Tressel's Rules Violation Could Impact Ohio State Recruiting


UPDATED: Tuesday March 15, 2011 11:54 AM

An investigation into an Ohio State NCAA rules violation was under way on Wednesday as Buckeye fans questioned how the allegations against coach Jim Tressel would impact the program and its ability to recruit top players.

The university has self-imposed a two-game suspension for Tressel, a public reprimand and apology, attendance at a compliance seminar and a $250,000 fine.

Tressel said that he received e-mails last spring that indicated two of his players were involved in a drug investigation.  The investigation led to a raid at a west side tattoo parlor, where some of the player's memorabilia was found.

According to 10TV News partner, the Columbus Dispatch, former OSU football player and Columbus lawyer, Christopher T. Cicero, has been identified as the person who sent the e-mails to Tressel.

"Admittedly, I probably did not give as much thought to the NCAA," Tressel said during a Tuesday night news conference.  "I definitely didn't move forward with this information to anyone simply because in my mind I didn't know who best it would be.  I learned that I probably should have gone to the top legal counsel at the university and perhaps gain the protection you might need in the process."

VIDEO EXTRA: Ohio State March 8 News Conference | WEB EXTRAS:  Read Tressel E-Mails | OSU Statement SPECIAL SECTION:  Ohio State Football

And while the e-mails showed that Tressel learned about what was going on in April, he did not disclose it to the university until January, when university attorneys discovered it. Ohio State self-reported it to the NCAA on Feb. 3.

Officials at the NCAA in Indianapolis would not go on camera on Wednesday but said Ohio State did the right thing by self-reporting, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported.

The NCAA issued a statement that said, "We appreciate OSU's prompt response regarding this issue and we are committed to continuing our cooperative investigation."

The impact on the football program and its ability to recruit players remains unknown.

Bill Kurelic, with the Ohio Football Recruiting News, said there are about a dozen prospective players in high school who have committed to Ohio State or been offered a scholarship, 10TV Sports' Dan Fronczak reported.

Kurelic said most of the players have not wavered in their commitment to the team or its coach.

A Buckeye recruit who requested anonymity told 10TV Sports that he is still considering Ohio State but said if further discipline is handed down by the NCAA, or the school is put on probation, then he would strongly consider other programs.

Although OSU has issued a self-imposed two-game suspension, the NCAA will make the final decision on any punishment Tressel will receive.

The NCAA has not said how long it will take to complete the investigation. 

In December, Tressel said the responsibility for educating players about NCAA rules rests with the coaching staff.

"As coaches, it's our job to make sure the policies are crystal clear," Tressel said at that time.

On Dec. 23, the university announced it was suspending quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Daniel "Boom" Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, defensive end Solomon Thomas and offensive lineman Mike Adams for the first five games of the 2011 season.

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Previous Stories:

March 8, 2011: Ohio State Suspends Coach Jim Tressel For 2 Games
March 7, 2011:   Report: Tressel Knew About Violations Last April
December 30, 2010:  NCAA Rebuts Critics Of Ruling On Ohio State Violations
December 28, 2010: Suspended Ohio State Football Players Publicly Apologize
December 23, 2010:  Pryor, 5 Others, Face Sanctions For NCAA Violations
December 22, 2010:  Ohio State Probing Possible NCAA Violations By Football Players