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Posted on Mon, May 30, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Jim Tressel's resignation closes an era in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry

By Michael Rothstein

We come here today to close out another era in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.

As Jim Tressel leaves Ohio State under a shroud of scandal, this latest era of the biggest rivalry in college football is over. The iconic sweatervest, the one that tormented Michigan for the past decade, is gone, resigning early Monday morning.

Make no mistake. This is a burial, a funeral to celebrate or mourn the end of a section of this rivalry. If you’re Michigan, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for since Tressel took over in Columbus. If you’re Ohio State, you’re wondering what’s next.

Tressel’s 9-1 record against Michigan won’t grow. His slow torture of the Wolverines won't continue.

Tressel took over the Buckeyes during a period of Michigan dominance in the rivalry, with the Wolverines having a 10-2-1 record immediately prior to his hiring. Then he promised to beat Michigan in one of his first public speeches on the job.


Jim Tressel (left) was 3-0 against Rich Rodriguez (right) and 9-1 overall against Michigan. file photo

And he did. And did. And did. He started in 2001, beating Michigan in Ann Arbor, 26-20, and rarely letting up, losing only in 2003, 35-21, in Ann Arbor.

Even as Tressel dealt with this ongoing controversy earlier this month, he acknowledged the hiring of Brady Hoke at Michigan was good for the rivalry. But he’ll never get to coach against him.

“Hopefully (it closes out the era), to say the least,” former Michigan tight end Bennie Joppru said by phone Monday. “It’ll be interesting to see how the Michigan fans want to remember this timeframe, whether they want to have an asterisk by it or what.”

The reality is simple.

Tressel, whether he cheated or not, won. He won big.

He dominated at Youngstown State and then owned the Big Ten at Ohio State the past decade, winning or sharing seven conference titles and reducing the rest of the Big Ten into settling for second place with a 106-22 record.

Every Big Ten program except Iowa and Penn State has changed coaches at least once since Tressel started in 2001. Ohio State was always the program the rest of the Big Ten was compared against.

Now, it has to start over. At least for the time being, that happens with 37-year-old interim coach Luke Fickell, who has never been a Division I head coach.

Hoke vs. Fickell — the first time both Ohio State and Michigan will have new coaches in the same year since 1929, when Michigan’s Harry Kipke and Ohio State’s Sam Willaman took over — doesn’t have the same cachet as Hayes vs. Schembechler or Carr vs. Tressel or even Rodriguez vs. Tressel.

Yet this is where the Ohio State-Michigan game is as it ushers in a new section to this yearly story.

“I’m sure it changes things,” former Michigan offensive lineman Steve Schilling said Monday. “But it changed when coach Rod was here and it’ll change now that coach (Brady) Hoke is back.

“But I’d say coach Tressel is a huge figure in college football.”

'Is' no longer exists with Jim Tressel. ‘Was’ is now the correct context with him and Ohio State.

Of course, by the time the investigation into Tressel and Ohio State concludes, it’s highly possible Tressel’s era at Ohio State may end up as ‘non-existent.’

Michael Rothstein covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by email at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein.



Tue, May 31, 2011 : 6:25 p.m.

In the pix above with RR and the Vested One, it looks like the snarky looking RR is telling Tressel that RR's outfit is much more snazzier than Tressel's despite losing to Tress for 3 years in a row.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 3:06 p.m.

My genie in a bottle is working. I wanted sweater/vest gone, and the magic pixies kicked his @)_*&. There really wasn't any other possible ending for this Ohio guy with the big bragging mouth. He deserved a major whooping and the football gods finally gave him one. His arrogance has long annoyed me personally. So at least for a little while we will enjoy some peace. Darth Vader has left the Columbus campus, but what villain is waiting in the wings?


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 6:21 a.m.

"... it's highly possible Tressel's era at Ohio State may end up as 'non-existent.'" - What does that mean? If I understand it right, there may be more revealed about the Ohio State program which might cost them a chunk of forfeitures. Just guessing: what is the biggest "cheat" going in sports now? -- it's performance enhancing drugs (and / or blood doping). To be clear, I don't believe Lance Armstrong's "strongly indicated" use of EPO is actually cheating - not in that particular sports competition. Lance wasn't gaining an advantage IF he used PEDs, he was CATCHING UP with other riders, including all of his chief rivals in those seven Tour de France wins. If L.A. hadn't won with PEDs, then some other guys would have won - WITH PEDs. College football as least appears to be different in that regard. I don't believe PED use is widespread in NCAA football. But there COULD BE one or two (or so) programs getting away with (for example) using EPO or blood doping. In view of what's been found so far down in Columbus, it wouldn't be surprising to hear that Tressel's sweater vests have been stuffed full of EPO ampules and or pints of stored players blood. I'm not at all concerned that Michigan will not have the chance to beat Tressel anymore. NO - beating an expert cheat is a fool's ideal. Tales of King Arthur, Republicans are honest, Ohio State runs a clean program: all are myths clung to by those in need of assurance they are on the right side and their opinions have validity and meaning. Michigan's destiny turned the corner toward restored glory when Brady Hoke came on board. That destiny came another step closer with the resignation of Cheating Jim Tressel. Hoke's chances of beating the Buckeyes in his first year just increased by at least 50 percent. I'll take that over crying about "lost chances" against an illegitimate opponent.

Blu n Tpa

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

"Personally, I don't understand why a player can't sell items that belong to him?" Well, did TP pay for the shoulder pads and helmets he signed and traded/sold? Didn't he sign a document stating he knew the NCAA rules on selling jerseys, shoes, etc and that he wouldn't do it? If you have a company car, can you sell it when you need some extra cash or would you get fired and possibly go to jail? Jim, want to think that through a little bit more? He made a deal with his school. It's just in this case, the school was lying too.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

I'm not sure why anyone is surprised that this was going on at Ohio State, because it goes on at just about every school in the country. Tressel screwed up by actually having a paper trail and getting too involved with these matters. In most schools, the Head coach has the assistants do the dirty work and keep their nose clean. Athletes receiving cars and cash has been going on for the last 20+ years. If someone doesn't think it is going on at their school in at least one sport, then they aren't looking hard enough. Swimming, tennis etc. If you look hard enough, you will see multiply NCAA violations in many sports. USC, Texas, MIAMI, you can look at any big school and see this stuff going on.... Personally, I don't understand why a player can't sell items that belong to him.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 3:27 a.m.

If it's proven that he cheated and they go back to the five-year SOL, does that make Tressel's record against Michigan 4-1 or 4-6? Honestly, he cheated to get the players he got and therefore his record against Michigan should be 0-10. He will still get rewarded for cheating; the question is exactly how much?


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

I am waiting to see if this will have any effect on there Football program and what might Pryor do now that his backer is no longer there


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

All this talk by fans of tsio saying Urban Meyer bought a house near Columbus is just If you don't believe me then just Google it. Everything comes up as "I heard it from 2 reliable sources". No-one has any concrete evidence. It's desparate, wishful thinking on their part. Nobody wants to be down, so they invent this story about a savior swooping in and rescuing them out of some dire predicament. I want to hear it from the horses mouth. Not the horses......well you know what I mean.


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

Gene Smith didn't look very convincing on the news clips this evening. He looked like he was hiding something. He should have known something was going on. Perhaps he should also leave.

Terry Star21

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 12:27 a.m.

No one is 100% sure he wasn't hiding, i.e. - did tressel first go to him upon learning what the players had done !


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

I don't celebrate his resignation. Actually, I find it rather cowardly to sneak out on Memorial Day rather than to face the investigation. I would much rather have seen Michigan beat Tressel's team on the field. The sad part is, I'm sure that there are some OSU fans who will find that everything was worth it. Having seen OSU be an elite team and embarrassing Michigan year after year must have brought (and probably still does bring) a lot of satisfaction to some fans. I know that while I am neither proud nor happy with the Ed Martin - U/M Basketball scandal, I still have some fond memories of watching one of the most competitive & entertaining teams that have taken the court.


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

NEWSFLASH: Even though not contractually compelled to, Ohio State could still offer Tressel money to leave the job. Athletic director Gene Smith did not immediately respond when asked about the terms of the resignation. An addendum to the contract does provide for Tressel to resign and to continue to be employed by Ohio State. The paragraph, added to the contract in 2010, permits Tressel, if he resigns for any reason, to become an associate athletic director at a salary of $150,000 per year. Section 5.3f does stipulate that Ohio State can void that portion of the agreement. From The Detroit News: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;The more things change the more they stay the same&quot; No, it wasn't a lopsided UM-OSU rivalry but a CHEATING rivalry on Tressel's part.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 6:28 p.m.

Are not is.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 6:28 p.m.

RWBill, Very true. I believe AD Smith and Resident &quot;Bow Tie&quot; Gee is also complicit, too and they should be fired and never to hold any jobs on a collegiate level.


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

Isn't it peculiar that the ability for a follow on job was added in 2010, when all this was about to burst? Well, no, not really.


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

One reason why Tressel was able to do so well against Michigan is that he won the recruiting war in the state of Ohio, where there is so much talent. In the past, U-M got its share of of the best players in Ohio. Under Tressel, Ohio State owned almost a monopoly of the best players. Under U-M's most recent coach, U-M hardly even competed for them, which made OSU even stronger. With Brady Hoke's background, he'll make it more of a recruting war again and U-M should narrow the talent gap by getting more of the top players from the state of Ohio. At least that's what I think will happen.

Ann English

Tue, May 31, 2011 : 12:20 a.m.

You reminded me of Craig Krenzel, who was from Sterling Heights, Michigan, but chose to play football for the Buckeyes. He helped them win the Fiesta Bowl in 2004, and was the only team member from the state of Michigan. Lloyd Carr was coaching the Wolverines at that time.

1st Down

Mon, May 30, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Tressel Cheated Mike....and it DOES matter. How do you separate the facts from the &quot;truth&quot;? Look at Tressel's record and history with violations over his entire career, now punctuated by his getting caught lying about it. Suppose that somehow he didnt get caught lying...well that doesnt excuse the cheating....he only quit to try to save Ohio from serious violations... but the fact is that if he had not been caught, he would never have quit... and he would still be down there cheating to beat all opponents, not just &quot;tormenting Michigan&quot;. The past 10 years for Ohio are bogus and tainted....this is the truth. Undisputed. Go Blue. This is Michigan.


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

I don't understand why some had the impression that Tress was the epitome of integrity before this. His record at YSU and OSU is filled with special car deals and benefits not available to the average student. He knowingly used players all season that he knew were DQ'd according to NCAA rules, in the process signing an NCAA afidavit that he knew of no infractions in the program. I expect some severe penalties will be coming the way of Columbus. And they take a long time to conclude, during which OSU twists in the wind while Tressel has long since vanished with millions, eventually to resurface to resurrect some program.


Tue, May 31, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

Right. I read the SI story and I expected worse revelations. I was surprised his lack of integrity was going on in his previous programs. Makes you wonder why OSU, or any major level school would take a chance on him.

Scott Gromnicki

Mon, May 30, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

Follow my Michigan blog Everyone <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Go Blue Forever!!!

John B.

Mon, May 30, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

Another &quot;Christian&quot; hypocrite is exposed for what he really is. Big surprise - not! Sounds like maybe his karma ran over his dogma. I suppose the National Felons League will welcome him with open arms?

Stephen Landes

Mon, May 30, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

I would rather we beat OSU on the field, but I can certainly accept this as a fitting end to the Tressel era. We will never know how many of the players at that school to the South were attracted by what appear to be substantial unauthorized benefits. Who did Michigan play against that wouldn't have been on the field but for those extras? So, there is no replaying the past, the Tressel record on the field stands, and we just have to pick up where we left off and beat them this Fall.


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

Not meaning to disagree, but to me, if you have to cheat to win, its not valid. During my years of investigation riff raff, I found that if you find inappropriate behavior in one area, it is common in many others.

Darth Pablo

Mon, May 30, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

Makes me wonder what Urban Meyer is doing today. Shopping for scarlet and gray clothing perhaps?


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

OSU, I won't be to harsh today. I feel Michigan got cheated. I want Tressel to remain at OSU. I want to beat him, like he beat the Wolverines. But that won't happen now. Now don't get me wrong, I want to beat OSU and whoever leads them. OSU don't get to smug, about Michigan's past transgressions, especially RR's NCAA punishment for practicing too much. As I have said before, who gives a hoot about Pryor and company selling their belongings? And in the end I don't think anybody would have cared, but the apparent cover up is what did Tressel in. If you make a mistake, man up, be truthful and take your medicine. It will be much better in the long run.


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

Now owns a house in Upper Arlington that might suggest something


Mon, May 30, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

How about Dantonio? An osu guy.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, May 30, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

This is not a happy day. First, coaches like Schembechler, Moeller and Carr would say in order to be the best you have to beat worthy opponents. Focus from within. In that vein, we welcome quality opponents like Tressel. Second, Tressel cheated. He knew his players were receiving extra compensation and did nothing about it. He turned a relatively minor violation into a serious one. It's serious because his inaction meant players knew they could receive that extra compensation, and that gives the school an unfair recruiting average. It is conceivable that Ohio State will have to forfeit victories. Who knows, maybe the worst coach in Michigan's history will retire undefeated against our biggest rival?