Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel received an e-mail last April telling him that two of his players were caught up in a federal drug-trafficking case and the sale of memorabilia, breaking NCAA rules.
Tressel responded: “I will get on it ASAP.”
But he never mentioned it to Ohio State’s compliance department or his athletic director for more than nine months.
On Tuesday, Tressel was suspended for the first two games of the 2011 season and fined $250,000 for violating NCAA rules by failing to notify the school about the players’ involvement. He also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology.
The NCAA is still investigating and could reject Ohio State’s self-imposed penalties and add more sanctions.
“Obviously I’m disappointed that this happened at all,” Tressel said. “I take my responsibility for what we do at Ohio State tremendously seriously and for the game of football. I plan to grow from this. I’m sincerely saddened by the fact that I let some people down and didn’t do things as well as I possibly could have.”
Last December, the NCAA suspended quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four teammates for the first five games on the 2011 season for selling jerseys, championship rings and trophies to a local tattoo parlor owner. The suspensions came just 16 days after the U.S. attorney told the school of a federal investigation that included players.
The rest of this story at: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6194162
Here’s a quote from the NCAA:
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.
This is an absolutely crazy story, players mingling with drug dealers, players selling their gear for cash and exchanging it for tattoos, coaches ignoring the rules AND the law. Ohio State could be in some real trouble.