Ohio State's Tressel declines to vote in coaches' poll
December 3, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State's Jim Tressel did not vote in this week's USA Today coaches' poll to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest, a move the newspaper said could jeopardize his future in the selection process.
"We are disappointed with coach Tressel's decision, but our oversight role does not grant us authority to compel his participation," USA Today's managing editor for sports Monte Lorell said Sunday in a statement. "The agreement with the American Football Coaches Association obligates the panel of coaches to disclose final regular season ballots, without exception.
"Coach Tressel's future involvement in the poll will be part of our annual review with AFCA executive director Grant Teaff."
Teaff, a former coach, said Tressel's decision was "not something that we would like to have happen, but it's kind of an unusual circumstance."
Until last year, the coaches' ballots were not made public. Now, the preseason and final regular-season ballots are released.
"It's just a tough situation," Teaff said.
The top-ranked Buckeyes (12-0) were awaiting Sunday's final Bowl Championship Series rankings -- based in part on the coaches' poll -- to determine who they play in the national championship game on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.
Florida finished No. 2 in the coaches' poll ahead of No. 3 Michigan.
"We are excited to play in the BCS title game against a tremendous opponent," Tressel said in a statement. "After consultation with my director of athletics, Gene Smith, and based upon our unique position in the BCS standings, I believe it is only fair that we not participate (in) the final poll."
The decision by Tressel not to vote could be unprecedented. AFCA executive director of marketing and development Mel Pulliam said he couldn't recall a coach declining to vote in the coaches' poll -- for any reason.
The Gators were ranked fourth in last week's coaches' poll, and moved past the idle Wolverines after defeating Arkansas 38-28 Saturday night in the Southeastern Conference title game. USC, ranked second in last week's coaches' poll, fell to No. 7 after its 13-9 loss to UCLA.