Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel resigns, Luke Fickell will be interim coach in 2011
Jim Tressel, the coach of the Ohio State football program since 2001, resigned as the Buckeyes deal with multiple allegations in an ongoing NCAA investigation, The Columbus Dispatch reported today.
Ohio State confirmed the news less than an hour later.
"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 a statement. "The appreciation that (my wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."
AnnArbor.com file photo
Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee sent a memo to the Ohio State board of trustees regarding Tressel, and the Columbus Dispatch obtained a copy of it:
"I write to let you know that later this morning we will be announcing the resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach of the University's football program. As you all know, I appointed a special committee to analyze and provide advice to me regarding issues attendant to our football program. In consultation with the senior leadership of the University and the senior leadership of the Board, I have been actively reviewing the matter and have accepted Coach Tressel's resignation."
Tressel has been embroiled in scandal since December, when Yahoo! Sports broke a story that Ohio State players had been receiving discounted tattoos at a local parlor. Tressel, at the time, said he knew nothing about it.
The next month, it was revealed Tressel knew all about the investigation and had lied.
"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."
Tressel and the school had received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA in April outlining major NCAA violations and specifically singling out Tressel for knowing players were playing while ineligible.
Two weeks ago, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith gave Tressel his support at the Big Ten spring meetings. At the same meetings, Tressel barely spoke to the press.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said at the time there was much interest in Ohio State, and not a lot of it was positive.
Tressel had been suspended the first five games of the 2011 season. Now, the Dispatch reports, Luke Fickell will coach the entire 2011 season as an interim coach. The university will start its search for Tressel's permanent replacement following next season.
Tressel was 106-22 overall at Ohio State and 9-1 against Michigan. He won the 2002 national championship and has won or shared seven Big Ten conference titles.
"We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best - representing this extraordinary University and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life," Smith said in a statement. "We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach. We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program."