Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The clock runs out on Tressel

AS WE ALL must know, rabid sports fans are a vacant lot, but have fun being so. So the hysteria over Jim Tressel's departure (ouster!) at Football Central in Columbus is not surprising. A full-scale disaster for the Buckeye Boosters, yes. But surprising, no.

In the brief mourning period since Tressel abdicated, there have been howls that the poor fellow not only had a knack for beating Michigan but was blessed with uncommon piety and class. As one who worked in Columbus for a decade, I can vouch that piety is an extraordinary virtue in a town where football, by God, is the practiced religion . That Tressel lied about what he knew was happening on his players back channel was hardly culpable for his teary-eyed cheerleaders. Some critics - mostly letter writers and call-in nuts - blamed the players for betraying their leader. And so the media have been a scapegoat for OSU's loss of one of its favorite sons.

Well, the time has come for a little soul searching for corporate level college sports. The front -office salaries are extraordinary; the cost of a single ticket that doesn't require binoculars is out of reach of many fans; and the media, now accused of hounding Tressel, contribute to the fantasy that the game is something more than a game. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in Buckeyeville, where one or two losses a year on the gridiron is not a winning season.

Ever wonder why Columbus doesn't have an NFL team? They already have one on the campus. And Tressel, the coach who could do no wrong, showed us how it was done, with a little tweaking here and there.

Don't fret, Buckeye fans. The big guys down there will make sure Tressel's avatar will take over from here.

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