By Tim May
In the wake of his resignation from Ohio State, Jim Tressel opted not to attend the rules compliance seminar in Tampa, Fla., last week.
The seminar was to be part of his school-imposed punishment for committing a major NCAA rules violation.
Gene Marsh, an attorney from Birmingham, Ala., whom Tressel hired to help him during OSU’s appearance before the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Aug. 12, said he understood why Tressel did not attend the seminar. Marsh, a lecturer at the event, said Tressel likely would have drawn a great deal of attention from the media and others because of his recent resignation and Terrelle Pryor’s decision last week to forgo his senior season, and he could have become a daily distraction.
Whether Tressel will attend the meeting before the Committee on Infractions remains to be seen. Although he no longer is obligated because of his resignation, it might behoove him to be there if for no other reason than to defend himself.
Two high-profile coaches whose programs recently ran afoul of NCAA rules — Connecticut men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun and former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez — did attend the seminar.
“I deal with coaches, too, in my practice,” said attorney Michael Buckner, also a seminar speaker, whose Pompano Beach, Fla., firm works with schools and individuals under NCAA scrutiny. “I always tell them, ‘You need to self-impose that penalty. You need to go to the seminar. If you want to continue to coach — yeah, we’re probably going to dispute some of these things, but you need to show the [NCAA] committee you are willing to learn new things, that you are humbled.’”
Tressel, 58, has done no interviews since his resignation and has not indicated whether he intends to pursue another job in college athletics. Meanwhile, he and his local attorney, Rex Elliott, are still working with OSU officials to finalize the financial terms of his exit.