn or did let up on Tennessee prior to Pearl’s dismissal.
I’m not the world’s biggest fan of ESPN. As I’ve written previously, I think it’s dangerous for a network that own various leagues, bowls, and games to also act as the largest news source covering those leagues, bowls and games. But in this instance, any objective viewer can see that the four-letter network is covering Ohio State just as it covered UT and AU… right down to the infamous timeline graphics.
A friend of mine from Cleveland emailed me last week to say how sick she is of ESPN’s non-stop, anti-OSU coverage. I just smiled. If she and other OSU fans could only hear how some folks outside of Ohio believe ESPN is actually going easy on their Buckeyes.
It’s all about perspective.
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