Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel’s suspension will now match that of five of his players to open the 2011 season.
Thursday night, the NCAA announced that it had denied an appeal from the university to reduce five-game suspensions for five players. Shortly thereafter, OSU announced that head coach Jim Tressel had asked for and been granted an extension to the two-game suspension he already faced for not reporting potential NCAA violations in April.
He will now also sit out the first five games of the season.
In December, Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Dan Herron, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas were suspended for having sold personal items and receiving discounted tattoos. On March 8, the university announced that Tressel would be suspended for the first two games of the season and fined $250,000 after he failed to report information related to the situation to the university nearly 11 months prior.
Once the NCAA announced that it would uphold its suspension of the players, Tressel asked to have his extended and director of athletics Gene Smith complied.
“Throughout this entire situation my players and I have committed ourselves to facing our mistakes and growing from them; we can only successfully do that together,” the coach said in a statement. “I spoke with athletics director Smith, and our student-athletes involved, and told them that my mistakes need to share the same game sanctions.
“Like my players, I am very sorry for the mistakes I made. I request of the university that my sanctions now include five games so that the players and I can handle this adversity together.”
When Tressel’s punishment was announced, Smith said the NCAA still had to weigh in on the matter. That remains true.
“I have accepted his request and we are taking action to notify the NCAA,” the AD said in the statement. “Until the NCAA has completed its investigation, we will not be publicly discussing the details of this case.”
Pryor, Posey, Herron and Adams are all starters. They will miss non-conference games against Akron, Toledo, Miami (Fla.) and Colorado as well as the Big Ten opener against Michigan State. Although the suspensions were announced following the regular-season finale against Michigan, the players were allowed to participate in the Sugar Bowl.
Each player as well as Tressel will not return to the field until a week-six road contest against Nebraska, which will be playing its first game against the Buckeyes as the newest member of the Big Ten. That game will be played Oct. 8.
“While we are disappointed that our appeal request (for the players) was denied, we respect the NCAA and accept its ruling,” Smith said. “The players are sorry for the disappointment they have caused, will learn from their mistakes, and will strive to earn the confidence and support of everyone associated with the university through their future conduct.”
In addition to the suspensions, each of the players will be required to pay back the money and benefits ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.
During the December press conference to announce the suspensions, Smith said he felt the players had a good case to have their punishment reduced because of mitigating factors: the players felt they owned the items in question and that their families needed the money.
This is the final possible course of action for OSU. No further appeals can be filed on behalf of the players.