March 9, 2011

Trouble For Tressel

By - Kris Fletcher

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel received an e-mail last April telling him that two of his current players were involved in a federal drug-trafficking case and the sale of sports memorabilia, breaking NCAA rules.

Tressel's reply to said e-mail was, "I will get on it ASAP."

Well, he never bothered mentioning it to Ohio State's compliance department or his athletic director for over nine months. Now, he's about to pay the price.

Photo by: Getty Images
On Tuesday, Tressel was suspended for the first 2 games of the 2011 season and fined $250,000 for violating NCAA rules by not notifying the school about the players involvement. He also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology, and that may just be the beginning.

The NCAA is still investigating the matter and could reject Ohio State's self-imposed penalties and add even more sanctions.

Last December, the NCAA suspended five players, including starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, for the first 5 games of the 2011 season for selling championship rings, jerseys and trophies to a local tattoo parlor owner in exchange for tattoos. The suspensions came just two weeks after the U.S. attorney told the school of a federal investigation that included players. However, the school did not learn until January that Tressel had been tipped off back in April to the investigation.

The NCAA has recently faced criticism for going easy on rule-breakers, especially when they allowed Ohio State's guilty players to participate in the Sugar Bowl and for not punishing Cam Newton, Auburn's quarterback, for his father's attempts to gain money from schools in exchange for his son's services.

Tressel says he has no plans to step down over this matter and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says he is not considering firing Tressel over the violation. "Wherever we end up, Jim Tressel is our football coach," Smith said. "He is our coach, and we trust him implicitly."

I'm sure in the upcoming weeks, we'll hear more about this developing situation in Columbus.

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