College Football: Tressel never said he was perfect
COLUMBUS, Ohio ó Ohio State coach Jim Tressel apologized for letting people down Wednesday, and acknowledged that some may view him as a cheater in the wake of NCAA violations that resulted in a five-game suspension.
ěI suppose there could be some that might feel that way and there might be others who might not,î Tressel said. ěI donít have a whole lot of control over that.î
Tressel, dressed in his trademark sweater vest, declined to discuss the investigation into the rules violations during an almost hour-long news conference.
Ohio State has recommended that Tressel be suspended the first five games of this season for failing to report that his players sold memorabilia and received improper benefits. Tressel knew about the situation but did not inform his superiors or the NCAA for more than nine months.
The NCAA could accept Tresselís sanctions ó which includes a $250,000 fine taken from his estimated $3.5 million annual salary ó or levy additional penalties.
The players ó including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor ó were suspended in late December for the first five games of 2011 for accepting improper benefits. All were permitted to play in the Sugar Bowl, however, which the Buckeyes won 31-26 over Arkansas.
Tressel said he believes players will still listen to him when he returns to the sidelines, even though his character has been sullied by what he referred to as ěmistakes.î
ěIím not sure Iíve ever talked (to) or guided our kids with the idea that Iíve done everything perfectly,î Tressel said. ěIíve never looked at myself that way. Some of us are parents in here. We talk to our kids about doing the right things. Well, some of us havenít done everything perfectly, but we still have that responsibility to do that.î
Tressel also introduced linebackers coach Luke Fickell as his replacement for the games heíll be suspended. The co-defensive coordinator is in his 10th year on the Ohio State staff.
ěWhen you visit, when youíve been here, when you truly know what the place is about, when you truly know what the foundation is, the small, little storms, you know, wonít take you down,î Fickell said of the trouble surrounding the program.
Tressel is permitted to work with the team all spring, throughout preseason practice and even during the period of his suspension ó just like normal. He is only required to stay away from the Buckeyes on the days of home games against Akron, Toledo, Colorado and Michigan State and the road game at Miami, Fla.
A school spokeswoman and Tressel turned aside questions relating to the investigation of his violations. But in announcing what was then a two-game suspension on March 8, school officials laid out the framework of the investigation.