Jim Tressel, Head Football Coach at Ohio State University, has a record of 106-22 and under his leadership the Buckeyes won the 2002 National Championship. The football team went 12-1 last season and beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl by the score of 31-26. However, winning will not shield you or your University from the long-arm of the NCAA.
On Monday, the NCAA accused Coach Tressel of withholding information and lying in an effort to keep players eligible who had accepted improper benefits.
In a thirteen-page Notice of Allegations, the NCAA alleges that Coach Tressel “permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible.” It also alleges that he “failed to deport himself … (with) honesty and integrity”. It continued by claiming that Coach Tressel lied when he filled out a NCAA compliance form in September 2010 that stated he had no knowledge of any NCAA violations by any of his players.
The NCAA usually considers these to be “major violations” but did not cite Ohio State University itself, since allegedly Coach Tressel hid the information from the University for more than nine months.
This whole incident began when Coach Tressel received an email on April 2, 2010, from former player and Columbus lawyer Christopher Cicero. Attorney Cicero informed Coach Tressel that a federal agency raided the house of tattoo-shop owner and discovered autographed Ohio State jerseys, cleats, pants and helmets, Big Ten championship rings and the “gold pants” trinkets given to Buckeyes players for beating Michigan.
Coach Tressel’s response to the email: “I will get on it ASAP.” However, he did not. He failed to notify Ohio State President, anyone else in the athletic department, the compliance department, or anyone in the legal department.
Coach Tressel later admitted to covering up his own knowledge of the players’ violations and received a five-game suspension and a $250,000 fine. The NCAA could accept Ohio State’s suggestion of sanctions, or could levy much more severe penalties. One such penalty could be vacating the entire 2010 regular season.