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Ohio St. AD on Tressel: ‘It’s a nightmare’

Published: Wed, April 20, 2011 @ 12:07 a.m.



In this March 8, 2011 file photo, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, right, takes questions during a news conference with university president E. Gordon Gee, left, and football coach Jim Tressel, center, in Columbus, Ohio. Smith, unable to talk about the ongoing NCAA investigation, does touch upon some fine points of the suspensions of football coach Jim Tressel and five of his players.

NCAA investigators still sifting through evidence against Buckeyes coach with no end in sight

Associated Press


Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Tuesday that the $250,000 fine levied against coach Jim Tressel for violating NCAA rules may not even cover the cost of the investigation.

“It’ll probably eat up the whole $250 [thousand],” Smith said. “I’m not sure. We haven’t done any projections.”

Declining to address the ongoing NCAA investigation into Tressel’s violation, Smith also said he didn’t know when Tressel’s problems would be resolved.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Smith said Tressel was supposed to apologize in March at a news conference on the situation but failed to do so, and that only after meeting with Smith did the coach finally say he was sorry in a public forum.

Tressel has been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for failing to notify Ohio State officials of emails he received as early as April 2010 which said his players were selling autographs, uniforms, championship rings and other memorabilia for money and tattoos from the owner of a local tattoo parlor.

Five players, including starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were suspended in December for accepting the improper benefits. All were permitted to play in Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas, with their suspensions beginning with the first game this fall.

Tressel, in his 11th year coaching the Buckeyes, did not disclose what he knew about the players’ violations until he was confronted by Ohio State officials in January while the university was building the appeal of the players’ suspensions.

Ohio State released a copy of Tressel’s NCAA compliance form to the AP. In the form, dated last Sept. 13, Tressel certifies that he has reported any NCAA violations to his superiors. Yet he had known for five months that the players had likely broken NCAA rules — and had told no one except for forwarding the emails to Pryor’s 67-year-old mentor and friend in Jeannette, Pa.

Smith would not say how much the investigation into Tressel’s NCAA troubles would cost, although the university has hired two what he called “expensive” companies to help. He said Ohio State may have to make up the difference by dipping into the money the Buckeyes made from their appearance in the Sugar Bowl.

“It’s a nightmare,” he said.

Smith declared the players’ case closed. Their violations had come to light when the U.S. Attorney’s office notified Ohio State that it had come across a large amount of athletic merchandise after searching the home or business of Columbus tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife. Rife was the subject of a federal drug-trafficking case.

Smith said he was relying on the U.S. Attorney’s investigation, which said the players — also including wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams, tailback Dan Herron and defensive end Solomon Thomas — did not acquire drugs for the memorabilia.

Tressel called the players’ actions “very disappointing” at a December news conference announcing their suspensions. Three weeks later, after winning the bowl game, Ohio State officials uncovered the emails he had exchanged in April and June with Christopher Cicero, a Columbus lawyer who was a football walk-on in the 1980s.

Smith, who has served on the NCAA’s committee on infractions, declined to say when the whole thing might end although he hoped a resolution might be expedited because the university had worked closely with the NCAA from the beginning.

“We’re in the investigation,” he said. “Who knows when it will be resolved? And it’s just hanging.”


1Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

How long can the Trustees for Ohio State allow Tressel to remain as coach? What Tressel did is no small matter. It shows a lack of integrity and the idea that he is above the law. Even the most rabid OSU fan can see that there is no recovering from this mess as long as Tressel remains.

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2YtownSports(306 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Coach Tressel made a huge mistake in judgment. He knows that. Only he knows what his true motives were. His formerly squeaky clean image is now forever tarnished. He knows the spotlight will be on him in a very different way now; he has no margin for error. Based on how much good he has done for so many athletes and how much time and even money he has given to worthy causes, he deserves the opportunity to prove he can live up to the standards he has always preached.

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3LRG5150(17 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Too bad you didn't learn anything from Joe Paterno regarding class. Ask Joe what he thinks about Tressel and you will get the exact opposite opinion that you just expressed about the man.
Tressel will serve his ultimate penalty handed down by the NCAA (which is absolutely corrupt and hypocritical in itself), survive this and life will go on.

The media has really played this situation up and haters have been eating it up. Life at the top is hard and jealousy is a b**ch.

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4the_truth(8 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

"I say he needs to be fired and spend some time in the pokey for this embarrassment."

You want to put him in jail for ncaa rules violations? The "pokey" is for violators of state and federal laws, not the rules of college athletics. Relax.

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5topsailwatch(79 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The "scumbags" in Youngstown are the people that sit around just waiting for somebody successful to make a little mistake ......and then triy their darndest to crucify them

Personally I think that the NCAA was way too haesh on the players. Did they rob, plunder, steal, murder or hurt anyone by selling THEIR plaques, etc. to whomever ?? If my son had a plaque from the Orange Bowl and asked me if it was OK to sell it, I would just tell him to do with it what he wants.....he earned it and it is his.....not the NCAAs.

Jim Tressel will always be a good coach and more importantly a good person. We wish you well Jim.

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6Fattkidd(45 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Tressel ain't from Youngstown, jerkoff! Get a clue before you trash the city!

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7redvert(2239 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

LRG5150, of course Paterno would not say anything bad about Tressel to the media because it does not concern him. Do you know what he really thinks about the situation? Neither of us do but we can only guess! Be honest now!!!

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8redvert(2239 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Fatty, YSU is where Tressel got the squeaky clean reputation. The reputation which he trashed rather quickly when there was the option of reporting the infractions which would no doubt result in future game losses or keep quiet. I would imagine that his win/loss record equates to dollars in his pocket so it was obvious what was most important to him.

Having said all the above, some might feel that he is a product of the valley and thus may reflect the mentality of the valley. True that he is not originally from the valley but keep in mind that the valley doesn't have the greatest reputation.

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9LRG5150(17 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Redvert - in the same sense that we don't know what Paterno would say outside of camera-shot, we don't know the true intent behind JT's inaction with regard to the email, now do we? The media and haters say it was all about winning/money. The reports I have read indicate the tattoo parlor owner was not a person you wanted to ever cross, so is it possible that he was concerned about the players safety? Is it possible that he actually told Gene Smith or others and is now falling on the proverbial sword? Is it possible (or probable) that we still don't know all of the facts that would lead to a different reason for the non-reporting?

Several coaches have come to Tressel's defense while some others have condemned him. And none of us have any idea how hard it is to maintain excellence at a top university without player infractions occurring (and it was an inaction in not reporting an email - I wonder how many emails he gets from people with supposed inside information about violations? I would guess more than just one).
Fact is that the NCAA (a multi-million dollar tax-exempt entity) is all about the money, from the ADs, to the Presidents, to the dirty BCS Bowl games (look into the relevations about the Fiesta Bowl - it should blow your mind).

JT is not a saint. Never has been. The press conference was indeed a joke and he should have come clean in December when the players were caught.
But he also has done countless good deeds in the community, at the university, and has cleaned up the program from the previous regime, no matter how the media or haters want to paint him.

I am not naive though... the reason he likely will not lose his job (unless something more comes out) is because he wins and makes OSU tons of cash...no doubt about that. Its the same reason Jim Calhoun is still employed but Bruce Pearl isn't. Winning cures most maladies in the sports world. There are much bigger issues in the world that we all should be concerned with.

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10JJ(28 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Fan or no fan it doesn't look pretty, if the guy didn't make so much money for the university, Big 10, etc. he'd been fired months ago. It's all very hypocritical that the five OSU players got to participate in the Sugar Bowl at everyone's benefit except their own. The system (NCAA) is out of sorts, Tress was protecting his own and got caught. Keep in mind PSU is not without it's own troubles, they lead the country at least in one category, arrests! http://onwardstate.com/2011/03/03/pen...

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11Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Do you hear that sound? That is the drumbeat of Justice and she is one mean old lady. Boom Boom, Boom Boom, getting louder and louder as she approaches the Horseshoe. When Justice is through, there isn't going to be much left with the OSU football program to cheer for.

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