LINCOLN, Neb– A storied history. Including seven National Championships, 34 Big Ten conference titles and more than 800 wins. The Ohio State Buckeyes football program has been a poster child for power and performance. But today, they are searching for answers amidst allegations, suspensions and a struggling interim head coach.
Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini at The Ohio State University
The biggest name among the Big Ten Leaders Division is in trouble. When Jim Tressel took the reins in 2001, he led the buckeyes to a 7-5 season. Then surged the program back to the top in 2002 as National Champions.The Tressel era yielded six Big Ten titles. But, the real story was just beginning to be told.
In December of 2010, five players were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for exchanging memorabilia for discounted tattoos, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Among a whirlwind of controversy, Tressel started the suspended players in the Buckeyes 31–16 Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas.
On March 8th, the Ohio State University suspended Tressel for two games plus a $25o,000 fine for not informing them and the NCAA that those same five players received improper benefits. This was just the tip of iceberg for the troubles Tressel would face in the future. The university later extended his suspension to five games.
Then, in April, the NCAA filed a letter of allegations saying Tressel knowingly lied about his players and their actions.
The letters also said Tressel used ineligible players during the 2010 season.On May 30, 2011, the heat got too hot for Tressel to handle and he resigned as the Buckeyes head coach.
A week later, a Sports Illustrated story reported at least 28 players had traded used equipment, including championship rings, for tattoos. All occurring during Tressel’s eight years heading the program. On July 8th, Ohio State officials decided to vacate the school’s victories from the 2010 season as a self–imposed punishment.
Just when we thought it was all over? Three more suspensions handed out on Monday, less than a week before Bo Pelini’s alma mater comes to visit. Two of the players, top rusher Daniel Herron and star reciever Devier Posey, were set to come back after serving their five game suspensions. The suspensions were handed down after the players were overcompensated for work they did this summer.
It’s no question the Buckeyes are facing years of rebuilding and a tarnished reputation.
They’ll look to get a head start at Memorial Stadium today at 7pm.