POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, May 31, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio >> Jim Tressel, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, resigned Monday amid NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that sullied the image of one of the country’s top football programs.
“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 wrote in the resignation letter he submitted on Monday morning. “The recent situation has been a distraction for our great university and I make this decision for the greater good of the school.”
Luke Fickell will be the coach for the 2011 season. He already had been selected to be the interim coach while Tressel served a five-game suspension.
Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch said he was unaware of any buyout or severance package. He added that Tressel had returned from vacation Sunday night and met with athletic director Gene Smith, who then met with staff. Tressel typed his resignation and submitted it to Smith, he said.
Under terms of Tressel’s contract, which was worth around $3.5 million a year through the 2014 season, Ohio State is not required to pay him any money or provide any benefits upon his resignation.
In a university video posted on YouTube.com, Smith said Tressel met with his Buckeyes players on Monday morning.
“Coach Tressel did what we all knew he would do,” Smith said. “He did an eloquent job of explaining to the young men what transition really means and what they really needed to focus on. So he met with the team and exited.”
Smith went on to thank Tressel, express his confidence in Fickell and to say that Ohio State would not comment on “any of the matters around (the NCAA) case or any further accusations that may emerge.”
The resignation was first reported by the Columbus Dispatch.
Clearly, the turmoil had been building. The resignation comes nearly three months after Ohio State called a news conference to announce it has suspended Tressel for two games — later increasing the ban to five games to coincide with the players’ punishment — and fined him $250,000 for knowing his players had received improper benefits from a local tattoo-parlor owner.