Fourth and Long

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Anyone that has ever read my column knows that I am a Tar Heel. While my wife has become a tremendous supporter of the UNC football program as well, make no mistake, she is a Buckeye born and bred.

Needless to say, between the NCAA’s investigation into both football programs it has been an interesting year in the Friedman household. Things have recently taken a turn for the worse and it doesn’t look like it is going to be getting better anytime soon.

When it was announced Monday that former Ohio State University Head Football Coach Jim Tressel would be stepping down, I knew that things were about to get really interesting. Little did I know I would begin to get calls and messages from friends checking in on the mental welfare of my pregnant wife and the physical welfare of myself.

It didn’t help that I joked with my wife that the cause of his resignation was the self described “powerful and influential” column I wrote a few months ago calling for his firing.

All jokes aside, even my wife knew that Tressel’s resignation had to happen. The question I can’t seem to get out of my head is…why didn’t the school’s president or athletic director know?

Why had Tressel’s resignation not been demanded when he came forward about lying to…well….everyone?

The news was huge and would not have been any less captivating had it been decided and announced months ago. What could have been avoided however was the perception that the university put winning before integrity and character.

Playing five players in a bowl game that you knew broke rules and put your entire football team at risk by trading memorabilia for cash and services says something about your coach regardless of how stellar his reputation might be.

Retaining a coach that lies to the university, the NCAA and the fans says something about the football program, the athletic director and the university president.

In the midst of an NCAA investigation of your athletic department, this seems less than genius and I don’t imagine will gain them any favors or leniency from the NCAA.

Now it is being reported that uber hyped quarterback Terrelle Pryor, amidst allegations of receiving illegal gifts such as tattoos and cars, showed up to a team meeting Monday in a Nissan 350z with new temporary tags. Not too shabby for a guy that supposedly had his license suspended two weeks ago for failure to produce verification of insurance during a traffic stop.

This just seems plain dumb and irresponsible.

Something tells me that before it is all said and done that “THE University of Ohio State,” as Pryor once called them, is going to get rocked by the NCAA and hasn’t seen the last member or student of the university leave Columbus with their personal belongings in a box.

Don’t tell my wife I said this, but good riddance. Tressel had a good run but he made some really dumb decisions and now it is up to OSU alumnus and new interim Head Coach Luke Fickell to clean up this huge mess.

Someone should tell Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Gene Smith his resignation might go a long way in helping. Or maybe I will just e-mail him a copy of this column.

My wife is going to hate me.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publishing. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at