• 55°

NSSA Weekend: Keels sees Tressel controversy up close

SALISBURY — Ohio State University sportscaster and Ohio sportscaster of the year, Paul Keels is in town this weekend as part of the NSSA yearly Hall of Fame convention.
Keels calls both the Buckeye football and basketball games for WBNS-Columbus.
Being the traditional college football powerhouse that OSU is, as well as being an up-and-coming basketball power, Keels has a ton of excitement and quality play to cover on a daily basis.
But everything has not been so bright in Columbus as of late, as the NCAA’s investigation into the Jim Tressell scandal and the players trading their memorabilia for cars, tattoos and other things, has cast a dark shadow over Buckeye Nation.
“I think that everyone in the community, be it school officials, athletic officials and just your everyday casual fan are just shocked and surprised by this whole ordeal,” Keels said. “Coach Tressell is so beloved and respected in Ohio and now this situation has caused some rather skewed views of him.”
Anytime there is an NCAA investigation into any program, there comes with it a ton of angst and uncertainty about how hard the school will be penalized. Columbus is perhaps feeling more of that than any sports community in the country right now.
“Everybody just wants this to be over with so that they can turn their attention to the 2011 football season,” Keels said. “Right now, with Tressell and the players being suspended for the first five games, no one really knows what to expect.
“Prior to this all coming out about the players and coach, last year ended on a high note and everyone was happy we finally beat an SEC team in a bowl game. We’re going to be highly ranked coming into this season, but now our first game after the suspensions is at Nebraska. With rust and uncertain mindsets of the guys, people are worried for sure.”
Ohio State can take a bit of solace in the fact that their basketball program is reaching new heights under coach Thad Matta. It was Big Ten conference champions before being upset in the Sweet Sixteen by Kentucky this season.
“While OSU is and always will be a football school, what Matta has done is great,” Keels said. “He is a great guy and a players coach that always gives the kids positive reinforcement and never gets down. People are definitely more excited about Buckeye basketball since he has been here.”
Keels also pointed out that the NCAA inquiry into football came at the worst possible time for the basketball team (in March) and that Tressell apologized to Matta and to the fans for that happening.
“I think that the basketball team will once again be very good next year with Sullinger coming back and a great recruiting class coming in,” Keels said. “But losing three seniors is always tough. They should be a Top 10 or so team again, I believe.”
Columbus is a true American college town that definitely bleeds red for its Buckeyes. With a rabid fan base and huge ecocomic impact on the community, OSU is always under the microsope in whatever it does, good or bad.
“Before we got the Blue Jackets (Columbus’ NHL team), Ohio State is all our hyper-local fan base had and we have fans that stretch all across Ohio from Cincinatti to Cleveland and beyond,” Keels said. “So OSU being hit with any kind of probation or sanctions would be a big hit to a lot of people around there.”
No one knows for sure how long the NCAA will take to finalize their rule on the program or on Tressell. The toughest part is not knowing and kind of waiting for the gallows, so-to-speak, that Ohioans are experiencing right now. But Keels says that it has not diminished the passion and love people have for the school.
“All you have to do is be in Columbus on a fall Saturday and you can see it,” he said. “Alumni and people who have no ties at all to the school rally around the team and its really a great thing to see.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Lawsuit: Salisbury Police, Rowan Sheriff’s Office tore woman’s shoulder during traffic stop

Business

‘Believe me, they’ll be fresh’: Patterson Farm welcomes strawberry crop

Local

City appoints more members to boards, commissions, with 9 seats left to be filled

News

Virtual play groups the new norm at Smart Start

Local

City meets in closed session to consult with attorney on two ongoing litigation cases

Education

Summit takes art out of the classroom, into the student’s home

Education

Education briefs: Gene Haas Foundation donates $12,500 to RCCC

Business

County’s restaurant grant program dishes out funding to eight local eateries

High School

High school football: Yow out as South head coach

Education

Shoutouts

Local

City moves forward on greenway extension, traffic signal upgrades

Business

State broadband survey could help fund local infrastructure

Education

Happy Roots adds to programming with Bic recycling program

Education

RCCC small business center partners 53 Ideas Pitch Competition

Nation/World

Sheriff: Deputy fatally shot Black man while serving warrant

Nation/World

Garland announces sweeping police probe after Floyd verdict

Crime

District attorney won’t bring charges against former Salisbury officer depicted in K-9 video

Coronavirus

Cooper plans to lift gathering, distancing limits by June 1

Crime

Convicted sex offender charged with having child pornography

Crime

Rowan County woman faces drug crimes for gas station incident

Crime

Blotter: Thousands of dollars in lumber taken from Newsome Road house

Local

Locals react to Chauvin verdict, reflect on work still to do

Business

With remote expansion, outsource provider FCR looks to become an ‘exceptional part’ of Rowan community

Local

City expects $1.5 million surplus in current budget, ability to raise some wages for police, public works