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Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 12/26/2010 10:59 AM
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Post on Chicago-Now Web Site Shatters Christmas Peace Around Buckeye State
By John Porentas

The peace of the holiday season was resoundingly shattered on Christmas day when an entry on a Chicago-area web site claimed knowledge that the Sugar Bowl would be Jim Tressel's last game as head coach as the Buckeyes.

The above image of "Tab" is posted on the "Chicago Now" Web Site. It is accompanied by the following short Bio: "Former Hinsdale Central quarterback, Taylor University running back, currently a dad and husband."

Posted by a writer whose by-line is simply "Tab", the article cited "two sources that are very close to recruiting at prominent universities," as sources for the information. Mr. Tab does not, however, name the individuals nor the names of the universities involved.

In the article, Mr. Tab alleges that all the members of Ohio State's current recruiting class have been contacted by Ohio State and have been told that they will not be held to their commitments since Tressel will be leaving Ohio State, and that those athletes are now free to look elsewhere.

Word of the article spread rapidly on the internet and links were posted to Mr. Tab's article from multiple OSU news sources. OSU officials were swamped with media inquiries regarding the report. In response, OSU Director of Athletics Gene Smith responded on Twitter, posting the following.

"@OSU_AD Merry Xmas everyone!! Go back to drinking your eggnog!! Rumors not true.. "

Later in the evening, OSU Sports Information Director for Football Shelly Poe texted the following to media members.

"Reports circulating that Chicago web site is reporting, tress (Tressel) is retiring after the bowl are totally the work of some prankster".

Following the response of Smith, Mr. Tab added the following to his post.

"I have read comments from Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith on Saturday afternoon. I am also well aware that Ohio State fans and alumni don't like me; the thousands of personal attacks and taunts on Twitter made that perfectly clear.

"However, the sources that provided me with this information were clear with their comments, and I am comfortable sticking with what I have been told. If I was wrong, I will publish a strong statement to that effect in the future."

While Mr. Tab is sticking to his story, it seems unlikely that both Smith and Poe would issue public statements to the contrary unless they believed the story to be false. It is of course possible that Tressel has either resigned or been fired without the knowledge of either Smith or Poe, or that both Smith and Poe are participating in what would eventually become a very transparent and clumsy cover up if Mr. Tab is eventually proven correct.

If the story proves to be false, however, the motivation of Mr. Tab should come under scrutiny. He may simply be an individual seeking the limelight. If that is all that is in play, his fame will be short lived if the story proves to be false.

Another possibility is that he is seeking to influence the recruiting process, or that he has actually talked to individuals at other schools who are seeking to influence the recruiting process by planting false information. If either of these two possibilities are true, the NCAA should be informed and should investigate.

The-Ozone is attempting to to reach individuals who can confirm or deny whether athletes who are verbal commitments have been contacted by anyone at Ohio State. If not, it would appear that Mr. Tab's information is suspect.

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