Umm, can I interject here and just ask a reasonable question real quick: who the hell cares?
Apparently Fiesta Bowl officials do, according to the account of the story at SI.com:
Pryor’s absence was notable in the ballroom set aside for media day. Frustrated Fiesta Bowl officials had to tell reporters that the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback wasn’t present — and that there was nothing they could do about it.
Fiesta Bowl president and CEO John Junker said he’d like the Bowl Championship Series to provide clearer rules for media access to players.
“Any policy is workable only if there are consequences in place, which is currently not the case,” Junker said. “The present arrangement puts the team in question and the bowl in question in a difficult circumstance.”
Tressel shrugged off the stir caused by Pryor’s absence.
My favorite part is the last line. Of course Jim Tressel shrugged off Pryor’s absence. The absence was no accident, and Ohio State should not be forced to explain why they want their freshman quarterback attending meetings as opposed to being put in a situation that he might not be totally ready to handle.
First off, just so everyone is clear, Terrelle Pryor skipping the media day was not any kind of violation. Each team is required to submit a list of 30 players who will attend the media day. Ohio State did this and as far as I can tell, all 30 players were there. So tough titties Fiesta Bowl.
And why is it such a big deal anyway? Sure, we’re all love to hear Terrelle Pryor’s thoughts, mostly because he is probably the most likely player on either team to say something that could be used as bulletin board material. Pryor is a brash, confident, and still-immature freshman who famously got into numerous fights while in high school. He also vastly talented but still working to grasp the finer points of playing quarterback at a big-time college football program.
Jim Tressel no doubt wanted to avoid any situation where Terrelle Pryor could say something that could be construed as incendiary towards Texas. He also knows that his young phenom needs every minute of coaching and film study he can get to prepare for the biggest game of his young career. Why should he have to explain anything?
He made a wise choice for his team and still complied with the rules. John Junker (pictured, left) should go round his other BCS bowl cronies and figure out a way to bring a playoff to college football, rather than complaining about a freshman not attending media day. He should also not wear canary yellow sports jackets. It is my personal philosophy never to trust old men in pastel-colored suit coats. I can’t explain why, just trust me on this one.
And what if Jim Tressel wanted media day attendance to be a reward for upperclassmen? Should he have to answer to John Junker? Hell no. Jim Tressel should do whatever he thinks is best for his football team.
And that is what he did.
Good for Jim Tressel — not that it was really big deal for him. Jim Tressel could sell crap to a sewer. He is the kind of guy who could clog your toilet with a nasty deuce and then convince you that the new “potpourri” scent adds “life and zest” to your restroom.
That is why his expertly crafted explanation of the matter was no surprise:
Asked if Ohio State fans would like to hear from their starting quarterback before the game, Tressel replied, “Well, I think we owe a lot to our fans. Unfortunately, you can’t do everything you’d like to do.
“I would like all of our kids and coaches to be able to sign every autograph that every fan would like and, you know, all those kinds of things. But you can only do so many things. You have to make decisions. Some of them are well thought of, some of them aren’t.”
I guess some people think this is a bigger deal than me. A writer in the Plain-Dealer thinks Tressel did the Fiesta Bowl and the fans wrong by not making Pryor available. I simply disagree. If this were the NFL, it would be different. They are professionals. College football players are not supposed to be professionals…which people sometimes forget. So if the coach doesn’t want them there, deal with it — it’s the coach’s decision.
And I think Jim Tressel made a good one.
(Update: For the record, after reading a few other posts on this subject in which the authors disagree with my take, I realized I should clarify something. Technically, all BCS teams are supposed to make all starters available for the media day. However, there is no penalty or consequence to enforce the rule. So technically, Jim Tressel and Ohio State violated the letter of the rule by not making Terrelle Pryor available for the Fiesta Bowl media day. Still, I think it’s a stupid rule and I don’t think Jim Tressel, Ohio State, or Terrelle Pryor should be taking heat for it.)