Documents show Tressel’s history of compliance gaffes

Jim Tressell's latest round of lying to NCAA rule breaking that ultimately led to his resignation on May 30, was not his first rodeo.

Documents obtained by the Columbus Dispatch showed Tressell had a history of failing to report NCAA rules violations and was admonished several times by former Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger, including as recently as the 2005-06 season.

Geiger kept written accounts of performance-based reviews before Gene Smith replaced him in April 2005. From then on, all of the evaluations were done verbally with no written accounts.
But Geiger had routinely scolded Tressel for his failure to abide by the rules, the same charges that have been levied against Tressel in the past year. Tressel failed to report NCAA violations when he learned his players were selling memorabilia in exchange for tattoos and other gifts.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Between 2001 and 2005, Tressel received six letters from Ohio State officials warning about NCAA violations, including one that was sent to the entire football coaching staff.

They dealt with issues ranging from allowing a recruit's mother to make a free phone call to paying attention to the cars that athletes drove, according to the documents obtained by The Dispatch based on a public-records request.

Tressel's personnel file reflects no letters of admonishment after Smith took over Ohio State's athletic programs, although the university regularly has self reported minor violations to the NCAA.

Asked to comment on Tressel's behalf, his lawyer, Gene Marsh, this morning pointed to a section of Ohio State's March 11 report to the NCAA formally notifying the organization of the coach's violations.

Tressel's "behavior in this situation is out of character for him and is contrary to his proven history of promoting an atmosphere of NCAA compliance within the football program," says the document signed by Smith, President E. Gordon Gee and faculty athletics representative John Bruno.

"Since his hiring as the head football coach in 2001, he and his staff have attended NCAA rules education sessions on a consistent basis, regularly sought interpretations and self-reported secondary violations," the document says.

In 2003, Tressel also was warned to keep an eye on cars players were driving. Incidentally, this is the same time former running back Maurice Clarett came out with allegations that players were receiving improper car benefits, though at the time, his allegations proved to be unfounded.

There's no doubt Tressel's history of disregard for the rules will be a major topic during Ohio State's hearing with the NCAA on Aug. 12. Tressel is scheduled to appear in Indianapolis, according to his lawyer, and will have to come up with a pretty good explanation to justify the paper trail against him.

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