Chris Spielman: “I’ve heard through players, former players, that TP operated and was allowed to operate by his own set of rules.”June 1, 2011 – 8:30 am by Steven Cuce
In the following interview you will hear a fired up former All-American Ohio State linebacker and Pro Bowl player for the Detroit Lions stemming from Jim Tressel’s resignation and a recent Sports Illustrated story regarding more trading of memorabilia from former OSU players. Spielman is upset, angered and from my perspective even embarrassed with all the happenings that have occurred at his alma mater over the past few months and would like to let Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith know that he must have been naive after the first investigation the university conducted before a Sports Illustrated investigative piece came about regarding former OSU players selling or trading memorabilia for tattoos, cash and drugs.
Spielman is also fed up with Terrelle Pryor along with believing that Ohio State will be suffering the consequences of this team’s action now for years to come. Spielman wants nothing but the best for his alma mater. He soon realized the best option for the Buckeyes was to have Jim Tressel resign and move forward from all the turmoil that continues to surface and plague this legendary college football program.
Chris Spielman joined WBNS in Columbus with Mike Ricordati and Scott Torgerson to discuss Jim Tressel resigning, why Jim Tressel resigned now, potential sanctions for Ohio State football, what he would do with Terrelle Pryor and becoming an assistant coach for interim football coach Luke Fickell.
Your thoughts on Jim Tressel resigning?
“Well it’s not happy. I’m saddened by it. I hate to see people go through turmoil and you have a pretty good track record over the years for probably 95% of your career doing things the right way and being a positive influence on kids and winning football games and winning championships, but you make one poor decision and there’s severe consequences.”
Why did he Jim Tressel resign now? Why the timing? Why now and not a month ago?
“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.”
Why is your opinion that the sanctions for Ohio State should be similar if not harsher than USC’s?
“I thought it was mentioned in the press conference that Gene Smith and the people involved in the press conference said there was a thorough investigation and we don’t have a systematic problem. We have five guys, who are rogue guys, that made a poor choice off the field. That’s what I thought I heard, but then when it comes out that you have 60 guys involved in whether it is legit or not car deals. You have 28 guys according to Sports Illustrated that could be believed to be selling memorabilia for guns or not guns, drugs, tattoos and cash. I mean over a long period of time. Now that seems like a systematic problem to me. I don’t know what is sounds like to you? To me that’s a problem. I don’t want this. No one wants this. That’s not even an issue. Coaches can’t be held responsible for idiot decisions that kids make. Men. Selfish decisions that young men make. The thing that bothers me is the drugs. Who would of thought that you were selling your stuff to a drug dealer or at least a guy that deals in drugs that drugs wouldn’t be involved? Oh there were no drugs involved. Here in Sports Illustrated is reporting that they are having hash parties [make your own judgement on what he says for that word] from the second floor of a tattoo parlor. Are you kidding me? What kind of investigation did we do?”
If you were the folks at Ohio State what would you do with Terrelle Pryor? Did he play his last game at Ohio State?
“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.”
Would you ever become an assistant coach to help Luke Fickell out?
“I would do anything in the world to help Luke Fickell out and do anything for him, but my obligation is to what I do now, what I do for a living now and to my four kids. I’m basically starting a new life and the one thing that I fear is that I would turn into that person I was as a player, which wasn’t all bad don’t get me wrong, but I become consumed and I don’t want to be that guy anymore. That’s what I’m afraid would happen to me to be honest with you.”