The NCAA has upheld suspensions for a group of Ohio State football players who sold awards and received improper benefits, and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said on Thursday that coach Jim Tressel will also sit out the first five games of the 2011 season.
Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas were previously handed five-game suspensions for selling awards, gifts and university apparel, as well as receiving improper benefits in 2009.
Ohio State appealed the suspensions in the hopes that it would reduce the number of games players would miss, but an NCAA committee on student-athlete reinstatement upheld the punishments.
The players must also repay money and benefits ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.
"While we are disappointed that our appeal request was denied, we respect the NCAA and accept its ruling," said Gene Smith, Ohio State associate vice president and athletics director. "The players are sorry for the disappointment they have caused, will learn from their mistakes, and will strive to earn the confidence and support of everyone associated with the university through their future conduct."
SPECIAL SECTIONS: Ohio State Investigation | Ohio State Football | VIDEO EXTRAS: Tattoo Shop Investigation | Tressel, Smith Discuss Player Reaction | SLIDESHOW: Ohio State Players Sanctioned By NCAA | WEB EXTRA: NCAA Requires Loss Of Contests For Six Ohio State Football Student-Athletes (PDF)
The players will not be alone. Smith said that Tressel also asked to sit out the first give games of the upcoming season.
"I have accepted his request and we are taking action to notify the NCAA," Smith said. "Until the NCAA has completed its investigation, we will not be publicly discussing the details of this case."
Last week, Tressel was suspended for the first two games next season and fined $250,000 for failing to notify the school about information he received last April involving two players and questionable activities involving the sale of memorabilia. The NCAA could levy additional penalties on him.
"Like my players, I am very sorry for the mistakes I made," Tressel said in a statement released by the university. "I request of the university that my sanctions now include five games so that the players and I can handle this adversity together."
Watch 10TV News and refresh 10TV.com for continuing Buckeye football coverage.
March 14, 2011:
Tressel Gets Standing Ovation At Canton Speaking Engagement
March 12, 2011: OSU AD Smith Asked About Tressel On CBS Broadcast
March 11, 2011: Attorney: Tattoo Shop Owner Didn't Tip Off Ohio State
March 10, 2011: Gee: No 'Smoking Gun' In Ohio State Rules Violation Investigation
March 9, 2011: Ex-Ohio State Football Player Says He Told Tressel About Player Investigation
March 9, 2011: Tressel's Rules Violation Could Impact Ohio State Recruiting
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