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franklin county times

Tressel exit should have come earlier

Following months of controversy Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel resigned Monday amid allegations that he knowingly covered up violations of NCAA rules by his players. It is a move that is long overdue.

When five players were declared ineligible for part of the 2011 season in December Tressel defended them. In March e-mails were produced that Tressel knew about the violations last April and failed to notify compliance officials at Ohio State.

If it were not bad enough that he knew about the violations, he made the unforgivable mistake of covering up the wrongdoing. That is never a good idea.

Perhaps the worst part of the scandal is that Tressel is known for preaching the virtues of honesty and integrity. At the time when he needed to demonstrate those values the most he tucked them away in pursuit of winning football games.

The pressure is high to win at the collegiate level, especially at a program like Ohio State. But blatantly allowing players to break the rules and then hiding it from the NCAA is something the university should never have allowed.

When the e-mails became public in March, Tressel should have been fired. Instead, university officials — much like Tressel — decided glory on the football field was more important than practicing the values and integrity Tressel wants people, except for himself, to abide by.

Now both Tressel and Ohio State are jokes. Both were once considered examples of how collegiate football should be. Now they both represent the worst of collegiate athletics.