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Uh-oh: Jim Tressel could be in major NCAA hot water

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Ohio State v Arkansas Getty Images

If you are an Ohio State fan and thought, with the exception of serving the five-game suspensions, the imbroglio involving multiple Buckeyes receiving impermissible benefits was over, you may be very, very wrong.

And the school’s head coach may have bought himself a world of NCAA hurt.  Allegedly.

According to a report by Dan Wetzel and Charlie Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, “coach Jim Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months before the school claims it was made aware of the scheme.”  That startling accusation stems from a two-month investigation by the website.

Sources told the website that Tressel was informed in April of 2010 that some of his players were selling/bartering Buckeyes memorabilia and mementos to the owner of Columbus tattoo parlor.  At a December press conference announcing the suspensions for “The Buckeye Five” — quarterback Terrelle Pryor, offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Boom Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — athletic director Gene Smith stated that the school did not become aware of the violations until Dec. 7, a full eight months after Tressel allegedly learned of potential violations committed by members of the football program.

If in fact Tressel knew of what his players were doing and did not inform the athletic department, the football program in general and Tressel specifically could be in for significant repercussions from the NCAA and the school itself — up to and including Tressel being dismissed for cause by the university.

If Tressel failed to inform Smith or the Ohio State compliance department about the players’ dealings with Rife, he could be charged with multiple NCAA violations including unethical conduct, failure to monitor and a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. In general, a coach is required to act on, or pass along reasonable information about possible rule violations for further investigation.

Section 4.1(d) of Tressel’s contract with Ohio State stipulates that he “supervise and take appropriate steps to ensure … members of the Team know, recognize and comply with any such laws, University Rules and Governing Athletic Rules and immediately report to the (Athletic) Director and to the (Athletic) Department’s Office of Compliance Services in writing if any person or entity, including without limitation, representatives of Ohio State’s athletic interests, has violated or is likely to violate any such laws, University Rules and Governing Athletic Rules.”

Section 5.1 (m) of his contract also states that failure to promptly report “any violations” could lead to “termination by Ohio State for cause.”

Ohio State itself could be cited with playing ineligible players and forced to vacate its 2010 season, when it won a share of the Big Ten championship and finished 12-1. It could also face further sanctions for major infractions.

Obviously, if it can be proved that Tressel had prior knowledge of the violations and did not report it — or that it was reported to the athletic department but they did not act on it — the ramifications could be monumental for both the coach and the program.

Given what’s known publicly about Tressel and the kind of man he is, it’s hard to believe he would have this type of information on his players and just squat on it.  However, Wetzel & Company have a tremendous track record of nailing stories such as this, so it’s highly doubtful they would run with something as major as this has the potential to become without  having every “i” dotted and “t” crossed.

And that should be very, very sobering news for both the head coach and fans of the football program.

UPDATED 9:02 p.m. ET: Both Ken Gordon of the Columbus Dispatch and Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer report that Ohio State will have no comment on the report tonight.

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49 Responses to “Uh-oh: Jim Tressel could be in major NCAA hot water”
  1. bonerchamp says: Mar 7, 2011 8:11 PM

    This is great news!

  2. tryagainplease says: Mar 7, 2011 8:21 PM

    i guess tressel ‘didn’t know’ it was wrong either…

  3. inconsonance says: Mar 7, 2011 8:27 PM

    Shit’s about to get real. This will be fun to watch.

  4. ihatedallasandauburn says: Mar 7, 2011 8:29 PM

    Haha, way to go big 10 losers!
    Your only powerhouse is going down.
    No bcs championships in your future
    The weak big 10 is getting weaker,and
    Your only hope is now Nebraska ?

  5. jaggedmark says: Mar 7, 2011 8:29 PM


  6. rashardmendenballs says: Mar 7, 2011 8:38 PM

    And you jobbers in the lame state of Ohio claim Jim Tressel has “Ethics” while Nick Saban, Urban Meyer or Rich Rodriguez have none……BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  7. Ben Kercheval says: Mar 7, 2011 8:40 PM

    I guess Tressel couldn’t keep the rumors…

    *puts on sunglasses*

    … close to his vest

  8. jsarge99 says: Mar 7, 2011 8:40 PM

    Recruiting violations make up for all the boring crap we hear about the nfl’s cba.

  9. gamecockinfl says: Mar 7, 2011 8:41 PM

    Vest must be too tight. The professor may soon be eating humble pie! I have my doubts, but we have to have fun with this as long as we can.

  10. neyvit says: Mar 7, 2011 8:42 PM

    Color me skeptical. I assumed since there was no actual information in this post that there would be some on the Yahoo article, but all it says is that there’s an “unnamed source” that says he told Tressel. That’s about as unreliable of hard facts as it gets. Unlike stories about Oregon/USC/Tenn./etc, there is literally no evidence to support this other than hearsay. I’m not saying it’s definetly not true, but it’ll take a lot more for me to be fully convinced (and I assume NCAA will think the same).

    Furthermore, this seems unlikely considering Ohio State self-reports more than any other school in the country – even on completely random small stuff that’s not even close to being a violation just out of an abundance of caution. Seems unlikely they would go to such great lengths to make sure they self-report, yet completely whiff here.

  11. neyvit says: Mar 7, 2011 8:45 PM

    ^ Correction to my post. It’s not that “unnamed source” told Tressel, its that the “unnamed source” was told by someone that they told Tressel. This goes 2 levels deep in hearsay.

  12. WingT says: Mar 7, 2011 8:45 PM

    If this is true and holds up does will this mean that Michigan has finally beaten Ohio State since the buckeyes will have to vacate wins in 2010?

  13. overratedgators says: Mar 7, 2011 8:48 PM

    “Wetzel & Company have a tremendous track record of nailing stories such as this, so it’s highly doubtful they would run with something as major as this has the potential to become without having every “i” dotted …”

    Just had to throw in a “dot the i” reference, eh, JT?

  14. John Taylor says: Mar 7, 2011 8:52 PM

    @overratedgators: I was wondering if anyone would catch that. 😉

  15. thefiesty1 says: Mar 7, 2011 9:16 PM

    Let’s see, which Big O gets hit the hardest? Oregon with their recruiting service fiasco or Ohio State with their players “free” tats for jerseys????? If you break the rules you have to accept consequences.

    Why did they allow those jerks to play in the Sugar Bowl? Are they going to give Tressel a free ride now?

  16. southernpatriots says: Mar 7, 2011 9:30 PM

    It is bad enough that Ohio State couldn’t win a bowl game v. the SEC until AR and is now 1-9, but now
    this could really be something to watch and something for the “buckeye this” and “buckeye that” to lament for some time after gloating about various other football programs being hit with various things….there may be the reciprocity principal at work here? hmmm.

  17. buckeye2280 says: Mar 7, 2011 9:36 PM

    LoL at all the idiots bashing Ohio State. Where in the article does Yahoo ever state they actually have any hard evidence. All they have is according to a Source. Well guess what this source seems to be a disgruntled X-employee. That means its a his word vs everyone at OSU’s word. Guess who wins that argument. Move on, this story has 0 life unless Yahoo can actually produce legit proof.

  18. imneverwrong says: Mar 7, 2011 9:41 PM

    So they wrote an article, about a source, who heard from a source, that they told JT about this? Great details.

    They do have a great track record uncovering article but this seems to be grasping at straws. They even said in the article that it cannot be shown if JT launched an investigation or not.

  19. buckeyeboy says: Mar 7, 2011 9:43 PM

    You are all correct, this could be extremely detrimental to The Ohio State University,

    the only problem is that all of this is here say; if this were true, this would have come out earlier

    does no one find it suspicious that this “source of a source” did not come out when tressel initially found out, but that they are only coming out now. I have a friend of a friend that says something smells fishy there.

    I will wait to pass judgement on this until the truth comes out, but most people on here will not

    like john says, it seems strange that tressel would not come out with this controversy in april if he knew about it so as to affect the beginning of a season rather than affecting the bowl game. Conventional wisdom would say that you should get it out in the off season when less are paying attention and will not notice rather than right in the midst of bowl season when viewing is at its highest.

    and southernpatriots, until you figure out how to make multiple accounts, your opinions are truly worthless……haha a family of posters

  20. buckeye2280 says: Mar 7, 2011 10:12 PM

    Hey all Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. I read it on the interwebs. Its true…

    This story is goes no where..

  21. thefiesty1 says: Mar 7, 2011 10:16 PM

    How did this affect their bowl game? They all got to play didn’t they? They should have been suspended immediately.

    When Ohio State came here a couple of years ago their fans were all exceptional. But, the homers on here are unbelievable when something bad happens or might happen.

  22. gatorprof says: Mar 7, 2011 10:20 PM

    If this has zero merit, than there is zero reason for OSU to say “no comment”. It is just plain bad PR.

  23. onwisconsin42 says: Mar 7, 2011 10:33 PM

    My advice to Ohio State?

    “Deal with it.”

  24. WingT says: Mar 7, 2011 10:47 PM

    Best comment so far. I agree with you. If this story was BS then OSU would be strongly denouncing it and would have done so immediately.

    Can’t wait to hear how the OSU AD spins it this time. Hopefully we will hear from them tomorrow.

  25. lance1329 says: Mar 7, 2011 10:49 PM

    Im a buckeye fan, and i dont believe that major programs are always clean. Most programs are looking for some kind of advantage, or bending rules. Im not saying its right, but its happening at a lot of programs.

    Unless yahoo has video or audio of the Vest being told, its all hearsay. If they have that there f’ed just like Auburn if its proved Cam Newton knew what his Dad was doing.

    As a Buckeye fan and a fan of football i dont see OSU or Auburn getting busted if someone had significant evidence it would have come out by now.

  26. John Taylor says: Mar 7, 2011 10:53 PM

    @WingT: OSU AD Gene Smith is the chairmen of the Div. 1-A men’s basketball selection committee and is scheduled to be on a conference call tomorrow morning at 11 ET regarding the b-ball tourney. If he actually participates in the call as planned, I think this subject might come up.

  27. John Taylor says: Mar 7, 2011 11:14 PM

    Check that; the conference call is Wednesday.

  28. yodakingpin says: Mar 8, 2011 12:31 AM

    As a die-hard Buckeye fan, I wouldn’t mind vacating the 2010 season.

    That would mean Wisconsin never beat us as #1.

    Wuck Fisconsin!

  29. rgarbonzo says: Mar 8, 2011 1:16 AM

    From 2000 courtesty of SI while Tressel was at YSU-

    “As a member of the NCAA, it’s incumbent upon YSU to understand and comply with all NCAA rules,” said Jim Tressel, the university’s football coach and athletics director.

    The university learned of the violations in a 1998 jury tampering trial of Michael Monus, former board chairman. The university notified the NCAA. The university confirmed that Monus provided nearly $10,000 and the use of automobiles to football player Ray Isaac, who was in the program from 1988 to 1992.

    Also in 2002 at OSU –
    Clarett had filed a false claim that more than $10,000 in clothing, CDs, cash and stereo equipment were stolen from a car he borrowed from a local dealership in September 2003

    hmmm…. seems to be a pattern here.

  30. neyvit says: Mar 8, 2011 1:53 AM

    2 examples in 25 years of coaching does not equal a pattern. And using Clarett as an example is pointless – the guy was a nutcase. Out of thousands of players Treessel has coached, he isn’t responsible for the actions of one of the crazy ones.

    Regardless of the incident at hand, trying to paint Tressel as a promoter of a dirty program is just asinine.

  31. barmyinpalmy says: Mar 8, 2011 4:35 AM

    On the bright side for Ohio State, they won’t have to send any Heisman Trophy’s back

  32. huskerguy says: Mar 8, 2011 8:27 AM

    If it shows Tressel lied there will be an outcry… not for his head but for all the Buckeye fans that worship him as deity. I like Tressel and sure hope that he had nothing to do with this and wasn’t lieing.

  33. huskerguy says: Mar 8, 2011 8:28 AM

    Oh… and dotting the “i” was the funniest thing I have seen in awhile…

    No pun intended, right? 😉

  34. edgy says: Mar 8, 2011 8:56 AM

    John, like the “i” but you should have had the guy who broke the camera video to dot it. :)

    That being said, most of the fan guys and gals of Ohio State are curiously silent. Seems that they have no problem crapping all over the SEC but as I’ve pointed out before, they sure can’t take their own medicine.

    Me, I’m going to wait for it to play out. On one hand, it’s not like Ohio State has been a rogue program BUT if there was much ado about nothing, you’d think that they’d be shouting it from the highest mountains that there’s nothing to see here.

  35. weswelkerspornstash says: Mar 8, 2011 10:44 AM

    Is this what Cowherd was teasing about all last week? If he had the info and the source he should have released it. Now he looses the credit for the story

  36. alligatorsnapper says: Mar 8, 2011 11:22 AM

    CBS is reporting that Tressel knew of the violations and even required the players to repay the $7500 or so but did not properly report the incident. If that is true and since self-reporting is a big deal to the NCAA, there will come some form of penalty on Tressel and/or Ohio State. The players were already kept out of playing and readmitted to playing in time to beat Arkansas…hmm! Our local newspapers are reporting a little but maybe some of the wonderful posters here have more details. What will be the possible penalty to OS if the CBS report is true?

  37. buckeye2280 says: Mar 8, 2011 11:53 AM

    First off, this is not what Cowherd was talking about. He already said it was about Oregon.

    Secondly, the players were told to repay the money as part of there punishment. There is 0 proff of anything that Yahoo has stated to be True. ZERO! They have the brother’s sisters, mother’s father’s cousin’s college roommate stating they were told. Untill actual hard evidence is provided, the investigation is closed people.

  38. bumpa52 says: Mar 8, 2011 11:53 AM

    Ohio State gets DERAILED at “THE Tressel” hah !!!

  39. jaggedmark says: Mar 8, 2011 12:02 PM

    So you didn’t want to report it immediately, get your players suspended, and derail your national title hopes, eh Tressel?

  40. Deb says: Mar 8, 2011 12:51 PM

    buckeyeboy, of course southernpatriots know how to create multiple accounts. But they enjoy discussing their opinions and taking turns posting. One nice thing about CFT is that it’s an eclectic community of quirky commenters.

    Don’t know what’s wrong with me because I should delight in Ohio State’s troubles, but it still seems minor to me to trade memorabilia for tatoos. If Tressel found out earlier than reported, perhaps he told them to stop and thought they had. Can’t a coach privately slap a wayward player’s hand without having to call out the National Guard? :roll:

    But no matter what happens, I’d suggest Buckeye fans stop putting Tressel on a pedestal. He may be a great guy, but if you put too much faith in any human, you’re bound to be disappointed.

  41. edgy says: Mar 8, 2011 1:07 PM

    Deb says:


    The answer is no. He would have had to report the incident because it was impermissible and it’s not the coach’s place to decided what is or isn’t allowed.

  42. somisseagle says: Mar 8, 2011 1:42 PM

    Fire him and make an example. The NCAA’s punishments are a complete joke.

  43. dkhhuey says: Mar 8, 2011 1:43 PM

    Yes – by all means, just because some putz has a blog and reports that a friend of a friend of a friend had a sister who says she slept with a player who had a cousin that has a nameless wife that said she mentioned to Tressel his players were selling stuff for tats means they are totally dirty and all the university’s past history of self policing and reporting suddenly became something they just decided to stop in lieu of these minor infractions. Come on people – I know we’re all hopped up on pitch forking and torching people but at least get the actual facts before you riot.

  44. polegojim says: Mar 8, 2011 2:56 PM

    @WingT – now – the Michigan reference was TOTALLY uncalled for. I’m hurt…you kick a man while he’s DOWN??? ; )

    We will beat them this year anyway, so it really doesn’t matter, 2010, 2011, whatever it takes.

    All kidding aside – Tressel is a top notch individual and coach. I have a hard time believing he is culpable via knowledge, albeit he could be guilty by ignorance.

  45. Deb says: Mar 8, 2011 3:23 PM

    @edge …

    I know–that was a rhetorical question. But it’s ridiculous. Think we’ve discussed this before, but one reason the NCAA doesn’t have enough investigators to check out major violations–such as fathers pimping out their children for six figures–is because they’re too busy running down all these ludicrous things coaches are required to report:

    Oops, we took photos of high school kids in our jerseys.

    Oops, my guys gave memorabilia to a tatoo artist in exchange for free tats.

    Oops, my assistant texted a recruit 10 times instead of five.

    Oops, our shapely dancing girl passed in front of the camera filming our fax machine.

    Oops, I served a recruit crunchy peanut butter and NCAA rules says I’m only allowed to tempt him with smooth. :roll:

    It’s crazy. Bureaucracy run amok.

  46. buckeyeboy says: Mar 8, 2011 3:34 PM

    +1 for deb lol that was really clever

  47. latrobe21 says: Mar 8, 2011 3:49 PM

    All of you are over-analyzing this. What is Tressel’s record at OSU, like 110 – 20 ? THE OSU will take no action against Tressel – maybe a public reprimand or something, with a “wink wink,” we don’t really mean what we’re saying, Jim.

  48. dexterismyhero says: Mar 8, 2011 4:00 PM

    ruh roh!

    The AD will make his announcement that all is well while wearing a short sleeved shirt with a Big OSU tat on his arm.

  49. dkhhuey says: Mar 8, 2011 4:59 PM

    @dex – now that is funny!!!!

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