Jim Tressel could have missed spring

Updated: March 10, 2011, 4:33 PM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Ohio State officials, in a letter to the NCAA, initially wrote that they considered suspending football coach Jim Tressel from participating in spring practice and summer camps as part of his punishment for breaking NCAA rules, but the school ultimately elected to allow him to participate in his team's offseason programs.

Tressel, who has guided the Buckeyes to seven Big Ten titles and the 2002 BCS national championship, was suspended Tuesday from coaching in Ohio State's first two games in 2011 and was fined $250,000.

He also will have to attend an NCAA rules seminar and issue a public apology.

Ohio State officials say Tressel broke NCAA rules because he didn't tell athletic director Gene Smith or the school's compliance office about e-mails he received from an attorney in April 2010 that indicated Buckeyes players were receiving improper benefits.

Tressel never mentioned the e-mails nine months later, when in December the NCAA suspended five Ohio State players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and awards to a tattoo parlor owner.

In Ohio State's original self-report document sent to the NCAA, dated March 8 and signed by university president E. Gordon Gee, Smith and faculty athletics representative John Bruno, the school wrote:

"This letter will review the institution's inquiry and also define the corrective and punitive actions, which include suspending him from coaching several games during the 2011 football season, reducing his salary, and precluding Coach Tressel from having any involvement with spring practice or summer camps in 2011."

But in an e-mail to ESPN.com Thursday morning, athletic department spokeswoman Shelly Poe said Tressel would participate in spring practice and summer camps, pending the NCAA's decision on the case.

Poe said the paragraph outlining Tressel's punishment in the original self-report "outlined the scope of options that Ohio State considered but the specific sanctions are the ones outlined."

An updated NCAA self-report was published on Ohio State's website Thursday morning. The paragraph referenced above was edited to:

"This letter will review the institution's inquiry and also detail the corrective and punitive actions, which include suspending him from coaching two games during the 2011 football season and reducing his salary."

The Buckeyes are scheduled to begin spring practice March 31.

Mark Schlabach is a college football reporter for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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