Bob Stoops is not in the baby-sitting business. Constant monitoring of ballplayers? Prior restraint of a 20-year-old's behavior? Staying on top of 100 guys?
Stoops is not interested. When that becomes his job description, he says he'll go all Johnny Paycheck. Take that job and ...
“Listen, if people think that I'm going to be chasing around, following my players around, that's not happening,” Stoops said the other day in his first public comments since the Ohio State scandal cost Jim Tressel his job.
“If I have to do that, I'm gonna do your (media) job, or do someone else's job. I'm not coaching.”
Stoops and Tressel have common bonds. Stoops grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, and has had family members coach Youngstown State football. Tressel coached Youngstown State to four NCAA Division I-AA championships.
“I love Jim Tressel,” Stoops said. “I think he's a fabulous guy. He's overall been a strong example for all coaches. And I don't know all the circumstances around his situation. So it's impossible for me to comment on that.”
But Stoops did comment on how he has handled and will handle players who receive impermissible benefits.
And it differs starkly from the way Tressel dealt with his Buckeyes. Tressel learned of allegations and did not report them to his athletic director or compliance officers or the NCAA. Ultimately, that's what cost Tressel his job.
Stoops, indirectly, indicted Tressel while explaining how Oklahoma football has handled and will handle misdeeds.
“We can't follow a hundred players around,” Stoops said. “That's just not realistic and not gonna happen.
“So, at the end of the day, our players are very well educated on what's allowed and what isn't. If something isn't appropriate, it's dealt with, I like to think, appropriately and in the right way. And that's it.”
Stoops chatted Thursday night, just before the OU Caravan's Dallas event. During the program, Stoops took questions from fans and was asked about the difference in the way Tressel handled the Terrelle Pryor allegations and the way Stoops handled Rhett Bomar's excessive benefits in 2006.
“Our conversation wasn't very long,” Stoops said of Bomar. Stoops said he confronted Bomar with the evidence that he had been paid by Big Red Sports & Imports for work not performed and told him, “You're not playing at Oklahoma.”
For a year, Bomar wondered?
“No, it's going to be forever,” Stoops said he said. “We'll move on. You can transfer.”
Said Stoops, “Our players are educated. They know. If you knowingly break the rules, we're going to move on. We'll find someone else to play quarterback.
“I felt it was in the best interest of our university. Our players know, we're going to do things right. At least that's our hope.”
Stoops bristled at the suggestion he deserves credit for the way he handled the Bomar case.
“I'm not looking for a bit of credit,” Stoops said. “I did what I thought needed to happen in our situation. All situations are different.
“All I know is, we will deal with our situations the way we feel needs to be dealt with. And to further educate our players on how they need to move forward. And if situations like this do occur here, this is how your situation will be.”
Swift justice seems to be Stoops' style. Wyatt Earp is walking the streets of Norman.
“It's impossible to know what everyone does behind closed doors,” Stoops said. “Even in families, you don't know sometimes what's going on. So to think we know, when families or wives and husbands don't know?
“No one knows. At the end of the day, if someone tries to conceal something they will, and when you find out, you deal with it. That's it. We can't possibly know everything that happens.”
It's the American Way. Freedom to do most anything you want. Just be prepared to pay the consequences, which Tressel did not demand of his Buckeyes.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.