Normally I am like Alfred E. Neuman of Mad magazine fame. When I hear negative rumors circulating about Ohio State sports I usually brush them aside, because somebody is always talking and trying to stir things up. Most of the time, the threats of impending doom don't materialize, and life goes on as usual. But I have to confess that I am starting to get a little antsy regarding the future of Jim Tressel.
Obviously every day there is a new article coming out that either predicts the imminent firing of Coach Tressel or compares his situation to that of Bruce Pearl, who was recently canned as basketball coach at Tennessee. I am almost immune to the email alerts I get from ESPN, Bleacher Report, and other websites that mention something about Tress being in serious hot water. I expect the sensationalistic media to react in this fashion, because they know that people love to read negative journalism and revel in the misery of a big-time rival. Mentioning Tressel in the headline is guaranteed to hook readers.
Now please don't get me started on the comparions to Bruce Pearl. Over the years I have seen all kinds of pictures of Pearl cuddling up to bikini-clad coeds, often appearing to be drunk, and usually with that awful fake tan. Those of us who have followed Ohio State football the past decade know that Jim Tressel is a family man, dedicated to his job, and not a public embarrassment like so many college coaches. I am convinced that he is also a man of ideals. While I am not saying that JT is above reproach (and who is), I am confident that he is not a low life like Bruce Pearl and his ilk.
That being said, I am beginning to get nervous. Not because of the headlines from over zealous journalists, or the rants from opponent bloggers. No, I am worried about the full scale witch hunt that is underway. Usually when inquisitions begin they wind up finding something. Part of that is because there is such an expenditure of time and money that they feel compelled to dig up some dirt. And, let's face it, if you dig deep enough you are bound to find something. The fact that the NCAA is sending in it's big dogs is scary. Add to that the fact that the ESPN investigative news show “Outside the Lines” is snooping around Columbus and you get downright frightened. They don't intend to leave town empty handed.
This may not be Watergate just yet, but it is beginning to look like the biggest investigation of Ohio State sports in history. And some people won't be satisified until they have the scalp of the headman himself. Let's hope he is as squeeky clean as he has been portrayed.