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Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema wants cheaters punished, but he still loves Jim Tressel

by Jason Lloyd on July 28, 2011

On the surface, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema's sharp comments seemed directly aimed at Ohio State and former coach Jim Tressel.

Among his highlights:

* “My parents said if you tell the truth, you don't have to remember what you said.”

* “People are willingly and knowingly abusing rules and breaking things. To me, when you are consciously aware of abusing a rule, there's no excuse for that.”

* When you consciously break an NCAA rule, to me the only way to deter that is to get rid of people, or seriously hold programs accountable. That's probably the number one thing I would love to see happen in the world of college football.”

Upon further review, however, Bielema said all of those remarks were aimed at recruiting infractions, which can be difficult to track and catch. In fact, Bielema said his opinion of Tressel hadn't changed despite the revelation Tressel played ineligible players last season.

“There is not a coach in this profession that treated me or helped me enter this league better than Jim Tressel,” Bielema said. “He's a guy who grabbed my hand the first time I walked into a meeting, wrote personal notes after games and treated me in a way that was overwhelming for me. Unfortunately obviously the situation that arose there, but it doesn't change my opinion about who he is or what he is or the program he built. To win six (consecutive) Big Ten championships, that doesn't just happen.”

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