July 08, 2011
No one ever thought it was Jim Tressel's idea to leave the Ohio State program on May 31, despite the fact that during his farewell press conference he said it was for the "greater good of the university."
He reaffirmed that notion in his resignation letter to Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith.
After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach.
The recent situation has been a distraction for our great university and I make this decision for the greater good of our school.
The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable. We have been blessed to work with the finest group of young men in America and we love them dearly. In addition, we cannot thank you enough. ... the high school coaches we have worked with over these many years.
We know that God has a plan for us and we will be fine. We will be Buckeyes forever.
Only now we're learning that Smith was the one who asked Tressel to resign in the first place.
In an article in the Columbus Dispatch on Friday, Smith admits he asked Tressel to resign a day before the official announcement was made. He also said his confidence in the head coach started wavering days before the resignation happened.
Smith would not answer questions directly related to the NCAA case, but he did acknowledge for the first time that, on May 29, he asked Jim Tressel to resign as football coach. Tressel stepped down the next day.
OSU officials publicly supported Tressel long after the revelation in March that he had failed to forward to anyone at the university emails warning him that players had sold memorabilia and received tattoo discounts - an NCAA violation. But Smith admitted that his support had wavered "long before" he asked for Tressel's resignation. Asked if that meant weeks or days, Smith replied: "Days."
The admission is interesting because at the Big Ten meetings in Chicago, just 13 days prior, Smith was adamant about his support for Tressel.
"Oh, definitely, no question," Smith said when asked if he was still supporting Tressel. "I haven't changed, I haven't changed."
Perhaps, it was the dreaded vote of confidence that actually did Tressel in.
Now it's Smith's turn to face the pressure of resigning. In the months since Tressel left, more and more information has surfaced about Ohio State's lack of institutional control and Smith and university president E. Gordon Gee have come under scrutiny. But Smith is steadfast that he will not be walking away from Ohio State any time soon.
"Oh, heck no," he said. "There's never been a point in my life in (this) business when I've considered resigning.
"When you know that what you do every day is right and you've done nothing wrong, you've got to stay the course and make sure we continue to get better and help our current student-athletes and coaches. So I've never thought about that at all."
Funny, Tressel took the same stance in March, stating that he had no intention of resigning either.
"That wouldn't be something that would jump in my mind unless there came that point in time where I said, 'You know what? The best thing to do for those kids [OSU players] is if I do.'"
We'll see if what goes around comes around.