Memorial Day a year ago was Jim Tressel's end at Ohio State.
The lies and the cover-ups and the deception crashed on the Buckeyes' head football coach, who was as renowned for his sweater vests and collegial look as he was for his winning ways.
Tressel's end was this time last year, but it was months of masking in the making. Sure, it started with players trading trinkets for cash and tattoos, but the levels of dishonesty and attempts to protect the program were stunning.
A year later, Tressel's Memorial Day meltdown seems far less memorable, and stunning news unfortunately has become anything but.
Considering the scandal and the seediness that has become attached to college football in the last 12 months, it's been a stretch in which the unspeakable became common talk and icons were undone. The hand-wringing about playoff and conference expansion? Heck, it's way better than trying to explain Sandusky or Motorcycle-gate to the next generation of college football fans.
Since Tressel's undoing we know that no program is above transgression and astonishing falls. Even the former symbol of "doing it the right way," Joe Paterno at Penn State, tumbled because doing the bare minimum was not enough in stopping an alleged child molester. The accusations against Jerry Sandusky ended Paterno's 46-year head coaching career in shame and scandal.
We know about the recruiting tactics of arguably the world's most rogue booster at the University of Miami. And if Nevin Shapiro, the center of a Yahoo!Sports investigative story who claims to have given money and a slew of extra benefits -- including prostitutes -- to Miami players and recruits, is not the most rogue booster in college sports, well, then we need to buckle up.
We know that Butch Davis finally received the pink slip he richly deserved from North Carolina after a series of academic misdeeds and recruiting violations.
We know that Jessica Dorrell, the 25-year-old blonde who was on the back of former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino's motorcycle, is arguably the most famous former college volleyball player in recent memory, and it has little to do with her playing ability. Petrino, who lied to everyone, including Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, about his affair with Dorrell, was fired in April.
Look at it this way: Three years ago we made a big deal -- too big, in fact -- about Lane Kiffin's eight or nine secondary violations at Tennessee. After the last 12 months, which were filled with scandal and cover-ups and lies and payouts and allegations of child molestation and motorcycles and mistresses, The Ohio State recently reported something like four dozen secondary violations and we didn't bat an eye.
Hey, what are 46 secondary violations nowadays? This was still a way happier Memorial Day for everyone in Columbus.
Contact Jay Greeson at email@example.com or 423-757-6273.
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 ...