My respone to Bill Livingston opinion today 7/21/11, in Plain Dealer
Do you really feel this way?
I argue you are guilty of a horrendous penalty, by trashing your journalistic standards and giving up - on a mere blow of one whistle - the very responsibilities the press should be held to.
Tressel is only guilty on a technicality. The sporting public knows it, too. I'll grant, those fans west of the Mississippi might not agree, albeit all the way up to the California line. Carroll, however, jumped off their ship and hardly had the love affair with the student athlete that Tressel evidenced. So maybe they, too, would have a heavy heart for our guy.
And make no mistake, Tressel is our guy, no and forever. I would say he is bigger than Woody Hayes, but not Paul Brown. He did follow in Brown's footsteps, after all. Coaching the student athlete at a D-III school for a near-generation, then using his reputation as a good football mind, but also a guy who does right by the student athlete to sneak his way into a job at the Big Ten school, Ohio State.
From day one, down to the greasy end, Tressell vowed that Ohio State fans would "be proud of their kids in the classroom, and on the football field." He shielded his players from the gruesome, professional media coverage that places college players dark alley when it comes to benefits and educational standards. Namely ridiculous NCAA rules.
These kids are mere amateurs. He fed them and those around him with spoonfuls of spirit, inner determination, loyalty, guidance in much the same way Joe Paterno fed his players spoonfuls of spaghetti dinners at his own table.
Journalists are supposed to be the voice for all, the mouthpiece for conversation. Why not say it like it is then: The only thing Tressel is really guilty of is protecting his players in the face of knowing right from wrong. The NCAA rules concerning the infracting players at OSU have no place in todays sports world.
You know it. Fans, on both sides of the Mississippi know it. And Jim Tressel knows it. He knows it well more than you or I, because he gave his job for it, for his university, and for his players. His students. He knew full well what he was doing and felt it was right. And you know it too.
So, do you really feel it is wiser to tear down the high school coaches who knew this man, his values, who simply are saying with a shirt and a tie what the rest of the sporting world won't or can't - save you, the journalist?
I don't know how many football players went to OSU during Tressel's tenure, but it's in the thousands. The number of parents who are proud their sons played for Coach Tressel is in the thousands more.
I'll bet you a pair of pants that you could find at least as many words to write about the negative impact the NCAA has on all student athletes. Surely, that time with the mouthpiece would better spent than undressing a high school coach such as Chuck Kyle and the hundreds of other decent men coaching Ohio's young men on the football field and in the classroom.