“He’s my guy,” Fox said as he waited for Ohio State’s embattled coach.
“He has helped more people, won more games and done more for the university,” said Fox, a former defensive back for the Buckeyes. “He changed my life, and I’m so far from perfect. I can’t throw stones.”
Seconds later, Tressel stopped before entering a crowded restaurant dining room and hugged Fox, who played for him on the Buckeyes’ 2002 national title team. Fox asked Tressel how he was doing after perhaps the most turbulent week of his career.
“I’m OK,” Tressel said.
Standing before an audience of loyal supporters, Tressel apologized several times Monday during his first public speaking engagement since being suspended for two games and fined $250,000 for violating NCAA rules _ a punishment that could become more severe.
Speaking to a group of 400 _ many of them Ohio State fans clad in the school’s scarlet and gray _ at a luncheon sponsored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Tressel charmed the sold-out luncheon crowd during a 40-minute speech in which he centered on handling adversity.
Dressed as impeccably as ever in a charcoal suit and dark red tie, Tressel opened his remarks by saying he couldn’t offer much about the recent scandal at Ohio State “because of the nature of the investigation.”
He then got contrite.
“But I can tell you this,” he said. “I consider all of you a part of the Buckeye Nation. I sincerely apologize for what we’ve been through. I apologize for the fact I wasn’t able to find the ones to partner with to handle our difficult and complex situation.
“I also apologize because I’m going to have some sanctions. But the mission doesn’t change. That’s the pledge I have to you. The mission I’ve always had is we make sure we help young people change their lives.”
As part of the school-imposed penalties announced last week, Tressel was publicly reprimanded and required to make a public apology. During a news conference last week in Columbus, Tressel never offered any such apology.
So, before he was whisked off following the event, Tressel was asked if this speech served as his public repentance. He looked puzzled.
“I’ve tried to apologize all along,” he said.View Entire Story
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