News broke today that the NCAA has launched a new investigation involving the Ohio State Buckeyes, this time regarding long-time football coach Jim Tressel. Pat Forde wrote an article for ESPN advocating for the termination of the coach.
According to Forde, Tressel has the second best winning percentage in Big Ten conference history among coaches with more than ten years in the league. Needless to say, there is some consideration to be had before a termination takes place…or not.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Lets rewind a bit. In December 2010 five Ohio State football players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling championship rings, jerseys and awards in exchange for “improper benefits” from a tattoo parlor and its owner. Since the ruling by the NCAA Tressel has also been punished for knowing about the violations prior to their public uncovering. First suspended for the first 2011 game, now suspended for five, the star coach is likely facing even harsher sanctions for his lies to the NCAA.
Forde wrote in his article, “The fact is, a coach who portrays and markets himself as something more than a coach — a High-Character Leader of Men — lied about what he knew, when he knew it and who he told about it.”
This is crisis communications 101. Admit your wrongdoings and be transparent. It’s lies that do the most damage. So be honest, everybody makes mistakes. People are more likely to forgive those who tell the truth, even if it means taking responsibility for something bad. In times of crisis, honesty is always the best policy.
Now it’s up to Ohio State to decide which is more important, reputation or ranking.