And then there's this:
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months before the school claims it was made aware of the scheme, a two-month Yahoo! Sports investigation has found.
Terry Gilliam/AP Photo
Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source. However, neither Ohio State nor the NCAA investigated the transactions or the players’ relationship with Rife until December 2010, when the school claims it was informed of the situation by the local United States Attorney’s office.
Ohio State director of compliance Doug Archie declined immediate comment when reached Monday by Yahoo! Sports. Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith were unavailable for comment. The NCAA declined comment.
According to a source, a concerned party reached out to Tressel last April, alerting the coach that memorabilia transactions had taken place between Rife and a handful of Buckeyes players, including Pryor. The selling of items violates NCAA eligibility rules. The source said Tressel was troubled by the information, and the coach indicated that he would investigate the matter and take appropriate action.And finally, the potential nail in the coffin:
Whether the coach initiated an investigation of the accusation is unclear, but all five players remained on the field in the coming months, playing out the 2010 regular season.
If Tressel failed to inform Smith or the Ohio State compliance department about the players’ dealings with Rife, he could be charged with multiple NCAA violations including unethical conduct, failure to monitor and a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. In general, a coach is required to act on, or pass along reasonable information about possible rule violations for further investigation.I would note that the word "sources" appears many times in this article. That's usually a red flag when it comes to rumors about a coaching search, as we all know. But given that Dan Wetzel has staked his reputation on this, I am giving this story it's due attention.
Ohio State itself could be cited with playing ineligible players and forced to vacate its 2010 season, when it won a share of the Big Ten championship and finished 12-1. It could also face further sanctions for major infractions.
Smith was adamant at the Dec. 23 news conference that no one at Ohio State knew of the situation until the U.S. Attorney contacted them in early December.
“The athletic department was informed on Dec. 8,” Smith said.
No question, this certainly doesn't bode well for Tressel. The article cites Tressel's contract, and notes that tOSU would be well within their right to fire Sir Teflon for cause. If it comes to that point, maybe Tressel falling on his own grenade will be all that can shield tOSU from the full brunt of the NCAA's hammer...and even then, probably not.