NCAA alleges Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel lied to hide NCAA violations
In a sharply worded rebuke of Ohio State's Jim Tressel, the NCAA on Monday accused the 10-year coach of withholding information and lying to keep Buckeyes players on the field even though they had accepted improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor.
In a “notice of allegations” sent to the school, the NCAA said Monday that the violations relating to the coach are considered “potential major violations.”
Ohio State was not cited for the most serious of institutional breaches, lack of institutional control, because Tressel hid information from his superiors for more than nine months. The university has 90 days to respond to the ruling body of college sports' request for information before a scheduled date before the NCAA's committee on infractions Aug. 12 in Indianapolis.
In a 13-page indictment of Tressel's behavior, the NCAA alleged that Tressel had “permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible.” It also said he “failed to deport himself … [with] honesty and integrity” and said he was lying when he filled out a compliance form in September that said he had no knowledge of any NCAA violations by any of his players.
Athletic director Gene Smith said he would have “no comments until the case is resolved.” The university issued a statement that the allegations were consistent with what it had already self-reported to the NCAA on March 8.
Tressel has a record of 106-22 at Ohio State and won the 2002 national championship, the Buckeyes' first in 34 years. His team went 12-1 last season, including the 31-26 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.
The NCAA could accept Ohio State's suggestion of sanctions — a five-game suspension of the coach and the players involved, to be served next season, and a fine — or could levy much more severe penalties. Because the NCAA says that Tressel knowingly used ineligible players, it would seem probable that the 2010 regular season would be vacated — ending the Buckeyes' run of consecutive Big Ten titles at six. The NCAA could also come down hard on Tressel, compelling Ohio State to add to the coach's suspension or issue sanctions leading to the school firing him.
-- The Associated Press
Photo: Jim Tressel. Credit: Greg Bartram / US Presswire