He’s vested no more...
that’s a shame

June 9, 2011

There’s an old saying, “True courage falls extinct when those with vision fail to seek.”

It’s been about three years since I wrote about Novi’s Alex Lyall, a terrific golfer who had the fortitude to call a penalty stroke on himself during the US Junior Golf Championship in Augusta, Missouri. At the time it looked like it would cost him dearly.

But did it? His magnanimous act generated great notoriety, and more positive attention than if he’d won five tournaments.

More importantly it showed that winning is a phenomenon that crosses several spheres, and the final scoreboard is merely one aspect.

This week Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel was unceremoniously removed from his position, under the white hot spotlight of the national media. In other words, “The Vest” and his era, has ended.

There is no denying that Tressel was successful. His teams won seven Big Ten Titles, they were ranked #1 in the nation fifteen times and they made it to three BCS Championship games (winning one). Meanwhile they were 9-1 against their arch rival, the Michigan Wolverines.

Additionally, Tressel was a gentleman... Polite. Dignified. Elegant… I know, I’ve met him.

But there was an underlying issue that caused his unraveling. In the highly competitive, commercialized, over-saturated world of college athletics the pressure to win got the best of him.

I refuse to excoriate Tressel, he was part of a bigger machine, and he was essentially doing his job. In essence, he was willing to do whatever it took to win. Now, he pays a severe price. Was it worth it?

“Whatever it took to win,” meant covering up and withholding information from his bosses that included numerous favors for players. They are too copious to mention in this column, but are certainly well publicized to the point that tattoo parlors in Columbus are now nationally famous…or infamous.

Tressel though, was a winner.

But was he?

It turns out that sometimes when you win, you lose… And vice versa.

Ironically, Alex Lyall still made the cut in that Junior National tournament and advanced, but he’ll be remembered for the decision he made when no one was watching. It was the utmost display of character.

Will Jim Tressel advance? What happens next? I refuse to pile on this man, it just doesn’t feel right.

When everyone was watching, his winning percentage was almost 90%. But with no one watching, it was a different story.

How will Jim Tressel be remembered?

“True courage falls extinct, when those with vision fail to seek.”

(c) 2011 BernieFratto.com