Tuesday, April 26, 2011

End of an era? NCAA poised to sack Tressel, Buckeyes

I need to qualify my position as it pertains to the Ohio State Buckeyes, specifically football.

Nearly everyone in Ohio is a Buckeyes fan, including me. It doesn't matter that we attended Kent State, or Ohio University, or Mount Union. At the end of the day, we all root for the Bucks because, well, because we live in Ohio and have so few other opportunities to cheer on a winner.

But deep down, I must confess, that in the case of a Mid-America Conference team playing the Bucks in the Horseshoe, I will always root for the underdog -- the Golden Flashes, the Bobcats or even (gulp) the Falcons.

Last year, I got a real kick out of the Bobcats' mascot -- Rufus -- tackling his Buckeyes' counterpart -- Brutus -- prior to the start of the Ohio-Ohio State game. Please don't tell anyone I feel this way.

If the Golden Flashes would ever beat the football Buckeyes, well, that would be cause for celebration.

Tear down the goal posts.

This will not sit well with most Buckeye fans, who seem to be loyal to a fault. It's why Kirk Herbstreit, former Ohio State quarterback and top college football analyst for ESPN, is moving his family to Nashville. He can't say anything negative about the Buckeyes without taking extreme heat from the O-H-I-O folks.

So, at the risk of Buckeye Nation hating me and forcing me to become Herbstreit's neighbor, here it goes: football coach Jim Tressel should step down.


I certainly don't want to vilify Tressel. I like his style. I've admired his ability to attract top-notch recruits. And he beats the snot out of Michigan every year. There are a lot of good things to say about Tressel.

But in the wake of the NCAA's letter to Ohio State this week, it is apparent that Tressel is destined to become a huge distraction for the program. He lied to the NCAA when he signed off on a document that wanted affirmation that Ohio State's program was clean. Tressel knew darn well when he signed the document that the Buckeyes were in violation of NCAA rules.

The NCAA has scheduled a hearing in August, which means that Ohio State fans will be talking about sanctions and recruiting problems rather than what they should be talking about -- football. The fact that the Bucks enter the season without their self-suspended coach and five veteran players seems like nothing more than a sidebar now.

Tressel had a good run. And he'll be remembered fondly in Ohio State circles for years to come. But he's not as squeaky clean as we thought. None of us are. It makes no matter. It's time to go.

* * *
I'm convinced that Gov. John Kasich does not want a second term. A Plain Dealer story reports that the school districts whose voters supported Kasich are taking big hits in the Kasich budget.

Though it's too early to predict, it's probable that a lot of Republican-leaning school districts will have to place school levies on upcoming ballots just to sustain the levels of education its citizens have come to expect. So, while Ohio balances budgets on the backs of local government, including school districts, Kasich's mantra of no new taxes is really just a process of shifting those taxes.

* * *
We took our annual Easter trip to Chicago to visit with our son, Chris, on his turf. While my wife, Suzanne, battled the rain on Michigan Ave., I settled into a comfortable seat at the Marriott's hotel bar. A couple of young lads -- Kevin and Mike -- sat down next to me and ordered a couple Chi-Town beers.

As it turned out, Kevin and Mike own the brand, Chi-Town, and were excited to visit a customer who had it on tap. It's kind of like a would-be rock star who hears his song on the radio for the first time.

Anyway, the executive chef, Myk Banas, who determines what kind of beer is served at the bar, stopped by to visit with Kevin and Mike and wish them well. Yours truly, who determines whether a beer is good or bad by determining whether it has an aftertaste, ordered up a Chi-Town and was pleasantly surprised -- no aftertaste.

So, we toasted the young entrepreneurs and wished them luck. Who knows? Perhaps they'll be the next Great Lakes or Goose Island.

I ran into Chef Myk a little later and chatted more. He asked for my room number and promised to send up some Chicago "goodies." Sure enough, Chef Myk delivered on his promise. The "goodies" basket included a bottle of wine. Nice gesture.

Oh, and Chef Myk is quite the entrepreneur himself. He maintains a bee colony on the hotel's ninth floor roof and uses the honey the bees produce in many of his recipes. A local TV station's report on his initiative is here.

Got some of that honey, too, in the "goodies" basket.

OK, so this is a plug. If you're in Chicago, consider staying at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, which now ranks No. 1 on my Chicago hotel scorecard. In addition, try the Chi-Town beer if you're near a tap system that offers it.

* * *
You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter (dfarrell_dover). And you might find it easier to leave a comment on the Facebook link to this piece.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I did not think so at first but as it is unfolding, Coach T has to fish or cut bait, not looking good when we Buck fans start to question.

NCAA is the real problem, are all these players getting 'stuff' from a rich uncle, we all know.