The Indianapolis Colts announced that they will be suspending former Ohio State coach, and current Colts’ consultant, Jim Tressel for the first six games of the season. While this action addresses some of the concerns regarding the fairness of penalties imposed on players and coaches, it raises additional questions with regard to where the NFL’s scope begins and ends.
Terrelle Pryor was handed a five game suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, mirroring the suspension that Pryor had received in college for NCAA rules violations. Enforcing a punishment for an NCAA violation at the NFL level was unprecedented and potentially opened the door for a dangerous expansion of Goodell’s power.
Beyond the implications of expanding enforcement, it was widely pointed out as soon as former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was hired by the Colts to review game footage, he was receiving different treatment than his former quarterback.
The Colts announced today that they would essentially be giving Tressel a voluntary suspension for the first six games of the season
“At Coach Tressel’s suggestion, and with Mr. Irsay’s concurrence and support, we have decided to begin Coach Tressel’s employment effective with our seventh regular season game,” Colts vice chairman Bill Polian said. “We have informed the league office of our decision and expect that they will be supportive of it.”
While this addresses the fairness issue, it does not address the implications of imposing penalties for college infractions at the NFL level. Goodell, rather than backing away from a discussion of the expansion of his power, seemed to embrace it.
“I support that decision. I think that’s a wise one,” Goodell said Tuesday in an interview with ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning.”
“I think it was clear that if they didn’t take an appropriate action, I would have taken appropriate action,” Goodell said.
This raises even more questions than it answers. Where are the limits on Goodell’s power now? There are ample other incidents that could fall under this same precedent. What about Pete Carroll’s departure from USC to join the Seahawks? What about former Miami Hurricanes now in the NFL who have been implicated in the Nevin Shapiro scandal?
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