A disappointed Ohio State University grad asks, Gee, President Gee, are you kidding me?
There are a lot of grays in life, but some things are black and white. It's no challenge to do the right thing most of the time. What counts is whether you do the right thing when the consequences are ugly and regrettable. For all I've read on the subject, OSU Football Coach Jim Tressel failed by that measure.
Worse was the OSU President Gordon Gee's flip response. There is also a five-page letter to the NCAA from Gee that amazingly concludes that what Tressel did was "indecisiveness ... as opposed to a blatant disregard of NCAA legislation. ... We recognize that he should have forwarded this information in some manor to the appropriate institutional officials. With the exception of this mistake, he is a man of integrity and high moral standards."
What happened, in a nutshell, was that OSU football players sold their memorabilia to a tattoo parlor owner, in violation of NCAA rules, and one may have receive a break on tattoo services. Not the worst thing in the world, but violations. Tressel has been informed of the violations. He not only did nothing about it, and then didn’t own up to it when it came to light.
The students are going to miss five games – next season. The coach is going to miss a mere two games – next season. The school can’t jeopardize this season’s bowl game, of course. The coach is also being fined $250,000, a sizable chunk of change, but then again, he has a multi-million-dollar contract.
It’s swell to have a winning college football team. But when this is the way violations are shrugged off by the people in charge, everyone loses.
You can read and see lots more on this topic on the website of the Columbus Dispatch.
Here’s my e-mail to President Gee. I will update you when I get a response.
TO: Gordon Gee, president OSU
FROM: Barbara Lombardo, managing editor of The Saratogian and 1977 OSU master’s graduate
DATE: March 10, 2011-03-10
RE: Coach Tressel and your comments.
As a graduate of Ohio State University, I am aghast – a word I don’t think I’ve ever used before – at what has been reported as your response to whether Coach Tressel would be let go.
Here are the words you are reported saying: "No. Are you kidding? I'm just hoping the coach doesn't dismiss me."
Are you kidding? Who is running Ohio State University? How can you justify that remark?The relatively minor punishment for Tressel was bad enough. I am stunned that you could say something so flip and, in my judgment, inappropriate.
I have the OSU journalism program and some of its fine professors in the 1976-77 school year to thank for much of the knowledge and confidence I gained while obtaining my master’s degree. I am the managing editor of a daily newspaper, and I intend to share my comments and your response with my readers, in print and online.
I can be reached at this e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and by telephone at 518.583.8711.