Sweater Vests and The Black Hole: Jim Tressel Deserves Same Punishment as Terrelle Pryor


I know this is a blog dedicated to all things New York Giants football but at the end of the day the Giants are a part of the NFL and there’s a certain storyline happening right now in the NFL that I just had to talk about.

The Jim Tressel/Terrelle Pryor/Ohio State saga.

We all know the sweater-vest wearing Tressel as the man who headed up The Ohio State university football program and led them to one NCAA college football national championship. In addition to that one national championship his other many accolades at Ohio State includes an undefeated season, a 106-22 win-loss record, six Big Ten Conference trophies, 5 bowl victories, 4 BCS bowl wins, and three national championship appearances.

There’s no doubt that the man can coach. He can. And there’s a reason why he got himself a gig in the NFL even though he had to resign as head coach of the Buckeyes due to the Ohio State football program being investigated for rules violations.

Everybody makes mistakes and everybody is allowed a second, third, fourth, etc., chance in life. It’s the way the world works. If the Indianapolis Colts feel like hiring Tressel to be a game day consultant for them then that’s their prerogative.

All I think is that if Roger Goodell can suspend former Ohio State starting quarterback and current Oakland Raiders supplemental draft pick Terrelle Pryor for something that had nothing to do with the NFL then the man in charge of the program while Pryor was there should be getting the same treatment.

Pryor was going to serve a five game suspension at the start of the 2011 NCAA football season and Tressel had been imposed with a similar suspension and possibly more depending on the findings of the investigation but Pryor put his name into the NFL supplemental draft and Tressel resigned, making both suspensions meaningless.

First off, I didn’t think Goodell should have suspended Pryor for the first give games of the 2011 NFL season, or as he calls it making him, “ineligible to practice prior to or play in the first five games of the NFL regular season after he signs.” A suspension is a suspension. Pryor not being allowed to earn a game day check for the first five weeks because of something that happened in college is ludicrous! Sure, Pryor skirted his suspension but that’s the NCAA’s business. Not the NFL’s. Pryor entered the supplemental draft and was picked. He should now be allowed to play football and make a living and if reports of him appealing his suspension are true then I’m glad he’s doing so.

If I didn’t think Pryor should have been suspended for his college behavior then I also think Tressel should be allowed to go off and enjoy an NFL career without any sanctions as well. But since Goodell did hand down that suspension to Pryor he has to do the same thing to Tressel. If he doesn’t then the commissioner is a hypocrite. Simple as that.

You can’t treat one person differently then another for doing the exact same thing.          You can even argue what Tressel did was worse than Pryor because he’s a role model being paid millions of dollars whose job it is to mould young men and prepare them for their future while Pryor’s an impressionable young male not being paid a single dime for his contributions to the football program at Ohio State. Whether a college football player is offered money, cars, tattoos, whatever, for doing something they’re already planning on doing they’re going to take it. Why wouldn’t they?

Tressel was the leader of the Ohio State football team and was at the helm for almost a decade. He knew what was going on and finally got caught. Recently we found out about the allegations over at the University of Miami. Things like this happen all over the college football landscape and the people in authority such as coaches, administrators, and athletic directors are accountable and need to man up and face their consequences.

But Tressel resigned instead of staying at Ohio State to see what his true punishment would be and Pryor left too without serving his five game suspension. The most important factor in all this, no matter what happened, was that it all went down in the NCAA and not the NFL, which the NFL has no jurisdiction over.

However, Goodell felt it was necessary to get involved and suspend Pryor. He now has to do the same thing with Tressel, and, at a minimum, Goodell has to take away at least five of Tressel’s game day paychecks before allowing him to pursue his NFL career. It’s the only fair thing to do.

As of right now the Tressel hiring was made, according to PFT sources, without the league’s approval and that they have to approve the hiring of Tressel before it becomes finalized. There isn’t any reason why it shouldn’t become official eventually but it should be postponed for five weeks.

Roger Goodell has earned himself a reputation with his personal conduct policy and has handed down a lot of suspensions and fines to players based on off the field transgressions. He now needs to apply that same discipline to other non-playing members of the NFL. Goodell set a precedent with the Pryor suspension and that precedent must now apply to Tressel. If Goodell comes up with a reason to not suspend Tressel, and it better be a damn good one, he’s going to be facing a huge uproar from the player’s association as they will surely look at it as there being two different sets of rules: one for the players and one for everybody else.

After already losing some public favor with fans and players over the NFL lockout if Goodell wants to keep the peace and win some fans and respect back, not to mention, do the right thing, then he has to suspend Tressel. Tressel and Pryor both broke the rules and the bottom line is that all league employees should be treated equally and you can’t suspend one but not suspend the other.

Of course Goodell could have just avoided the whole situation if he had stayed out of it and not suspended Pryor. He did though and now it’s time for him to man up and do the same to Tressel.