Tressel Resignation Hot Topic In Sports

Even with two professional leagues staging championships, Major League Baseball in full swing and plenty of other summer sports on the national landscape, the resignation of OSU football coach Jim Tressel might have been the biggest story of all this week. Many national sports figures have been asked about the situation, with most pledging support to the embattled coach.

Anyone who doubted the importance of Ohio State football in the national scheme of the sporting world had little reason to continue after the resignation Monday of football coach Jim Tressel.

Those in the sports world who have been tasked with putting the departure in perspective range all the way up to someone who should have better things on his mind – Akron native and noted Ohio State fan LeBron James.

James – who has spent time mentoring OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who is involved in many of the claims that eventually led to Tressel's situation – was asked about Tressel in a pregame news conference before his Miami Heat beat Dallas on Tuesday night in the first game of the NBA Finals.

"It's unfortunate," said James, who has hinted in the past he might have played at OSU had he not skipped college entirely for the NBA. "He's done some great things for the university. It's unfortunate what allegations and things have come out in the past year, not only with the players. Everyone in Columbus and Ohio knows how important, how great he was for the university.

"The university will come back. It's one of the greatest universities we have in America. They will figure something out."

Another famous Ohioan was also tasked with giving his opinion, though the fact that OSU alum Jack Nicklaus was asked was no surprise.

Nicklaus is largely considered one of the great sportsmen of his era and is often asked his opinion on all subjects Buckeye. Hosting his annual press conference two days before his PGA Tour event, the Memorial, begins in nearby Dublin, Nicklaus was asked about Tressel's plight with the very first question.

"Well, obviously, the cover-up was far worse than the act," Nicklaus said. "And once you got the cover-up, it became a situation where Jim had to say some things that weren't exactly truthful. That's where he got himself in trouble. I feel very bad for Jim. He's a nice man."

Meanwhile, coaches from across the country have generally pledged support to Tressel, who won four national championships at Youngstown State and then won 106 games and another title during 10 years at Ohio State.

"I guess if you were in the military, we would say we lost a fine comrade in this whole thing," Alabama coach Nick Saban said at the SEC spring meetings. "He's a good friend. He's been somebody that I've had a tremendous amount of respect for for a very, very good number of years. We kind of grew up together in coaching."

Saban, who went to college at Kent State and later coached at Michigan State, added, "I'm from the Big Ten – Ohio, Michigan, places I've spent time in coaching – and we crossed paths quite a bit. I always had a tremendous amount of respect for Jim Tressel as a person and professionally – the way he sort of handled his business with a lot of class and character."

Mack Brown, a coach to whom Tressel was often compared given his winning ways, off-the-field respect and job security at Texas, was also encouraging.

"He's done a lot of great things in college football, and I know he'll be a Hall of Famer at some point," Brown told the Austin American-Statesman.

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has made his distaste for Ohio State clear since taking over in Ann Arbor in January, but he found the time to issue a statement lauding Tressel.

"I have great respect for Jim Tressel and what he has accomplished during his coaching career," he said. "We enjoy competing in 'The Game' and have great respect for our rivals in Ohio. Our program looks forward to the last weekend of November."

Finally, the coach against whom Tressel earned his final victory at Ohio State has also spoken out. Arkansas mentor Bobby Petrino was asked about Tressel at the same event as Saban, and the comments were published on Brett McMurphy's blog on

"I can't say I was surprised but I feel for him," Petrino said. "When something like that happens you never like to see it. I feel for him, his family. It affects a lot of other people in the state and the university, so you feel for all those people."

However, Petrino also said he wasn't sure why six players suspended for the opening of the 2011 season were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl, helping Tressel get his last victory as a Buckeye.

"There's no question that I don't understand how they were eligible to play in the game," he said. "I just don't and I never will."

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