For Ohio State football fans, this morning’s news that Jim Tressel has resigned as football coach is the Buckeye Nation’s, “You remember where you were when you found out…” moment. While I was surprised to find out this morning of his resignation, ultimately this is someting which I believe was inevitable. And while I said that Tressel should have resigned months ago, this is something that I cannot celebrate. It’s just the conclusion that had to occur.
After the initial news of this scandal, and the heat that came on the program, the digging was going to continue. To think that Tressel was ever going to legitimately get this program back under control and restore the sense of pride which Ohio State fans expect was always just wishful thinking.
For the good of the program, there was no other way. Even though I think his handling of this situation lacked integrity, I still think he’s a good guy. These events cannot diminish the wonderful impact that he has had on so many young football players, and the great joy which all Ohio State fans have experienced in watching his team’s success over the last decade.
I don’t feel sorry for Tressel. Today’s news is the result of bad decision’s he made. He lied to the NCAA on multiple occasions. And he lived a lie every single day that he was aware that he had players who had broken the rules, while he carried on with a program with the facade that they were obiding the NCAA’s guidelines when he was fully aware that they were not.
While I don’t feel sorry for Tressel, one person who I do have mixed emotions over is Luke Fickell. Not in the fact that he’s interim coach. There is no one better suited for that roll at this time. Fickell being a former Buckeye football player, and a Columbus native (from my hometown of Westerville), who started 50 games as a defensive linemen from 1993-96, culminating in his final career game where he played with a torn pectoral muscle in the 1997 Rose Bowl win over Arizona State.
I would assume Fickell has dreamed about becoming the Ohio State football coach for a very long time. And now he has it under the worst of circumstances. He has be the interim head coach in a program that is struggling with constant questioning and speculation of who Ohio State will pursue to be the permanent head coach. Meyer? Stoops? Gruden? Pelini? The list continues.
When Ohio State does bring a new coach, will it be a possibility for Fickell to remain on the staff? Even if he’s interviewed for the position and not selected? I would say no. It’s the end of May, he’s become the head coach, but now he may very well have less than one full year to be the top man before being forced out.
It will be interesting to see. For many Buckeye fans, this is a horrible day. The program is going to be all right. Tressel could have left now, or he would have been forced out later as the program kept declining as he continued to lose control. I say now is a better time than in the future, because with him leaving now, the rebuilding process can start and there is one less distraction.