The Tressel Effect

On June 22, 2022, President Jim Tressel announced that effective Feb. 1, he will be stepping away as president at Youngstown State University. Since that announcement, sports at YSU have accomplished program records, championship appearances and playoff implications.

This in turn has put the “Tressel Effect” into motion. What is the Tressel Effect? It’s an original theory that any announcement Tressel makes not only affects Youngstown State sports but the university as a whole in a positive way.

The Tressel Effect can be traced back to 1985, the same year Tressel was hired as the football head coach at YSU. It wasn’t until 1990 that the stats started to show a trend, officially starting the Tressel Effect.

According to YSU’s Preliminary Fall Enrollment numbers, from 1990 to 1994, YSU saw a steady increase of enrollment during the fall semesters.

During the same span, Tressel led Youngstown State’s football team to three national titles, with 1992 being the only exception. Losing to Marshall University in the championship game, 28-31.

At the time, graduate assistant Doug Phillips aided Tressel during his coaching career and appearing in a national title game, from 1991-1992. In 2020, he was named as the current football head coach.

In 2022, Phillips led the men’s football team to a compelling 5-3 record in the Missouri Valley Football Conference tied for third, marking the first time since 2016.

Besides football, other sports were affected by Tressel as well. This can be seen during the start of the fall semester in 2022. For the first time in program history, the women’s soccer team finished with a record of 9-8-3 and fought their way to the Horizon League Finals.

The last time the women’s soccer team appeared in the playoffs was in 2014, falling to the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay, 1-3 in the Horizon league quarterfinals. The same year, Tressel was announced as the new president at YSU.

However in 2014, the women’s volleyball team made it to the Horizon league Championship but fell to the University of Illinois Chicago, 3-2.

The trend continued in the 2022 fall semester, as the women’s volleyball team finished 14-16, and made it to the Horizon League Volleyball Championships for the first time since the 2014 season falling to Green Bay, 1-3.

What makes the Tressel Effect interesting is that, during the same year, both women’s soccer and women’s volleyball made it to the playoffs and broke the record books.

In 2001, Tressel was named the 22nd football head coach at The Ohio State University with the hopes of rebuilding a dismantled Buckeyes team. His hopes became reality, earning the team’s first national title since 1970 and finishing, 14-0.

The student enrollment at OSU saw a substantial increase during Tressel’s 10 year tenure as the Buckeyes head coach.

During the fall 2001 to 2002 semester, OSU saw a 50.8% increase from the previous year. From 2002-2003, a 50.4% increase happened the following fall semester according to

At OSU, the Tressel Effect is also prominent, with the announcement of his presidency with YSU in 2014, the Buckeyes won the college football National Championship during the 2014-15 season, the first time since 2002.

It seems as though the Tressel Effect has the greatest impact during the fall semester, this spring semester is on pace to be the year to break the trend.

With the year of recurring trends because of the effects of the Tressel Effect, this could foreshadow what is in store for the softball team this season.

With the spring semester in full swing, this could be the semester to continue the Tressel Effect.