Saturday, September 15, 2012

WITHOUT TRESSEL, THERE IS NO CHAMPIONSHIP CELEBRATION

Jim Tressel
TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
COLUMBUS — Ohio State plans to commemorate the 2002 national championship football team on Nov. 24 when the Buckeyes host arch-rival Michigan at Ohio Stadium.

Details of how they will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Buckeyes' last title have not been set in stone, but more than likely, the team will be brought onto the field sometime during or prior to the game for the fans to pay tribute.

Of course, once news of the commemoration began making waves on Wednesday, the social media sites set ablaze about whether former Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel would be part of the festivities? Or if the school would even be permitted by the NCAA to allow the banned coach access?

The former has yet to be determined. The latter, according to the university, is not a problem.

On Friday morning, OSU football sports information director, Jerry Emig, confirmed to me that Tressel's participation in the team's celebration is "no violation."

Now it just depends on whether the Buckeyes' former boss will accept the invite.

Players from the championship team are reaching out to the coach to be part of the big day, and fans around Columbus have been lobbying in the past 24 hours for Tressel to be among them in late November. He has yet to issue a statement regarding his intentions.

Personally, I think Tressel must be part of the tribute. It would seem hollow and meaningless if the sweater vest wasn't standing out front with players like Craig Krenzel, Mike Doss — or even Maurice Clarett (who has also received an invite). It would be like the Jackson 5 without Michael, the Beatles without McCartney, Mount Rushmore without Washington. It just wouldn't be right, period.

It would also be a way for the fans to display to Tressel that he is still as beloved in Columbus as he was the day he gave the "when in Ann Arbor" speech the second day on campus in 2001.

As for those few who feel that Tressel's presence could be a distraction, I completely disagree. 

Observing new Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer over the past several months, I believe without a doubt he would welcome Tressel to be part of his first Michigan game. Meyer is all about tradition and past greatness, and having a man in the building who won a national championship and defeated Michigan nine times out of 10 games would be right up Meyer's alley in regards to motivation.

I mean, Meyer has stated to his team that when champions slap their hands on a table, it makes a noise (because of the sound of their ring).

So I ask, who could make more noise than Tressel returning to the 'Shoe to send the Buckeyes off to battle against the rival Wolverines?

Nobody! ... short of the ghost of Woody Hayes.