Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Will Sweater Vest Become the Next President of the University of Akron Zips?

Sweater Vest, aka Jim Tressel, has thrown his sweater into the University of Akron presidential search. Coach Tressel does not possess the normal qualifications for a university presidency. He lacks a doctorate, hasn’t published scholarship or delved into research on the cutting edge. His expertise lies within the Horseshoe. He has little administrative experience, currently serving at Akron as Executive Vice President for Student Success. Forget a high paid search committee, Sweater Vest self-nominated himself. His teaching experience at Akron is co-teaching a course “Principles of Coaching,” at which he failed three years earlier at The Ohio State University. He is also the only candidate, of 19 so far, under a five year NCAA “show cause” order in effect into 2016. The man knows no shame. He doesn’t need the traditional qualifications. This is Ohio. Paul Janssen is a brilliant professor of physiology cell biology and cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State. He has published scores of scientific papers, but his claim to fame is spending over 1,000 hours over two years in building in his basement a 8'X6' 1,000,000 LEGO piece replica of Ohio Stadium (The Horseshoe Stadium)with 6,000 seats. That is Ohio. The defrocked football coach’s qualifications are an 8-1 winning record against Michigan and a national championship in 2002. He is beloved in Ohio. The most important skill of a university president is fundraising. Tressel can raise his weight in Buckeye leaves and tattoos in Ohio. He might also be able to wrestle additional funding for Akron from the state legislature. However, beating Michigan is child’s play compared to fighting the public employee unions for public funds. A college president has to be a conciliatory peacemaker getting warring factions to work together. Jim Tressel’s experience as a head football coach, is as a dictator, the opposite of a university president. Faculty politics are vicious, the subtleties of which are alien to football coaches. I respect Jim Tressel as a great football coach just as I respected John Wooden as a great basketball coach eventhough they consistently beat my alma maters in football and basketball respectively. I also respected John Wooden as a person. He had plain, simple Midwest values. I’m not so sure about Tressel the man. He had a history at Youngstown State and Ohio State of willfully blinding himself to major player infractions. He also failed at Ohio State to report transgressions to the administration. Integrity is not his forte. I have served under five university presidents and 10 law school deans in 42 years of teaching. The first President, Samuel L. Meyer of Ohio Northern, and Jim Doti here at Chapman excel. Another aging retired president is still alive, so I will not publicly identify the disingenuous Janus by name. Academicians, politicians, businessmen have become presidents of colleges, but not a football coach. Jim Tressel is not William Oxley Thompson. Think of the reactions of the disappointed candidates if Sweater Vest is appointed President: “I lost to that,” as Akron and Ohio become the butt of national derision.

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