- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2011

COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) - Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel forwarded emails to Terrelle Pryor’s mentor that accused the star quarterback of selling memorabilia to a man under federal investigation, the Columbus Dispatch reported Friday.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper reported that Tressel sent the information to Ted Sarniak, a businessman in Pryor’s hometown of Jeannette, Pa.

Ohio State director of compliance Doug Archie told the paper that Sarniak and Pryor are longtime friends and that Sarniak was the player’s primary contact during recruiting.

“As the friendship developed, Mr. Sarniak is someone who Terrelle has reached out to for advice and guidance throughout his high-school and collegiate career,” Archie said in an email to the Columbus newspaper.

Tressel will sit out the first five games next season and was fined $250,000 by the university for failing to notify the school about emails he received last April involving two players and questionable activities involving the sale of memorabilia.

Tressel did not share those emails with Ohio State staff or the NCAA.

During a March 8 news conference about his NCAA violations, the Buckeyes coach said he was trying to protect his players by not breaking the confidentiality of the federal investigation.

When asked by the newspaper whether Tressel had passed the information to Sarniak, Ohio State officials said: “We are not discussing any issues relative to the case until it is resolved with the NCAA.”

Five Ohio State players, including Pryor, were suspended five games in 2011 for selling jerseys and other memorabilia to the owner of a local tattoo parlor, who was under investigation in a federal drug trafficking probe.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects category code to FBC.)