published Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

5-at-10: 'A Few Good Buckeyes' for Tressel, 'Great Expectations' for Shulman

In this Sept. 25, 2010 file photo, Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor, left, and coach Jim Tressel talk during a time out against Eastern Michigan in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)
In this Sept. 25, 2010 file photo, Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor, left, and coach Jim Tressel talk during a time out against Eastern Michigan in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

Remember about the Friday mailbag, and there are still a couple of openings. Anything is fair game: Crying in sports, brave Braves predictions and more. Side note: The 5-at-10 tossed out a possible appearance of Charlie Sheen and even longtime friend of the show pretend Al Davis, but there's too much going on. Sheen and Al will have to take a raincheck, and judging by the conditions, that's apropos — or as the 5-at-10's Nanny used to say, "that's apricots."

Here we go...

You can't handle the truth

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    Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, left, sits next to E. Gordon Gee, Ohio State University president, during a news conference Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State suspended Tressel for two games and fined him $250,000 for violating NCAA rules by failing to notify the school about information he received involving two players and questionable activities involving Buckeye memorabilia. Tressel also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam)

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel sat on information that some of his players were violating NCAA rules by selling gear and memorabilia. Five players — including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor — were suspended in December for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling everything from OSU-issued gear and championship rings to a tattoo-shop owner that was involved in a drug investigation. Tressel was suspended for the first two games of 2011 and fined $250,000. (Somewhere Navin R. Johnson just said, "250 big ones. Give me 50 big ones and let's deposit the other 200 big ones. Alas.)

Anyhoo, Tressel apparently was informed of this in an e-mail in April, and despite his contract stating clearly that he must immediately report any NCAA violations — for the love of Archie Griffith it's underlined in the contract — Tressel decided not to report it.

Why? Because he said he did not want to "interfere with a federal investigation." Seriously? Somewhere Bruce Pearl is saying, "Man, I wish I had thought of that one. That's awesome in its awesomeness."

By all accounts, Tressel is a respected man, and there is always a bunch of hand-wringing and stone throwing when one of college football's power players comes into the NCAA spotlight.

The school has pledged its support for its coach and secret-agent 00-Tressel "plans to grow from this." Really? Tressel has buried a history of rogue habits by staying low-profile and proudly wearing his glasses, a stylish, ho-hum sweatervest and the eternal smugness of THE Ohio State University.

Let's go to the film (or the AP story):

Ray Isaac, a star quarterback at Youngstown State [where Tressel was the coach], accepted improper inducements including cars. Tressel was found to have done an incomplete investigation of those allegations, with Youngstown State later serving penalties. In addition, Maurice Clarett, who led the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship, and Troy Smith, winner of the 2006 Heisman Trophy, were suspended by the NCAA for receiving money and other benefits from boosters.

In May of 2009, The Columbus Dispatch reported that since 2000, Ohio State had reported to the NCAA more than 375 violations — the most of any of the 69 Football Bowl Subdivision schools that provided documents to the newspaper through public-records requests. Most of the infractions were minor and resulted in little or no punishment.

It will be really interesting to see how the NCAA, which appears set to hammer Pearl for lying to investigators, handles the matter with Tressel. We know the NCAA hates lying, now we'll get to see how they feel about simply covering up the truth. Even if it was a federal investigation and apparently a matter of national tattoo security.

In Shulman they trust

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    In this file photo, UTC coach John Shulman watches the UNC Greensboro game at McKenzie Arena on Jan. 27, 2011.
    Staff File Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press

UTC hoops ace David Uchiyama and our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer take a look at the state of the UTC men's basketball program.

UTC athletic boss Rick Hart, who has done a whale of a job in overhauling the sporting Mocs in general, feels the program is "absolutely" on an "uptick." Head coach John Shulman gave his team a "B" for its 16-16 showing this past season that included a 12-6 Southern Conference record and a North Division regular-season title.

Something tells me the fan base does not uniformly support those theories, at least judging by the phone calls to the 5-at-10's office and the chatter on message boards and even somewhat indirectly by the sagging attendance numbers at Mocs home games.

The 5-at-10 enjoyed Uch's story in that it was straight down the middle with the opinions from ultimately the two guys that matter. Weeds' opinion piece is just that, his opinion.

The 5-at-10 does know this: The UTC basketball fan base expects more out of the Mocs men's basketball team than this; they expect more than 16-16, a regular-season division title and a one-and-done in the SoCon tournament, especially when it's in your own arena. It's obvious that UTC feels that this just-finished season was an improvement (as bad as 2009-10 was, that's understandable), but it certainly appears the fans expect more than those running the program.

Which leads us here: Either the fan base overestimates what UTC basketball should be or the powers that be seem to be settling for less than those expectations. Johnny Mocs Fan expects 20-win seasons and SoCon tournament final trips; in seven seasons Shulman is 105-106 against Division I teams, 66-58 in SoCon games and is 2-1 in conference title games.

There seems to be some disconnect, no?

Now it's your turn, MocNation. Send us your thoughts — good or bad — about the state of UTC basketball to sports@timesfreepress.com and we'll run some of the better ones in Sunday's newspaper and some of the others may see the light of day in Friday's 5-at-10.

And remember gang, keep 'em clean.

College hoops update, Volume 7, Chapter 3

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    South Florida's Shaun Noriega (22) drives past Villanova's Maalik Wayns (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big East Championship, Tuesday March 8, 2011, in New York. Noriega scored 22 points as South Florida won the game 70-69. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

— Remember how the 5-at-10 said teams on the bubble are wise to watch scoreboards during tournament time? Well, the Vols' resume was damaged late last night when South Florida stunned Villanova in the Big East tournament. One of the hat-hanging wins on UT's resume was an early-season victory over Villanova, which is now 21-11 overall.

— If you're scoring at home, here are the teams that have punched their NCAA Dance cards:

Arkansas-Little Rock (Sun Belt)

Belmont (Atlantic Sun)

Butler (Horizon)

Gonzaga (West Coast)

Indiana State (Missouri Valley)

Morehead State (Ohio Valley)

Oakland (Summit)

Old Dominion (Colonial Athletic Association)

Saint Peter’s (Metro Atlantic Athletic)

UNC Asheville (Big South Conference)

Wofford (Southern Conference)

— We talked about some of the worst former-athlete commentators a little bit yesterday. Today, we'll quickly cover the best. Runner-up is Jay Bilas, the former Duke player who is the best thing about ESPN's college hoops coverage. And the runaway winner is Charles Barkley. The fact that Barkley and his TNT buddies are going to have some face time covering the NCAA tournament greatly pleases the 5-at-10. It is the ultimate opposite of Barkley's catchphrase of "Tuurrrr-bull."

Braves report, Part II

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    Atlanta Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez, left, tags out New York Yankees' Ramiro Pena at second base during the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

This will normally be its own entry and have a little more to it than this through the rest of spring training, but we're tight on space today. Sue us, and if you want a refund on your free family-oriented, sports-based Intertube web rambling, then you can see our claims department.

The Braves lost 5-4 to the Yankees on Tuesday. Jair Jurrjens was roughed up, but the bullpen accounting firm of Sherrill, Linebrink, Moylan, Proctor and Kimbrel, esq. were pretty nasty — a combined five innings, four hits, one run and seven strikeouts. Sidewinder Peter Moylan K'ed the side in the seventh.

As we discussed yesterday, L-Dub (Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones) is the biggest question mark of the spring. If the former NL MVP is healthy and can get 400 ABs, the Braves are solid top-to-bottom and have a lineup to contend. If not, well, it's anyone's guess.

L-Dub went 0-for-3 against the Yankees, but his numbers are not bad. He's 6-for-23 (.261) with a homer and three RBIs in eight games.

This and That

— The Miami Heat lost to Portland on Tuesday night. They better shape up or there's going to be a Kleenex shortage in South Beach. Plus, Chris Bosh — kind of the Ned Nederlander (Martin Short's character) of Miami's Three Amigos — is hungry for a bigger part of the offense. "Would you say they have a plethora of problems in Miami?" Oh yes.

— Shoutout to Kobe Bryant, who had 26 points in the Lakers' whipping of the Hawks last night. Bryant is now sixth all-time in the NBA scoring. Yeah, stunning right?

— We talked about it yesterday in the 5-at-10 comment section, but it appears to be true that Tiki Barber is planning on returning to the NFL. Something's up with this, right?. Is he bored? Is he broke? Know this, though, he better be in shape or he'll be broken. Mr. Barber, meet Mr. James Harrison. Mr. Harrison, this is Mr. Barber. Good night. Here's a bet that Barber did not contact Brett Favre about how these "comeback" things can turn out.

— Apparently quarterback Cam Newton was on target before a litany of NFL scouts at a pro day workout at Auburn University. Nick Fairley was also impressive, moving quickly and weighing in at 297 pounds. The 5-at-10 still sides with friend of the show Quake, that there's no way Newton is not a first-round pick. In fact, it's hard to see Newton not going in the top 10.

— The Georgia Bulldogs are about to start spring practice, and the TFP is aware that spring drills are starting all across the SEC. Look for some breakdowns this weekend in the Sports section.

Until tomorrow.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Eustice_Chase said...

I am going to channel my inner Tony Reali and give the 5@10 some serious love on the scoreboard for pointing out the infractions made by the Big Ten's Mr. Rogers. Not such a great day in that neighborhood.... As for Tiki Barber...check out Antonio Pierce's comments on the return of his former teammate....Something tells me he would like a shot at Tiki in the backfield.... While watching the Hawks vs Lakers I heard Dominique mention something about the fact the Dr. J could still dunk at 60..... that fact alone was better than the performance put fourth by the entire Hawks Team....all hail King Kobe...he will be knocking on Kareem's door step before its said and done

March 9, 2011 at 11:02 a.m.
jayrock2004 said...

I would like to thank the 5@10 for mentioning UTC hoops and the fact that 16-16 is not acceptable to some fans. I am one of those fans. UTC used to be good when Jeff Lebo was the coach. But when he left, the administration wanted to hire, not the best coach, but a coach that wouldn't leave for a bigger job. I still think that's why Coach Schulman is still the coach. UTC has the best arena in the SOCON and the best city. There is no reason we shouldn't be alot better than horrible-mediocre every year!

p.s. THE 5@10 IS AWESOME!!!

March 9, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Echo nickel and dime's sentiments on Chris Collinsworth. He and the sublime Al Michaels form by far the best play-by-play/analyst duo in broadcast work. I'd submit Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge for No. 2. After that ... it gets mud fence ugly. The book is not yet complete on Jim Powell on Braves radio (take your shots at Chip Caray here). Listening/watching the Braves without Skip and Pete is like seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd without Ronnie Van Zant. It's OK, but ... it's also just a little off.

March 9, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Chattanooga DESERVES a Top Notch SoCON Basketball Program.... we do have the best Town and the best facility...UTC should be pumping out SOCON Titles!

March 9, 2011 at 12:28 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Paul Hewitt will be available Monday afternoon to take UTC hoops to the next step — if the next step is down a darkened cellar stairwell.

March 9, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Gang,

Thanks for the response. Great job all of you.

In regard to Mocs hoops, I think the unmentioned yet undeniable hammer here is that even if Rick Hart wanted to dismiss Shulman, the UTC athletic department can't afford it unless a big-time (read well-financed) booster signs off on it. Until then, it's pretty much a matter of pontification, really. The irony here of course is that each athletic program bemoans the lack of funds at UTC, but those lack of funds provide a hidden layer of job security for coaches with multiple-year contracts.

EC — I saw Pierce's comments (not good), but I had not heard that about Julius "The Doctooorrrrrr" Erving, although if we had a fantasy dunking league of guys 60-and-over, who else would be the No. 1 overall pick. After all, the guys is a Doctor.

jayrock — Welcome aboard. I think the pieces are there for the Mocs to be the class of the SoCon next year, but what does the 5-at-10 know.

— 5-at-10

P.S. Do you think Tressel's actions fall under the "Legends" or the "Leaders" categories of the new-look Big Ten? Just curious.

March 9, 2011 at 12:58 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Never have been a fan of the Big Ten let alone their self proclaimed "Legends" and "Leaders" but if I had to classify Tressel"s actions I would put them in the Legend Category....becuase his legacy of mustering only one win against SEC competition is what Legends are made of!

March 9, 2011 at 1:38 p.m.
jgreeson said...

BIspy4,

I think Hewitt gets one more year. He's going to get the same treatment at Tech that Jeff Lebo got in his final year at Auburn.

Tech is overhauling the ThrillerDome, and here's saying that they let Hewitt twist in the wind in that final season that will be filled with sporadic crowds at homes games in Phillips, Gwinnett and even the Cobb Civic Center on Fairground Street. Then Tech will drop the hammer and go get some one new for the first year in the new building.

Plus, with the amount of coin they are about to spend on the makeover, Hewitt's buyout looks much steeper.

EC — I agree with Legends, if for no other reason than cover-ups are not the thing "Leaders" are made of.

— 5-at-10

March 9, 2011 at 2:51 p.m.
jturner said...

You gotta appreciate a Navin & a Ned reference in the same column!!

...by the way, IMHO Cam definitely goes in the first round. Call me a Homer but AU might just have 3 1st rounders in Fairley, Newton and Ziemba.

March 9, 2011 at 3:29 p.m.
jgreeson said...

JTurner,

Welcome aboard. We aim to please here at the 5-at-10 cafe and any references to "The Jerk" and "Three Amigos" make today better than yesterday.

As of this morning, the 5-at-10 thinks Cam goes No. 5 overall to Arizona — apparently Newton spent a lot of time chatting with Arizona coach Ken Whisenhut at Auburn's pro day. There's no way Fairley last any longer than the Browns at No. 6 (Cleveland is switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and a quick, play-making defensive tackle like Fairley would be a nice addition) and he could go much higher.

As for Big Lee Ziemba, he'll be a third-fourth-or-fifth round guy and have a solid 10-year NFL career. It could be higher — you know he's got a pretty intimidating haircut.

Hope to hear from you again,

— 5-at-10

March 9, 2011 at 3:41 p.m.
jomo11 said...

to jgeeson

for you to take a "shot" at Weeds, who wrote a fair and balanced column on UTC basketball is a joke. Weeds knows more about college basketball than you have forgotten. It is also funny how it always takes something negative about UTC to get you even write about. Maybe you should do something on the Liars and thugs at UT-Knoxville. Or what a joke it is that Derrick Dooley in 4 years as a head coach has NEVER beat a team with a winning record....don't try and take on Weeds you will look like the young inexperinced writer that you are

March 10, 2011 at 2:43 p.m.
jgreeson said...

jomo 11

I can assure you it was not intended as a "shot" at Weeds, and if think that, well, read it again.

If you think that was a shot, well, that's your opinion.

— 5-at-10

March 10, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
najones75 said...

What's pathetic is Shulman's lack of self-responsibility. Year in and year out, he blames the absence of SoCon titles on the players in one fashion or another (inconsistency, youth, off-court issues, etc etc etc). Never does he actually come out and say, "I'm not doing a good enough job with this team".

So, going .500 for the season, finishing the regular season losing 4 out of the last 6 games and a one-and-done tournament showing in you own house (which he cited as a lot of pressure playing in your own arena???) warrants a B? What would a C constitute? Better yet, an A?

March 13, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.
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