By Dan Bernstein–

“If you’re struggling with your place in the world, if things have become difficult and you feel like giving up, this little book will encourage you, lift you up when you’re wrestling with life, push you forward, and motivate you to be a better person – and a more vital part of whatever team you serve.”

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So reads Jim Tressel’s back-cover quote from his new book “Life Promises for Success: Promises from God on Achieving Your Best.”

It is described by Tressel’s website as “a collection of inspiring readings and Bible promises…filled with easily-applicable motivational quotes, Bible verses, and engaging and inspiring readings.”

I’m reminded of another quote, from another venal, bespectacled liar.

“I believe in two things: discipline and the Bible. Here you’ll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord; your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.”

So said Warden Samuel Norton. That’s who Jim Tressel is – the worst kind of bible-banging fraud, enriching himself under a guise of piety and Christianity while he cheats at every stop.

Tressel was scheduled for a book-signing last night from 7:00PM to 10:00 PM at the Barnes & Noble OSU Bookstore at the South Campus Gateway.

It was postponed.

Tressel was busy trying to explain why he chose to hide what he knew about a memorabilia-sales scandal involving key Ohio State football players and a local tattoo-parlor owner who is also a suspected drug trafficker.

That’s the latest issue for him at OSU. The Maurice Clarett stuff – the thousands of dollars of special benefits and all that – was easily forgotten by his codependent enablers.

He was a confirmed cheater even before he arrived in Columbus. While coaching Youngstown State, his quarterback, Ray Isaac, was found to have been accepting payments from a booster as soon as he arrived on campus. Michael “Mickey” Monus, who served a 10-year prison sentence for corporate fraud, provided Isaac $10,000, and told a jury that he was first put in contact with Isaac by Tressel “to work out some kind of job for him.”

In the investigative mess that followed with the FBI, NCAA, and jury-tampering allegations against Isaac and Monus, it was clear that Tressel chose not to follow up as he should have on anonymous “tips” of wrongdoing. The internal investigation was a whitewash, and statutes of limitations expired. There were minor sanctions for the school, and Tressel was soon hired by OSU AD Andy Geiger.

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In 2002, an article in the Baptist Press lauded Tressel for bringing his Christian values to his football program. “Maybe not so well known is Tressel’s declaration of his job at OSU as ‘my ministry,’” it reads. It quotes one player who says “He is an active proponent of Christianity to all those around him, but even more important is the way he lives his values and his walk with God.”

Yep. Obviously.

Nice “ministry” you have there.

Is it so hard to just be a football coach without imbuing yourself with some kind of ridiculous divinity?

We know the corruptions endemic to the system of big-time collegiate athletics. We understand that every coach is probably dirty, somehow. Even the legendary John Wooden had Sam Gilbert throwing cash at players, so any intelligent person gets the drill.

But Tressel deserves special scorn.

He wants us to think that his cheesy, insipid books insulate him from criticism. He started a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at Youngstown at the same time he was opening the cash pipeline to players from the criminal booster who hired him.

Lies, money, and cover-ups, all along the way, and all varnished with a tidy image of devotion buttoned into a crisp, white dress shirt, covered by a neat sweater-vest and adorned with wire-rimmed glasses.

Ohio State is punishing Tressel’s latest transgression with a two-game suspension and a fine. The NCAA, however, can opt to do more.

Warden Norton hid his ill-gotten gains in a safe in his office, behind a framed, hand-stitched bible quote.

“His judgment cometh, and that right soon.”

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here.
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