“After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach,” Tressel said. “The appreciation that [wife] Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable.”
Athletic Director Gene Smith stated. “I want you to know that last night, when Jim returned from his vacation, he and I sat down for a while and talked about the state of our program. It’s at that time that he decided to resign. We met again this morning in his office and chatted some more, and he submitted his formal letter of resignation. We did meet with part of the team this morning and those who were not there, they were contacted by their position coaches. Coach Tressel did what we all knew he would do. He did an eloquent job of explaining to the young men what transition really means and what they needed to focus on.”
“We are under NCAA investigation. We will not discuss any of the matters around that case, or any further accusations that may emerge,” Smith said. “We will do what we always do: we will respond to them, we collaborate with the NCAA and try and find the truth. I do want to thank Coach Tressel for his long service to our university. There were a lot of people he touched in a highly positive way. We’re very thankful for his leadership during the years we had great success on the field and off the field, but more importantly in the classroom.”
Coach Tressel was earlier suspended by Ohio State for five games of the 2011 season, increased form the original two game suspension, and fined $250,000 for allegedly knowing that some of his players received improper benefits from an owner of a local tattoo parlor.
As previously reported, Ohio State players sold championship rings, uniforms for cash or discounted tattoos. The violations came to light in a U.S. Attorney investigation into drug trafficking involving the owner of the parlor.
Coach Tressel learned that his player were involve when he received an email from a former Ohio State player. However, Coach Tressel signed the NCAA compliance form in September 2010, stating that he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing by athletes.
Under terms of Coach Tressel’s contract, which is worth around $3.5 million a season through the year 2014, Ohio State is not required to pay him any money or provide any benefits upon his resignation.
Luke Fickell will be the coach for the 2011 season.