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Also on Monday, The Columbus Dispatch reported that Pryor is the subject of a “significant” inquiry by the NCAA and Ohio State regarding cars and other improper benefits he may have received.

Later Monday, Sports Illustrated reported that the memorabilia-for-tattoos violations actually stretched back to 2002, Tressel’s second season at Ohio State, and involved at least 28 players _ 22 more than the university has acknowledged. Those numbers include, beyond the six suspended players, an additional nine current players as well as other former players whose alleged wrongdoing might fall within the NCAA’s four-year statute of limitations on violations.

After the article’s release, athletic director Gene Smith issued a statement.

“During the course of an investigation, the university and the NCAA work jointly to review any new allegations that come to light, and will continue to do so until the conclusion of the investigation,” he said. “You should rest assured that these new allegations will be evaluated in exactly this manner. Beyond that, we will have no further comment.”

Ohio State called a hurried news conference on March 8, during which it handed Tressel a two-game suspension (later raised to five games), fined him $250,000, and required him to publicly apologize and attend an NCAA compliance seminar.

Smith and Ohio State President Gordon Gee, though, heaped praise on Tressel and said they were behind him 100 percent. Gee even joked when asked if he had considered firing the coach: “No, are you kidding? Let me just be very clear: I’m just hopeful the coach doesn’t dismiss me.”

Gee was not joking about the Tressel situation over the weekend. Ohio State released a letter from Gee to the university’s board of trustees which said, “As you all know, I appointed a special committee to analyze and provide advice to me regarding issues attendant to our football program. In consultation with the senior leadership of the university and the senior leadership of the board, I have been actively reviewing the matter and have accepted coach Tressel’s resignation.”

Tressel’s downfall came with public and media pressure mounting on Ohio State, its board of trustees, Gee and Smith.

Smith said in a video statement Monday, “As you all know, we are under NCAA investigation. We will not discuss any of the matters around that case or any further accusations that may emerge. We will do what we always do. We respond to them, we collaborate with the NCAA and try and find the truth.”

Ohio State will go before the NCAA’s infractions committee Aug. 12.

As for Tressel, he was in trouble with the NCAA, even before coming to Ohio State. In fact, he was the coach at Youngstown State when it received scholarship and recruiting restrictions for violations involving star quarterback Ray Isaac.

Yet before that investigation had played itself out, Tressel was hired in 2001 at Ohio State.

Introduced at an Ohio State basketball game in 2001, Tressel vowed that fans would “be proud of our young people, in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Mich., on the football field.”

His first team went just 7-5, but the unranked Buckeyes shocked No. 11 Michigan 26-20. Tressel would go 9-1 against Ohio State’s archrival and 6-4 in bowl games.

In 2002, with a team led by freshman tailback Maurice Clarett, the Buckeyes won everything. They went 14-0, winning seven games by seven or fewer points. Ranked No. 2, they took on top-ranked Miami in the Fiesta Bowl for the Bowl Championship Series national title. In the second overtime, Clarett bulled over the middle for a touchdown and the Buckeyes held to clinch their first national title since 1968. After the game, Tressel held aloft the crystal football.

Story Continues →