Playing the Field: Jim Tressel still a hero at Ohio State

Did I do something wrong? I don't remember.

Former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel disgraced football powerhouse Ohio State by covering up illegal benefits given to star players for 10 years and lying repeatedly about what he knew of the scandal. He was fined $250,000, fired, made OSU ineligible for the postseason for two years and given a four-year “show cause” penalty by the NCAA which might end his college coaching career.

Now let’s hoist him on our shoulders, give him a standing ovation and hail his tenure at Ohio State! Hooray!

That’s seriously what happened at OSU yesterday as the Buckeyes celebrated their 2002 national championship. Tressel was of course the coach that season, when the impermissible benefits began, according to Sports Illustrated.

And yet, there he was at the Horseshoe on Saturday, being celebrated like he retired of his own volition after a Hall of Fame career. He was run out in May 2011. That was 18 months ago! Why on Earth was he allowed back in the stadium?

Truly a surreal moment.

By the way, former correctional facility inmate and OSU running back Maurice Clarett was also at the celebration. He of the $10,000 stereo system and four years in jail was apparently also welcomed with open arms. But, hey, Urban Meyer coached the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record this year … and an early offseason thanks to Tressel.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports. He won’t give you any free tattoos, sorry.


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