Promises Kept: No Juniors Declare for NFL Draft

Written January 19th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

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Back around Christmastime, when the “Tattoo-gate” situation emerged, one of the issues that most people thought once the suspensions had been deferred to 2011 was “They’ll all go pro and there won’t be any punishments at all”.

So great was this concern that Coach Tressel was asked directly about it during his pre-Sugar Bowl press conferences. His response; “They’re coming back… if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be here.”As the events of the week continued, it became known that Coach had required all of the student athletes involved to make a pledge to him to return for their senior seasons as a part of a “plan” for learning and making things right with the NCAA and with the team.

Of course, during the pregame chatter and even as a part of the coverage of the Buckeyes’ win, the sports “talking heads” continued to mock this covenant, saying that Tressel was “naive” for trusting in these young me in this way.

And then, we find out that they kept their word.

Our kids want to finish their degree and their commitment at Ohio State. That is very important to each and every one of them, and to our staff and entire athletics family.

While these are  more reasons to praise The Vest (that he has created an atmosphere where a person’s word was valued; that he would work to come up with a teachable moment for these young adults), it is also interesting to hear the silence that echoes from the usual media pundits.

Other than CBS’s Jerry Hinnen, we haven’t heard anything from the other folks who were so adamant that this was a mistake and would blow up in Ohio State’s face. Here’s his take-

That’s not an insignificant deal. Yes, all five players reportedly promised Jim Tressel they’d return before getting the controversial OK to play in the Sugar Bowl, but it’s one thing to make that promise. It’s another to keep it with hundreds of thousands of dollars available in the draft and a five-game suspension waiting on the other side of the offseason.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg has weighed in on this matter, and we appreciate his honesty and willingness to admit he misjudged this situation:

There are times when those of us in the media need to admit we’re wrong, and this is one of those times. After the suspension bombshell last month, I had a hard time believing the players would return simply because of a verbal or written promise to Tressel. There are no binding agreements in cases like these. Players can ultimately do what they want.

Turns out, Ohio State won the Sugar Bowl and all five players kept their word. Buckeyes fans flooding my inbox are demanding that national media members apologize and praise the suspended players for their display of integrity.

I can’t control what my media colleagues do, but I’ll fully admit I underestimated Tressel and his influence on his players. If these guys didn’t care about disappointing their coach, at least one if not more would be entering the draft. Pryor and the others didn’t want to let down The Vest, and that’s very significant.

I don’t know how many other coaches could do what Tressel did in this situation, especially when some of the players have opportunities to get paid at the next level.

Again, while this may come from a biased perspective and scarlet and gray glasses, I’m continually encouraged by the decisions made in this situation.  Again, we were hoping…

…that this will be a learning moment for everyone involved. Given what we know about the coaching staff, athletic department, and Ohio State community, we are confident that this is more than likely; but this requires full investment on behalf of the persons in question.

In a culture that’s continually looking for the quick fix and the easy answer (or “easy story”, if you’re a sportscaster), it’s refreshing to think that maybe, just maybe, there are places where a person is encouraged to be “a better man“, and one who keeps their word.

6 Comments

  1. Lurking_MichaelNo Gravatar
    January 19th, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Integrity FTW!

    “This is a special group of seniors.” – Jim Tressel after our BCS bowl victory in January of 2012.

    [Reply]

  2. EricNo Gravatar
    January 19th, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Michael said it best – FTW indeed!

    [Reply]

  3. nothingbutlimericksNo Gravatar
    January 19th, 2011 at 11:58 am

    THE SUGAR BOWL FIVE
    Coach Tressel made the Five say,
    They’d stay if they wanted to play,
    The promise, of course,
    Coach could not enforce,
    But the Five – they decided to stay.

    [Reply]

    Lurking_MichaelNo Gravatar
    January 19th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Well played, sir.

    [Reply]

  4. BuckEyeNo Gravatar
    January 19th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I guess I won’t hold my breath waiting for Colin Cowturd to admit he was wrong…

    [Reply]

    Greg N.No Gravatar
    January 19th, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    what about Herbie?

    [Reply]

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