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Alvarez: OSU woes bad for Big Ten

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Associated Press
June 2, 2011
— Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez says it hurts the Big Ten to have its two marquee football programs—Michigan and Ohio State—sullied by controversy the past two years.

“Those are our two highest profile teams,” Alvarez said Wednesday. “It’s absolutely not good for our league.”


While Alvarez said he didn’t know if Jim Tressel specifically cheated, it was clear that the former Ohio State coach was not straightforward with the NCAA.


Tressel’s 10-year reign as coach of the Buckeyes ended in disgrace Monday. He was forced to step down for breaking NCAA rules after withholding information from Ohio State officials and the NCAA about his players receiving improper benefits, including swapping memorabilia for tattoos.


Alvarez said he’s working with his compliance staff to make sure the rules are clear, and head coach Bret Bielema said he sent people he leans on in the athletic department to check in at two Madison tattoo parlors to make sure something similar wasn’t happening there.


“I think that it just makes everyone more alert that if it can happen to those high profile schools—Michigan had never been on probation; if it can happen to them, it certainly can happen to us,” Alvarez said. “I want to make sure that it doesn’t.”


Wisconsin’s recruiting—often maligned for a lack of star power—has helped the school avoid unwanted spotlight because it rarely goes after the top recruits in the nation, Bielema said.


“I think that’s the choice you make as a coach about what kind of people you recruit,” Bielema said. “You almost have got to kind of analyze it, realize, you’re going to get the problems that you want to recruit. That’s what you’ve got to deal with.”


And while Bielema is sure his players are watching the coverage, he’s told them to stay quiet.


“First thing I sent out was I don’t want to see any tweets,” the coach said. “It’s just amazing to me how people want to comment about something they’re not involved in. That’s a rule that we have with them. If you’re not involved in it, don’t comment on it.”



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