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Tressel was asked if he would have never come forward if the government had not sent the letter. “Never is a long time. I don’t know,” he replied.

“I had confidence in the federal government that they were gonna do what they were supposed to do,” he said. “They didn’t need my help to do it, nor did they need my interruption to do it.”

The NCAA also said in its letter released Friday that it investigated a Sports Illustrated report that said nine more players sold memorabilia to the tattoo parlor owner, but confirmed that only one had any dealings with the man.