Tressel's punishment, a two game suspension to start the 2011 football season and a heavy $250,000 fine, included a public reprimand and his issuance of a public apology. The NCAA is further investigating the matter and if it finds more information that Tressel acted in violation, they may reject Ohio State University's punishment and enforce their own sanctions.
The university's athletic director, Gene Smith, told members of the media that he never had any intent on firing the former national champion head coach over the matter. The action to suspend Tressel is based on language in his contract that states that he must report any information he acquires on any violation of school, conference or NCAA violations, to the university, immediately. The word "immediately" is underlined in that clause of his contract.
"Wherever we end up, Jim Tressel is our football coach," Smith told reporters. "He is our coach and we trust him implicitly."
|Ohio State University athletic director, Gene Smith, stated that he never considered dismissing Tressel for the breach of his contract|
Three months ago, the NCAA suspended Ohio State star quarterback, Tyrelle Pryor, and four teammates for the first five games of the upcoming 2011 season for selling jersey, championship rings and trophies to a local tattoo parlor owner. The NCAA suspensions were handed down just a couple weeks after Ohio State was notified by a U.S attorney that there was an ongoing federal investigation that involved players on the football team.
|Ohio State football quarterback and Heisman candidate Tyrelle Pryor will miss the first five games of the 2011 season|
Tressel received an email back in April of 2010 that this federal investigation was forthcoming and explicit information about the details of what had occured between players and local tattoo parlor owner, Eddie Rife. He knew that the players had sold Rife signed memorabilia in exchange for cash and free tattoo work. He ignored the violations and carried on as if he had no knowledge if the information.
|Ohio State Head Football Coach, Jim Tressel has an .828 winning percentage in his ten years with the Buckeyes|
''Obviously I'm disappointed that this happened at all,'' Tressel said. ''I take my responsibility for what we do at Ohio State tremendously seriously and for the game of football. I plan to grow from this. I'm sincerely saddened by the fact that I let some people down and didn't do things as well as I possibly could have."
"I have had a player murdered. I've had a player incarcerated. I've had a player get taken into the drug culture and lose his opportunity for a productive life,'' an emotional Tressel said at a news conference on Tuesday night. ''It was obviously tremendously concerning. Quite honestly, I was scared.''
Despite the discovery of the memorabilia sales and subsequent suspensions handed down to Pryor and four others, Tressel allowed them all to participate in the Sugar Bowl, the only remaining game after the suspensions were enforced. The Buckeyes won that game over Arkansas, 31-26.
Tressel is 106-22 in ten years with the Buckeyes with a national championship in 2002. He's one of college football's most established and successful coaches. The Buckeyes will certainly be without him and their Heisman caliber quarterback for the first two games of the season against Akron and Toledo and depending on the outcome of an NCAA investigation ongoing, could be longer.
As for Ohio State's 2011 Big Ten championship prospects, it will be interesting to see whether or not the NCAA will accept Ohio State's self imposed sanctions. It's likely the Buckeyes can survive Akron and Toledo without their coach and quarterback, but if the suspension for Tressel is extended, games at Miami(FL) and taking on Colorado and Nebraska at home in games three, four and five could be impossible for the Buckeyes without both the coach and quarterback. They already know they'll be down their quarterback for those games. Being down a coach that has 106 wins in 128 career games with Ohio State for those games will prove devastating.
Article first published as Ohio State University Football Head Coach Jim Tressel Suspended and Fined for NCAA Violations on Technorati.