Jim Tressel Resigns as Buckeyes’ Football Coach Monday
Coach Jim Tressel, who is considered the second-most successful coach in Buckeyes history and guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, resigned Monday in the midst of NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that tainted the image of one of the country’s top football programs.
Tressel claimed that in April 2010 he didn’t turn over information that players were dealing memorabilia to a tattoo parlor owner under a federal drug trafficking investigation due to “confidentiality” concerns.
“After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign,” Tressel said in a statement released by the university.
He said the ongoing investigations and drumbeat of almost daily, sordid revelations were a “distraction” to the university and that he was stepping down “for the greater good of our school.”
Ohio State announced that assistant coach Luke Fickell, already tapped to take over for Tressel during his self-imposed five-game suspension for his violations, will be the Buckeyes coach for the 2011 season. Ohio State will begin looking for a permanent coach who will take over next year.
The Columbus Dispatch also reported on Monday that Tressel was encouraged to resign, though university officials would not confirm that. Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch said he was unaware of any buyout or severance package for Tressel. According to Tressel’s contract with Ohio State, the coach “shall not be entitled to receive any further compensation” if he resigns. Tressel had been under contract through the 2014 season. His contract is worth around $3.7 million a year through the 2014 season and Ohio State is not required to pay him any money or provide any benefits upon his resignation. So, Tressel will likely lose all of his $3.5 million annual salary.
Three months ago, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said suspending coach Jim Tressel two games (against Akron and Toledo). It was increased to five games and fined him $250,000 for knowing his players had received improper benefits.
In his resignation letter, the last lines were:
“We know that God has a plan for us and we will be fine,” he wrote, referring to himself and his wife, Ellen.
“We will be Buckeyes forever.”