A few hours after Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State football coach on Monday, Tressel’s predecessor at the school appeared on a local Columbus television station to offer his thoughts - and pointed criticism - about the cratering state of a once-proud program.
John Cooper, who ran a major NCAA violation-free Ohio State football program from 1988-2000 and was succeeded by Tressel in 2001, did not absolve his successor from blame during his guest spot on WBNS-TV. But the former Buckeye coach, who still makes his home in Columbus, aimed most of his criticism for the school’s NCAA woes at the Ohio State compliance department.
After calmly reiterating Tressel’s grievous deeds, Cooper became heated when he unloaded on those charged to police the OSU program for NCAA rules violations:
“Compliance is not doing their job when this kind of stuff happens and they act like they don’t know about it. When I was coaching over there, compliance was around everywhere. It’s almost like they were trying to find us violating a rule.”
About his former employer, that remark qualified as the first Cooper comment that could be considered even remotely controversial since he departed the school over a decade ago. And for four of Cooper’s 13 seasons, I covered the Buckeyes for WBNS radio in Columbus and can confirm that the coach was not delusional in his assessment.
Why did Cooper suffer more scrutiny than Tressel by his own school?
For the same reason he was unceremoniously dumped by Ohio State after a 111-43-4 run between 1988-2000.
And the same reason it took so long for Tressel to be unceremoniously dumped by the school despite committing cardinal NCAA sins against the same progam.
Cooper’s record against Michigan was 2-10-1.
Tressel’s was 9-1.