Bob Knight defends Jim Tressel on Mike & Mike

  • 03/09/2011 10:50 am in

Ohio State football and more specifically Jim Tressel, as you might know, has been in the news the past few days.

And former Indiana coach and ESPN analyst Bob Knight, adamant follower of all NCAA guidelines, took to the airwaves to defend his friend Tressel this morning on Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio.

His comments can be described as nothing less than hypocritical for a man who prided himself for always running a clean program while in Bloomington. Witness:

“There is no coach in college sports that’s a better example, in my mind, of what coaching is all about and what it should be and how things should be done than Jimmy Tressel. He has done a great job at Ohio State, not because he’s won a lot of games, but because he has won a lot of games doing things the absolute right way. And I think that he would be at the top of the heap when it came to picking guys that did things the way they were supposed to be done. There isn’t anybody who is better in that regard than Jim Tressel is.”

Pressed by Mike Golic with the information that Tressel was made aware of potential NCAA violations within his program and failed to report them, Knight offered this response:

“Well then, if that is the case. And that really impresses me that with a Notre Dame degree you are so conversant with all of this. But seriously Mike, if that is the case and then it comes to my attention, then I’ve got to do something about it. And if it did come to Jim’s attention and he failed to do anything about it, then that’s something that he should have taken care of. But that being said, I still say what I’ve said about Jim Tressel and his overall approach to college football.”

Knight was then asked if he agreed with the punishment (a two-game suspension and $250,000 fine) handed down to Tressel on Tuesday evening by Ohio State:

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I think if something like that comes up, it is not the most noticeable of rules. It’s a rather obscure rule. And they’ll say, ‘well, he should know all of the rules.’ Nobody, God himself, could not quote every rule in the NCAA law book. In fact, God would call on the disciples to decipher it for him.”

“I think it’s too harsh. I don’t understand why it isn’t just something like, ‘hey, you know, let’s just get it taken care of, get this resolved and go from there.’ I mean, you played and when you were playing, did your coach know everything that you and your teammates did? No, not even close to it.”

And in one final comment, Golic and Greenburg gave their colleague one final chance to call shenanigans by reiterating that Tressel was made aware of the violations months before they came to life. He had none of it and continued to blindly defend his friend:

“Well, then, that adds some severity to the whole situation. Again, you gotta keep in mind that I’m not conversant with all that took place. But again, I go back to what I said about Jim Tressel. If I was the father of a kid that played football, he’s the kind of coach I’d like for him to play under. And I feel very strongly about that. So if there’s a problem here where he screwed up, he’s not the first coach. Is he the first coach to ever screw something up? No. And I think that taking a coach out of the game is a little bit drastic and something like this, maybe Jim straightened it out at the time. Again, I don’t know all of the details.”


Filed to:

  • George

    I’ve always liked that Knight called out weasels like Calipari for their cheating, and now when it’s a friend of his, he turns a blind eye. Disappointing.

  • George

    I’ve always liked that Knight called out weasels like Calipari for their cheating, and now when it’s a friend of his, he turns a blind eye. Disappointing.

  • Anonymous

    Wow.. I still love the General. However, this is complete and utter BS.

  • Anonymous

    Wow.. I still love the General. However, this is complete and utter BS.

  • nwe.indy

    “Again, I don’t know all of the details.”

    No Bob. You’re just not listening to all the details.

  • Michael

    I thought the same thing as I listened this morning: hypocrite. I also wondered what he would have said if the coach under fire was somebody like Nick Saban or Rich Rodriguez or a John Calipari. He would have ripped those guys to shreds. But not his good buddy, Jim.

  • MillaRed

    As long as RMK gives IU the cold shoulder even though it was his own actions that lead to his dismissal, I really don’t care what he has to say about anything. That goes for anyone that isn’t liking our program.

  • Wiltdoug

    What Knight says is true if you take Tressel’s whole 10 yrs. of work into account.Did O.S.U. gain any competitive advantage from this?Nope.

  • They played ineligible players all season after he knew about their wrongdoings in April.

  • Anonymous

    This is most disappointing because it is a total reversal of everything Coach Knight has always said and stood for. Granted, these aren’t recruiting violations and Tressel didn’t pull a coach cal and drop off a duffel bag full of cash, but coming from a coach who ran clean programs for over 40 years and his vocal past on the subjects of NCAA rules and coaches who have violated them this is mind blowing.

    I hope, for his legacy’s sake, he just stays out of the fray on this one.

  • IUJeff

    Ditto here about Knight and IU. I am tired of hearing the naysayers rip IU. Go away trolls, the band wagon will be back around for you soon enough.

  • Anonymous

    Also, there’s been reports that this has been going on for a long time, which begs the question: How long did Tressel know that this was going on? He was told in April, but if it was a culture thing, I guess it’s possible he’s known for a while.

  • Anonymous

    Knight is stickin up for his friend. I’m sure Knight knows what Tressel did was wrong, but it sounds like he’s going to stick up for his friend no matter what. Is that really so unbelievable?

  • tressel should have gone to OSU counsel if he was told to remain quiet by the feds. He made a bad decision. In the ten years he has been coach, to say this is the worst mistake he’s ever made is saying something. They have always reported violations to the NCAA (they have the largest compliance office in the country) rather than waiting to get caught like other schools. It could have been worse… he could have been Pete Carroll, or Auburn, or Tennessee or Oregon. He’s a class act who was truly doing what he thought was right. People want to take him down because Tressel has always exuded good judgment, and he’s a successful coach who wins games.

    I am disappointed in what he did, and how this played out, but ultimately, this is absolutely nothing compared to other schools. Time to dole out punishment and move on. Next week there will be another school reporting violations for us to rip.

  • he only knew they were being implicated. He had no real proof that they were involved at that time.

  • deedubbadoo

    Comparing what Tressel did to what Calipari does is apples and oranges. Illegal recruiting and pay for play schemes are not even remotely on the same level as kids selling / trading their stuff for goods and services. Yes Tressel absolutely knew about it, but do you honestly think that if he went to the NCAA that they would have held all five of the players out? Did they hold Cam Newton out of the Championship game when he was accused of receiving $180k in cash to play? No. Because we all know that the NCAA is about making money and no one wants to watch the title game without the star, no matter how much trouble he is facing. Not to mention that Oregon seemed to not be on the up and up either, but miraculously neither of these issues effected the title game.

    It would be different if Knight was turning a blind eye on recruiting violations or pay for play schemes, but this is different. Still a violation, yes. Comparing to Cal and other “cheats,” not buying it.

  • HoosierFromCT

    “If you get caught cheating, they should shoot you,” Knight said. “Because you’re too dumb to be alive.” – RMK

  • SeattleHoosier

    Bob who?

  • Casey B.

    First of all, I don’t even care. Knight’s a formerly awesome coach who still acts like a 12-year-old with frequency. I’ll always appreciate what he did for this university, but nothing gives you a free pass to be idiotic as frequently as he is.

    Secondly, Knight has always been an enigma. This really doesn’t surprise me at all. He preached discipline and self control, but couldn’t restrain himself from acting on impulse (see: throwing chair, press conference antics, choking players).

    Bobby does things Bobby’s way. And that’s fine. I, and I think a growing number of IU fans, are tired of resisting every logical impulse to stop caring about Knight anymore. I really try to view him in a positive light despite his passive aggressive acts of distaste toward IU, but it’s getting harder and harder.

    He and Tressel can have each other.

  • RobD

    Exactly. Season should be vacated.

    The really interesting question is, why did those players come back?

    In my opinion, Tressel has more dirt on them. The email where he says he’s looking for “leverage” on them is the mark of an evil genius.

    So they come back, and keep quiet, because Tressel owns them while they’re at Ohio State.

    This is where you see the true purpose of Maurice Clarett, and his value to the Ohio State football program. The thorough discrediting and destruction of his football career accomplished by the program–the guy wound up GOING TO JAIL and missed his prime, all stemming out of his revealing Ohio State’s dirty methods–serves as Exhibit A to guys like Pryor who might be tempted to, or too stupid not to, blow the whistle. Basically the lesson of Maurice Clarett is straight out of a mafia movie: never rat on the family, or we will destroy you.

  • millzy32

    I live in Ohio. The whole state is full of hyprocrites today. It is a joke. I know most on here are so critical of what a certain Kelvin Sampson did but in all honesty how is it worse than what Tressel did? The fact is that Indiana administrators just chose to take a much harder stance on Sampson’s transgressions than OSU is on Tressel’s or for that matter what Tennessee has done with Pearl.

    One thing that we as Indiana fans can say is that our administration’s punishment is tougher than any NCAA sanction but why? OSU likes winning so they keep Tressel and will protect him until they have to get rid of him. Tennessee also likes winning so they have chosen to keep Pearl and await punishment as well. IU on the other hand immediately got rid of Sampson and gave themselves a death sentence type of punishment. Why? Is making too many calls (which isn’t a penalty anymore) worse than hiding the fact that you knew kids were receiving improper benefits or having a party at your house to try to woo a recruit? All three of these joker coaches lied about it when confronted and Tressel is still lying about it as of last night. He had no idea where to go with his information? Please.

    One thing that IU can say is that it runs a truly clean program. We can also say that we are last in the Big Ten in Basketball and Football.

    We are not hypocrites but we are also not winners. The NCAA is a joke allowing all of the OSU guys to play in the bowl for their own profit. They are the biggest hypocrites of them all.

  • millzy32

    Tressel probably drove them all to the Tattoo Shop.

  • A Train

    I think most of us want to view Knight, and what he did for the university and b-ball program in a positive manner, but I agree it is getting harder and harder.

    Knight sticking up for his buddy Tressel and his alma mater, I get that and expect it even though it runs counter to countless RMK comments on running a clean program. That is, and has always been, the dilemna with RMK, and I feel your comment regarding discipline is the best example of the do as I say, not as I do mantra.

    What I can no longer get past is his complete disdain for all things Indiana. Many people still worship him in this state and the administration responsible for his dismissal is long since gone. He is, and has been, in a position to help with the recovery but appears to have no interest in that process but does makes time to speak with the team at Bellarmine college in Louisville or assist Matta with practice drills.

    He was working a game with Musberger during rivalry week and Brent provided an opening for comment on IU versus Purdue, complete silence, would not even say the name, as if he would burst into flames. Was his time at IU, even with the way the dismissal was handled, so awful that he has no fondness for the university or the program.

    I hope he finds a way to “turn the page” someday but we should not collectively hold our breath.

    All that being said, the NCAA can challenge anyone in a contest of hypocracy.

  • Iuboincali

    What is RMK really saying here?

    1. Tressel is a good dude.
    2. The NCAA rulebook is too complex (which he has been saying for 30 years).
    3. He doesn’t know all the details right now, so as a father, he’d still send his kid to play for Tressell.

    I think tO$U should get whalloped for this and hate that RMK keeps picking on IU, but methinks the young Bozich is picking at his father’s favorite bone.

    This takes RMK’s quotes completely out of context.

  • hoosierincbus

    Knight is childish. Knight is loyal.

    I think we all can agree with this. After reading his comments, these 2 things still ring true.

  • InTheMtns

    The “he didn’t know who to report it to” is a pretty silly argument. As is Coach Knight’s argument that the NCAA has so many confusing rules that no one knows what they say.

    Ohio State, like every university’s athletic department has Compliance staff that is well paid and well versed in NCAA rules. One of the major reasons the Compliance staff exists is to answer coachs’ question about the rules. If the Compliance staff are uncertain, they call the NCAA to get interpretations.

    If it was a mystery to Coach Tressel as to who to report it to, all he had to do was go to the Compliance staff. Coach Knight knows that, too. If a coach doesn’t go to the Compliance staff . . . well, maybe the reason for not doing so is in hopes of covering it up.

  • Casey B.

    Here’s the deal Ozzy.

    Of course the players didn’t gain a competitive advantage by selling some stuff. But by selling those items, they compromised their eligibility by breaking an NCAA rule.

    The competitive advantage gained by Tressel’s decision to ignore warnings of NCAA violations stemmed from the fact that by choosing to hide the issue, he made it possible for ineligible players (some very good ones, at that) to continue playing and helping the team win games.

    There’s your competitive advantage. When key players continue to help the team win despite being technically ineligible, that’s pretty much a textbook definition of “competitive advantage.”

    Tressel ignored e-mails from an attorney explicitly notifying him of player activity that violated NCAA rules. He chose to sit on it. I’d say the public blasting he’s receiving is warranted.

    Going beyond this specific incident, there’s a cultural competitive advantage that’s been created at OSU. Prospective players know how athletes are treated there, and it makes it a more appealing destination for blue chip recruits. Once again – competitive advantage.

    And ask yourself this, ultimately – If there were no competitive advantage to be gained from concealing the players’ guilt, why would Tressel choose to hide their missteps? Why not “do things the right way,” has he professes in his own books?

    But you go ahead and keep believing that he’s perfect.

  • marcusgresham

    1.) Bet Knight would blast Tressel if he were the football coach in Bloomington and not Columbus.

    2.) If Tressel didn’t know it was a rules violation he’s a buffoon, because I have absolutely nothing to do with a college athletic department and I know full well a player can’t sell anything of personal value while he’s still eligible.

    3.) The NCAA has a chance to somewhat correct its laughable delayed punishment decision by hammering OSU, but I doubt they will because the Buckeyes make them far too much money.

    4.) If you ever have to appear in court, wear a sweater vest; it automatically reduces your sentence by 75%.

  • Casey B.

    If he were trying to dodge the issue, why wouldn’t he just decline to appear on the show or address the topic? It’s not like Knight’s ever been the one to be pushed into doing something he doesn’t want to do.

  • InTheMtns

    I’m with you, Milla, the longer Coach Knight continues his cold shoulder routine, the less interested I am in his opinions.

    Did you happen to catch Dak’s interview with Coach Mike Davis yesterday? Pretty nice interview. Even though Davis was also fired, he had nothing negative to say about Indiana; in fact, he actually said nice things. He taken full ownership of his “flaws,” has moved on and is all about today.

  • MillaRed

    I did not see that interview but it doesn’t surprise me. If you think about it there really isn’t anything for IU fans to dislike about Davis at this juncture? He was professional the entire time he was here. And I am happy for what he is doing at UAB and I think it’s a better fit for him back in his home state.

  • Anonymous

    How does them getting tattoos help their families?

  • MillaRed

    It cracks me up. Tressel, one of the better coaching minds in all of football, (and many others like him that have been exposed) turn into this “starry eyed I dunno what to do I’m a good guy” BS routine when they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

    Sorry but this is the world we live in. Without these two players OSU does diddly last season and the coach is just as responsible as anyone for failing to report.

    Does that sound familiar folks? “Failure to report.” I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  • MillaRed

    I think it’s clear what RMK has been doing the last few years. Now that Indiana is off his radar he has clung to Ohio State tighter than ever. Perhaps trying to rekindle that legacy.

    He is “tutoring” Thad Matta the week of an IU game. Supporting Tressel in bad times etc. OSU is his school now. No one cares about Army basketball.

    Hey Ohio State, um, you can have him. We have done everything we can to get him in our good graces. As I have told many customers over the years, “I have done everything I can do.” “Everything” means there isn’t more I can give. With that being said, I am moving on. And that was dictated by The General, not by us.

  • MillaRed

    I think many of us feel the same darts.

  • MillaRed

    Unbelievable? No.

    Contradictory? Yes.

  • MillaRed

    No kidding ha ha! Friggin tattoos. My God how dumb do they think we are?

  • MillaRed

    IU did get the death penalty. Not by firing Sampson, by HIRING him.

    We seem to forget the IU administration went out and got this guy regardless of his shady background. Seems to get lost in the discussion.

  • SM

    I absolutely disagree. The football program gains an advantage by allowing them to sell these items. What do you set the limit at? Can they sell them for $1,000? $100,000?

  • MillaRed

    I can only speculate A Train, but lets try to get in The General’s head for a moment…….

    As you point out, many RMK supporters in this state and he knows that. The administration that forced him out is gone (dare I say even deceased?).

    So what is left behind? The Indiana University campus? I mean, what is left behind for him despise? It doesn’t make any sense. He is essentially fighting…..nobody!!! Whatever it is in his mind is an apparition.

    With that being said, I think this whole anti-IU thing is well, dumb. There are a few million people in this state wanting to love the guy and bring him back. He is fighting a war that does not reach beyond his own mirror. I suppose this is his destiny. Good luck with that because I think it’s just a shame.

  • InTheMtns

    In his case, it’s not just “Failure to report.” He also:

    — Signed a document on Sept. 13 that said he was not aware of any NCAA violations (every coach is asked to sign an affidavit type document like this every year).

    — Did not tell school officials of the e-mails when Ohio State learned in early December that five football players had sold memorabilia.

    — Did not tell school officials about the e-mails when they questioned him on Dec. 16 about his knowledge of the memorabilia sales.

    Not just failing to report, more like actively lying about it.

  • MillaRed

    Alex people seem to have trouble comparing this infraction to our ” death sentence.” I would say Pryor and Boom Herron were pretty damn important to that program.

    So if back in Sampson’s last pre-season, if DJ White and Eric Gordon committed the same acts and these were reported, do you think it would have affected that season?

    These kids not only played in the bowl game, they are missing the games that really don’t even matter. The NCAA is like any other money hungry corporation in America. Cash is the top priority. They are almost mafia-like in terms of not caring what it all looks like in the news. Unbelievable.

  • Jeff

    How does allowing players that shouldn’t have been allowed to play NOT constitute competitive advantage? You understand what advantage means right? Also, are you seriously comparing it to Auburn? You do realize that the money they paid Cam Newton’s dad didn’t make Cam any better right? Either way college sports is a cesspool right now and all these schools that are supposed to be institutions of higher learning need to refocus and figure out whether lining their pockets with money is worth sacrificing their values and everything that made college sports special.

  • Anonymous

    Total shame. Can you imagine the vibe if the guy was somehow able to embrace IU and be part of moving things ahead? He doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy who’s into happy endings, though.

  • Jack in Seattle

    Great points. It’s not the first hypocritical stance Knight has taken. Not by a long shot. He did a lot of good for our university, but brought plenty of negative attention as well. He deserves praise for the former, and criticism for the latter.

    As for his choice to divorce himself from IU, so be it.

  • millzy32

    Davis and Lynch are basically the same guy. Both very nice guys that were handed the keys with no real credentials and both found out that they were not the right fit for IU.

    Should either of them been hired? No. Is it their fault? No. That’s on the administration and they tried to take the cheap way out both times by paying the assistant to become the head coach a lot less dough than if they went out and found someone competent.

    For the record Mike Davis and Bill Lynch are both class acts in my book.

    Bob Knight not so much. Bob likes his friends and loathes his enemies. His friends can do no wrong and his enemies can do no right. In the end Bob looks out for what’s best for Bob.

  • millzy32

    If I’m an IU football guy I can’t even buy the ink for a tattoo if I try to sell my memorabilia but if I’m an OSU guy I can get a whole arm full of tattoos with my name, skulls, pretty dragons, my initials, and my baby momma’s name.

    Point is that OSU football players memorabilia is worth something and they saw that and took advantage of it. They went to OSU because of the recognition that they would get for playing there and this is just one of the perks but you have to wait to sell this stuff until after you graduate or leave for other reasons. Most leave for other reasons be it jail or the NFL.

    You had better be one of the people that say Kelvin Sampson got treated unfairly too if you are going to say what you are saying or you are being hypocritical. Do calls give you an unfair advantage? Could Eric Gordon jump higher because he had an extra conversation with Sampson? According to your reasoning above Kelvin also did nothing wrong. Maybe you feel this way and that is your opinion but you can’t have it both ways.

  • millzy32

    He should have been helping out his boy down at Texas Tech. The nepotism train just got derailed down there.

  • millzy32

    You are exactly correct. If IU were OSU we would have suspended Kelvin a few games and then went right back on our merry way. That’s not how IU chose to operate and now we have what we have. I just wish everyone else was as righteous as IU because this type of behavior and slap on the wrist mentality elsewhere makes it much harder for us to compete.

  • millzy32

    Shhh. Not so loud or the NCAA may start investigating Elston. That Tat did get much bigger this year. Maybe it was just because his arm got bigger with the new strength coach.