When you are the target of an investigative reporter who happens to be the most recent sports journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize and his nickname is ‘the pitbull,’ you are in trouble.
A few weeks ago as Jim Tressel was getting a vote of confidence from his superiors, Sports Illustrated senior writer, George Dohrmann, arrived in Columbus to investigate the allegations surrounding Jim Tressel and the Ohio State football program.
Dohrmann documents his findings of improprieties that go back to 2002 and are much wider than previously disclosed by Ohio State.
Dohrmann alleges that over 40 players received improper benefits, mostly getting free tattoos in exchange for memorabilia and autographs, but that some players traded for marijuana, cars and cash. He also points out that during Tressel’s career at both Youngstown State and Ohio State, his top four star players have all been suspended by the NCAA due to infractions, and two of the players ended up in prison, with Tressel claiming he knew nothing about their misgivings.
Up to 50 players are also being investigated for the purchase of cars from two different dealerships in Columbus. The same salesman is ironically involved in most transactions. Ohio State quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, who is suspended for the first five games next year, is at the center of the auto controversy. Pryor is alleged to have had up to eight cars in the last three years and has had three speeding tickets, all of which came while driving a different ‘loaner car,’ from the salesman.
When Dohrmann contacted Ohio State last Friday and informed them of what he was going to post/publish and was looking for a comment to the allegations, Ohio State told SI to contact Tressel’s lawyer for comment and clammed up themselves.
The thorough investigative piece is the cover story of the June 6 edition of SI, but you can read it online here.
Ohio State hopes that by laying the blame at the doorstep of Tressel, they can avoid NCAA sanctions for the dreaded ‘lack of institutional control.’ All of these infractions got by the Ohio State compliance staff of eight full-time employees, which happens to be the largest compliance staff of any University in the country.
Dohrmann comments on his story here: