DESTIN, Fla. — Alabama coach Nick Saban considers Jim Tressel a good friend and defended the departed Ohio State coach as the SEC spring meetings began today.
“I guess if you were in the military you would say we lost a fine comrade,” Saban said of Tressel, who resigned Monday. Tressel previously admitted he withheld information about his players’ NCAA violations from Ohio State and the NCAA.
“I don’t know the whole details of his circumstances there,” Saban said. “I certainly don’t want to comment on that. But obviously mistakes were made or whatever and there are consequences for it. I still think this is one of the finest people in our profession and I certainly hate to see what’s happening with him.”
Saban and Tressel crossed paths for years when they were both in the Big Ten. Most recently, they were among a handful of college coaches who spoke with the NFL and NCAA last summer about problems with agents.
If there’s a message from Tressel’s departure, Saban said, it’s that there’s a fine line between a coach’s personal responsibility to manage issues correctly and being responsible for matters out of his control.
“I think you have to have the personal integrity to handle all of these situations in the right way,” Saban said. “I do think you would be surprised by the number of things that come in that people say might have happe