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Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State football coach on Monday amid a pending NCAA disciplinary hearing.
The announcement came less than three months after Ohio State President Gordon Gee and Athletic Director Gene Smith said that they would support Tressel after allegations that he used ineligible players last season and withheld information about rules violations.
Ohio State players were notified on Sunday night about an 8:45 a.m. Monday meeting.
At the meeting, Tressel broke the news to the team that he was resigning. Only a handful of players were there because of the Memorial Day holiday, 10TV's Dom Tiberi reported. Smith then met with the players.
"In consultation with the senior leadership of the Board of Trustees, I have been actively reviewing matters attendant to our football program, and I have accepted Coach Tressel's resignation," Gee said in a statement. "The University's enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions."
Luke Fickell will serve as interim head coach for the 2011-12 football season, the university announced. According to the university, the search for a new head coach will not begin until after the season ends.
Tressel was not available for comment on Monday, but the university released a statement.
"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 in the statement. "The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."
Tressel came under scrutiny for an apparent rules violation. Tressel admitted knowing about allegations that some of his players were trading their Ohio State memorabilia to Columbus tattoo shop owner Ed Rife.
Tressel did not disclove the information to the university's compliance office or to the NCAA, which is a major violation, 10TV News reported.
The problem is more serious because the violation qualifies Ohio State as a "repeat violator," meaning that the NCAA could enforce serious sanctions, including the "death penalty."
Possible punishments against the university include a post-season bowl ban and a reduction of scholarships to athletes.
Recent reports said that Tressel hired a former NCAA infractions chairman to represent him at an Aug. 12 hearing where the university was to state its case to the NCAA.
It was not immediately clear how Tressel's resignation would affect the hearings.
Tressel said that he would join players Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas in serving a five-game suspension.
A Sports Illustrated reporter tweeted that the timing of Tressel's resignation would make sense after a story about Tressel and the program was to be published later on Monday.
Tressel, 58, was 106-22-0 at Ohio State. He led the Buckeyes to eight Bowl Championship Series games in his 10 years. Combined with a 135-57-2 record in 15 years at Youngstown State, where he won four Division I-AA national championships, Tressel's career mark was 241-79-2.
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