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There are financial penalties if he leaves YSU early

Published: Tue, May 13, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Denise Dick



Jim Tressel, newly chosen ninth president of Youngstown State University, will be paid $300,000 to start, under contract terms signed Monday.

The former YSU and Ohio State University head coach said he was offered more money by YSU but declined.

Randy Dunn, who resigned in March after eight months as the university’s president, was to earn $375,000 his first year.

“Ellen and I know how lucky we are. We know we have a lot to prove,” Tressel said. “It’s up to us to make a tremendous impact on this region.”

Tressel’s three-year term begins July 1. Tressel will earn $300,000 the first two years with the third-year salary undetermined, the university announced.

The contract terms were approved in a special YSU trustees meeting in which the panel moved into closed session for about 40 minutes.

Tressel and his wife, Ellen, then joined the open meeting. Members of faculty, staff and administration and some students were among attendees.

Tressel and YSU Board of Trustees Chairman Sudershan K. Garg then signed a letter of understanding with the contract terms, shaking hands — with the chairman welcoming the Tressels “home to YSU.” The president-designate introduced his wife and then his in-laws, Frank and Norma Watson.

YSU will pay reasonable relocation costs.

Tressel will also get an American-made car and housing in the Pollock House on campus.

If Tressel terminates the contract within a year, he’ll pay the university $200,000; he’ll pay $175,000 if he terminates within two, and $150,000 if he leaves within three years. University trustees wanted those guarantees in the aftermath of Dunn’s quick exodus.

Tressel said he spent much of the weekend responding to texts and emails from people who extended their well wishes in his new position, calling it an “amazing outpouring of encouragement.”

Tressel, who last week visited campus as part of the interview process, said when he arrived on campus, he stopped outside the MVR restaurant and thought about the late Carmine Cassese and the importance of people. Cassese died last July. As the third generation Cassese to serve Youngstown, Carmine gradually transformed a small family restaurant in the Smoky Hollow into a destination spot. He was a long-time YSU supporter.

Tressel, who has spent the past two years as an administrator at the University of Akron, spoke about the need for everyone on campus to work together to tackle the challenges facing the university.

“Each one of us is insignificant without each other,” he said. “With tradition comes responsibility.”

Tressel said a mentor of his reminded him of the phrase, “Increase excellence” — and he said it’s an imperative.

At a news conference, Tressel said he’s “blessed” to be back at YSU. He stressed the need for collaboration with businesses, schools, the Catholic diocese and non-profit organizations — as well as new leadership at Hiram College, Kent State University and the University of Akron.

“Northeast Ohio has been one of the extraordinary shining lights of our country,” he said.

He said YSU needs to improve its graduation, retention and placement rate.

“That’s the scoreboard,” he said — stressing that student success is “No. 1.”

Tressel also said he thinks Dunn was doing a great job during his brief tenure.

He said the university needs to make sure, with fundraising, that YSU is affordable for many students. The No. 1 reason someone selects a university is affordability, he said, noting scholarships can help with that.

At the same time, officials need to address student debt.

As YSU and public colleges and universities continue to combat decreased state funding, Tressel said he’ll make YSU’s case in Columbus — but will make other plans, too. YSU can’t assume state subsidy will go up, he said.

“We’re going to count on the things that we can do,” Tressel said. “The most important thing we can do in retention is believe it’s every person’s responsibility.”

At a public reception and meet-and-greet for his supporters after the news conference, Tressel met some of those who urged trustees to appoint him early on. Many Valley business and political leaders had lobbied university trustees to choose him.

After recommendations from these Valley leaders, YSU’s union leadership and others, Tressel was selected over Mary Cullinan, president and professor of English at Southern Oregon University, and Gary L. Miller, chancellor at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Tressel was selected by the trustees in a unanimous vote Friday morning. The former national championship coach for YSU and OSU football teams and current executive vice president of student success at the University of Akron was also in the running for the presidency at Akron. But Scott L. Scarborough was selected as the 16th president there Thursday.

Tressel declined to say whether he withdrew his UA application instead offering, “I hope we got two darn good presidents” who want to do their best for the region and their universities.


1allstar720(253 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago


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2redvert(2065 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Took three posts before someone got it right.

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3paulydel(1296 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Chessiedad I suppose your perfect. He paid the price, its time to move on. Jim Tressel will excite YSU and he is right about everything he said in his statement. Youngstown is fortunate to have him and he brings up a good point about Northeast Ohio having some great Colleges. I don't live in Ohio anymore because the military took me to another state but My heart is in Ohio and I am a Buckeye. When people ask me where I'm from I proudly tell them Warren, Ohio. We as Ohioans need to help revive the Mahoning Valley and not the negativism that some of you spew out.

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4Kernaloftruth(86 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh how horrible, players exchanging their own personal property for tattoos! Oh my goodness, when has THAT ever happened before? Tressel should not only have been sanctioned by the NCAA, he should have done jail time too! Oh what a hardened criminal he is!

Spare me, God forbid players make a few bucks off a system that operates more like racketeers than a collegiate athletic association.

Tressel was the right choice in spite of whatever half baked rule his players violated.

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5topper11(118 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Remember the only thing you can do to stop this or put an end to it is
NEVER !!!! Support YSU in anything
And you sure are right redvent
Thank you #3

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6tadigiacomo(15 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Got what right? That Tressel lied on an NCAA form and got hammered for it? Tell me something I didn't know. I think the fact that he had so much support from the community as a whole goes to show the significance (or lack thereof) of his violations in the grand scheme of things. He got hammered by the NCAA, and justifiably so, and is out of coaching, which was their goal. The support he received was not some fan-boys feigning over their hero, as much as you'd like to believe that. He played a dirty game within a dirty, sham of an organization, the NCAA. Yes, he's a grown man and made his own poor decisions and chose to play that way, but get over it already. His position as university president is in a completely different realm, and I believe it's likely he'll be very successful, much to the chagrin of his detractors.

I, as a longtime fan of his, was very disappointed in what he did. I'd rather he'd have thrown those prima donna kids under the bus as he should have. But, he didn't, and mistake or not, I'm over it. He's done more good for so many kids, and both the YSU and OSU communities than most other public figures, and will continue to do so in this position. He broke no laws - he lied because some kids got some tattoos. Yeah, I know it's a lot deeper than that, character, blah, blah,blah... but an the end of the day it boils down to that when compared with other things going on in that space. If it was truly that big of a deal he never would have been a finalist for the job at two universities.

If anything, him getting the job would move me as an alumnus to support the university that much more.

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7Dagwood(111 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

There is not enough space to comment on the good Tressel has done for people over the years. You can put the bad in one or two sentences.

That statement is flipped for most of the politicians you continually vote for in this area.

What really burns your arse is that he made himself through football and some of you just can't accept the fact that sports is a powerful movement in the lives of many people. Its not Tressel's fault you were picked last in gym class and throw like a non-athlete.

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8tadigiacomo(15 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I should have clarified, he broke no federal, state, or local laws. He broke NCAA rules, as you succinctly pointed out. And, yes, I see that as being at a different level. Me, nor anyone that supports Tressel denies what you stated with regard to his documented violations and sanctions. He did it, and as I said he was justly punished, but apparently many are able to see just where that rates in importance. It may not be a shining example of good judgement, but his other actions outside of wins and losses makes up for that in the mind of many. He's a good person who made some bad decisions.

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9downtownSam(1 comment)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Some goofballs like to harp on tripe. They need to eat it along with red cabbage. It will do a lot of good for them. Now is the time to move on and support the University and its President.

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10Seriouslee(101 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

He said the university needs to make sure, with fundraising, that YSU is affordable for many students. The No. 1 reason someone selects a university is affordability, he said, noting scholarships can help with that. - See more at: http://www.vindy.com/news/2014/may/13...

Sorry, but not really true. The number one reason, according to polls, that students choose a college is academic reputation.


And notice that Athletic programs come into play only for student athletes--the visibility or record of an athletic program does not factor in at all for non-athlete potential students. Just sayin...

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11Seriouslee(101 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

While we are at it--the rankings for regional comprehensives in the Midwest can be found here:


YSU does not even make the top 100, but falls on page 13 of 14 pages of listings. The rankings stop after 108. YSU is still very affordable comparatively, so the challenge is academic reputation. Good Luck Mr. Tressel.

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12Seriouslee(101 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow Boardman Jeff, I thought your first post about "King Tressel" was meant to be sarcastic. Guess not...yikes.

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13Roger_Thornhill(554 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Welcome back, Jim Tressel!

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14borylie(790 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Do you know why the stock market is high? Do you know why the unemployment numbers are down? Can you tell me why by his own admission, that President Obama smoked pot and did cocaine, both against the law and yet this is not an issue to you? How about you other posters on here bemoaning Mr. Tressel's transgressions,none that broke a law, you okay with President Obama running a whole country while being an admitted law breaker?

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15rickking123(292 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Who cares what someone named Geitner says? His opinion doesn't matter. Not does the opinion of the former treasury secretary Timothy Geithner matter. That big smooching sound is Geithner kissing Obama's behind.

Everyone with half a brain knows the stock market is being propped up by the Fed's monthly bond purchases. Money from thin air.

And go on believing that Democrats don't tell people how to live. Who passed the law mandating the purchase of insurance and penalizing people if they don't have insurance? If that isn't telling people how to live, I'm not sure what is.

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16ysuguins99(12 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Absolutely amazing how when faced with the facts, these people will turn things to a different light by trivializing the situation as "big deal...so he bent the rules". These are same type of people who think of Traficant as some kind of hero.

I want to hear the excuses from these people in July of 2015 when after one year he's not done one thing to advance the academic stature of YSU.

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17ytown37(12 comments)posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

ysuguins99.. You're clueless. Expecting ANYONE, whether it was Tressel, Miller, or Cullinan to move the university that much forward in a year is impossible. Things take time. Apparently you think things can get done in a day... you also probably think progress in the United States can be made overnight and doesn't take years.. LOL

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18ysuguins99(12 comments)posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Ytown37: I think you're the clueless one. Obviously your not up to date on what is going on with the budget at YSU and why everyone is bolting out of there.

YSU doesn't have the luxury of waiting years to "right the ship" Tressel needs to exhibit this strong leadership quality that everyone speaks of now, not in a five to 10 year plan.

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19southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Just another sad day in the history of Youngstown, time will certainly tell.

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202muchtax(329 comments)posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Welcome mr tressell! About time the Board gets a clue and starts hitting these presidents in the pocket book for breaking the contract! Come on that is common sense! Dunn should of paid heavily instead of walking free n clear! Garg being a doctor should have a little more smarts you would think!

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