Ohio State Hearing With NCAA Under Way

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A contingent of Ohio State officials and former head football coach Jim Tressel faced several hours of questioning during a hearing with the NCAA's committee on infractions.

The hearing at a downtown hotel began at 8:30 a.m. and wrapped up at about 12:30 p.m.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith issued a brief statement following the hearing, saying the committee members had "numerous relevant questions" about issues in the case.

He said he believed the institution answered the questions thoroughly.

He did not take questions.

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Ohio State was expected to make the case that Tressel alone among school officials broke NCAA bylaws when he learned some of his players had accepted improper benefits from a Columbus tattoo-parlor owner and then declined to tell Ohio State or NCAA officials for more than nine months.

Tressel and his attorney attended Friday's hearing voluntarily. Although Tressel did not speak to the media, he issued a statement that said he had an open and constructive exchange with the committee.

He also issued another apology.

"Again, I would like to apologize to the Buckeye Nation, most especially to the players, staff and fans who remain so dear to me."

The committee will likely take 6-8 weeks before announcing a recommendation on penalties.

University president Gordon Gee, athletic director Gene Smith and current head coach Luke Fickell also attended the hearing.  None of them spoke afterward.

On Thursday, Fickell said he was not sure what to expect.  He said he was only interested in getting back to Columbus afterward and taking part in the Buckeyes' first practice in full pads.

"Happiness will be getting back here tomorrow because I'm excited about practice in full pads," he said.  "That's probably to me the most important thing.  I haven't thought a whole lot about it.  Again, where my focus is, is here on these guys and on that football field and what we need to do to get prepared."

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August 12, 2011: Fickell Not Sure What To Expect From NCAA Hearing