Former Ohio State linebacker and current ESPN College Football analyst Chris Spielman has now sounded off on the current mess the OSU football program is dealing with, particularly as it pertains to quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The reviews are not exactly glowing.
Spielman says that Pryor essentially received preferential treatment while he has been at Ohio State, and he thinks his career in Columbus is finished:
"I think he’s played his last game. What would I do? I mean I would do a real investigation if it’s true. I don’t know if you guys have heard this. I’ve heard through players, former players, that TP operated and was allowed to operate by his own set of rules. Being late to meetings. Being late to practice. Not showing up for workouts. I don’t know if that’s true or not true. If it is I’m so disappointed in the leaders of the team that allowed that to go on, that allowed a player, not to show up without either confrontation, physical or verbal first, physical if necessary. If the coach or coaches would not back you up in allowing this behavior to go on and him operating by his own set of rules then that is the coaches responsibility, so if he is allowed to continue and if I made that decision that yes he should be allowed to come back after five games it would be under a zero tolerance policy. That would mean if he was two seconds late for a meeting bye, bye. That’s how I would operate. I would have to go by my initial gut reaction to that. I don’t know if you guys heard that or not, but that’s what I heard. He operated under his own set of rules."
Spielman also says he thinks that Tressel should have left the team long before his Memorial Day resignation:
"I don’t know. I think he should of resigned months ago. I don’t like saying that, but you know, you and I talked when I made that statement that I don’t he was going to be coaching next year. There’s a lot of backlash and criticism on that, which is fine. I just think it was the honorable thing to do and I think it’s the honorable thing to do now. I mean you’re held to a high standard in a position of authority and you have responsibility like he has and you make a mistake and you cover it up for a year and you don’t tell the truth no matter your intent…it was still a huge mistake with severe consequences. That’s life. We know that and I think when you are in a position where I watch myself if I sit there and I go out and I preach and talk to people on a daily basis and say this is how to do things. If I don’t do it then I’m going to be held to a higher standard and be called names that Coach Tressel is being called now by certain groups, so in order for him to maintain his integrity of who he says he is the best thing for the university was for Coach Tressel to resign. He had to do that. That’s what’s best for the university and that’s what he stood for in my opinion."
Also, with the constant revealing of new information regarding the Ohio State football program, many outlets are claiming that in today's day and age, you can't win in college football with a "clean" program. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald sounded off on the Tressel situation, and also emphatically disagrees that team's can't put together elite programs without stretching the rules:
"I totally disagree. I respect [that] opinion, but I totally disagree. I believe you can win with ethics, you can win with doing things the right way. Nobody’s perfect though, so let’s not cast stones at glass houses. … At the end of the day, it’s about developing young people that are 17 to 23 years old. When they do make mistakes, I agree you’ve got to teach them and help them through it, but we all should be held accountable for the mistakes we make. … At the end of the day, the ones that get talked about most are the big issues."
Also, two Ohio State journalists were recently threatened after releasing controversial statements from former receiver Ray Small in the school newspaper. The lead editors received hundreds of hate mail, some saying that they would be the most likely to be found dead in the Olentangy River, and some suggesting they would get beat up. Here is what the young men had to say on the situation:
"I did read through most of them, if not all of them. There were definitely more than 100. Some were, ‘Thanks for trying to take down our program.’ For all the fans who reacted negatively, half wanted me to move to Michigan, half wanted me to move to Nashville with Kirk Herbstreit. I wish there would have been a consensus.
"I’ve learned more about journalism and the way the media works in the last 72 hours than I did probably in my first 21 years of living. It’s been a whirlwind."