Ohio State Football Escapes New Violations From NCAA

Former Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel made it official on Monday morning announcing his retirement and his move to Ohio State as linebackers coach.

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Mike Vrabel Makes It Official: Retirement Then Ohio State

Former Kansas City Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel made it official on Monday morning announcing his retirement and his intent to join the Ohio State football program as Luke Fickell's linebackers coach. Ohio State has called a 10:00 a.m. press conference, presumably to announce the move.

Vrabel made it official releasing a statement through his agent on Monday morning.

After 14 years in the National Football League, I have decided to retire and accept the position of Linebackers Coach at The Ohio State University. 

I am extremely appreciative of the teammates, coaches, and great fans who surrounded me during my NFL career, and am honored to have been a part of three tremendous organizations in the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Kansas City Chiefs. I am especially grateful to Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli, who not only gave me the opportunity to play for a team that won three Super Bowl championships and an NFL record 21 games in a row, but also taught me invaluable lessons on creating the ultimate team approach.

I am very excited to become a part of Luke Fickell's staff at Ohio State. I have great faith and trust in Luke leading the Buckeye football team as he represents all the core values integral for a program's success, and I am looking forward to working with our student-athletes as I begin the next phase of my career.

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Ohio State Calls Press Conference On Monday As Mike Vrabel Reports Stir

With reports expecting the Ohio State football team to hire ex-Buckeye Mike Vrabel, the university has announced a press conference for Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. ET, reports Lori Schmidt of 97.1 The Fan. While Ohio State has yet to confirm any of these reports, the press conference hints largely at that being the day's topic.

With the current state of the Buckeyes' football program, bringing back one of their former players is not only good publicity but also a good way for Vrabel to enter the coaching ranks, something he has acknowledged in the past.

Will Vrabel and Luke Fickelle, former college roommates, be able to bring some semblance of order to an unsettled Ohio State team this fall?

For more Ohio State, join Buckeyes community Along The OlentangySB Nation Cleveland and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire. Also catch up on the latest news surrounding the Terrelle Pryor cars investigationPryor's football future, the scandal unfortunately labeled Tatgate and Jim Tressel's resignation.

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Mike Vrabel To Join Ohio State Coaching Staff, According To Reports

According to multiple reports, with the Columbus Dispatch leading the way, longtime NFL player and former Ohio St. Buckeyes defender Mike Vrabel will retire from pro football to join his former college roommate, Luke Fickell, on the Ohio State coaching staff. He's expected to be named the program's assistant coach.

Expect the school to make the announcement Monday if it's actually happening, according to reports. Ohio State is denying the news at the moment.

Vrabel and Fickell played on Ohio State's defensive line together in the mid-1990s. It appears both also wear really Affliction-y shirts. Vrabel played 14 NFL seasons for the Steelers, Patriots and Chiefs.

For more Ohio State, join Buckeyes community Along The OlentangySB Nation Cleveland and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire. Also catch up on the latest news surrounding the Terrelle Pryor cars investigationPryor's football future, the scandal unfortunately labeled Tatgate and Jim Tressel's resignation.

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Mike Vrabel May Join Ohio State Coaching Staff, According To Report

Mike Vrabel may end up being the final domino to fall into place after violations severely altered the Ohio State coaching staff in 2011. With Jim Tressel out and Luke Fickell in as the new head coach, Fickell's former spot on the defensive side was in need of a replacement.

According to CollegeFootballTalk, "there’s a very good chance" former Ohio State defensive lineman and current Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel will be named as a defensive assistant for the Buckeyes and that announcement could be made as early as this coming Monday.

Vrabel would have to retire from the NFL first. He is considered an active free agent for the time being.

Vrabel's name has been thrown around as far back as Fickell's introductory press conference. Vrabel is also on the record as saying "I think it’s certainly something I’d be interested in under the right situation."

Vrabel finished his career at Ohio State by being named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in both 1995 and 1996, becoming only the second player to ever win the award twice.

One issue that might arise, especially given the precarious details surrounding the Ohio State program, is Vrabel's recent arrest. In March 2011, Vrabel was arrested and charged with allegedly stealing bottles of beer at an Indiana casino. Vrabel said, "It was an unfortunate misunderstanding, and I take full responsibility for the miscommunication."

For more on Ohio State's coaching situation, visit Along The Olentangy.

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Ohio State Football Coach Luke Fickell Talks About Replacing Jim Tressel

Luke Fickell probably didn't want to take over the Ohio State football program like this. The former co-defensive coordinator has had the "interim" tag removed and is now the head coach of the Buckeyes, permanently taking over for Jim Tressel about a month after he resigned under a cloud of controversy.

The hiring of Fickell seems to make a lot sense, at least from the perspective that Ohio State is still facing an uncertain future and the big-name guys would be unlikely to sign on given that. Fickell spoke about that very issue recently:

"It’s still hypothetical and for us right now we don’t have a whole lot of time to focus on those kinds of things. We just really are focused on the things that we can control and really continuing to tell our guys and make sure they understand that we’re moving forward. We’re focused on the now and what’s going to happen with that is out of our hands. We’ll let those in charge of that do their job and hey we’re gonna really worry about the things we can control."

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Luke Fickell Introduced As Jim Tressel's Replacement At Ohio State

The Ohio St. Buckeyes introduced interim coach Luke Fickell on Monday, making the former assistant the team's first new head coach since Jim Tressel took over before the 2001 season. Tressel, you'll recall, resigned a few weeks ago as scandals came crashing and howling onto Columbus from every angle. Have fun, new guy!

Athletic director Gene Smith on the promotion:

We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best - representing this extraordinary University and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life. We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach. We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program.    

Pressure won't be standard Ohio State-level insane for Fickell in 2011, as he'll have to deal with the loss of Terrelle Pryor, his first five games will field a roster depleted by suspensions and, with spring football well in the rearview, he's also taking over midstream. But still, it's Ohio State, so plenty of eyes are on Fickell now.

For more Ohio State, join Buckeyes community Along The OlentangySB Nation Cleveland and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire. Also catch up on the latest news surrounding the Terrelle Pryor cars investigationPryor's football future, the scandal unfortunately labeled Tatgate and Jim Tressel's resignation.

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Luke Fickell Introductory Press Conference Monday; Aired By Big Ten Network

There's no way for a school like Ohio State to keep quiet the resignation of longtime Head Coach Jim Tressel in a rules-breaking scandal and the naming of Luke Fickell as interim coach. Then again, there are some things that can only increase the glare on the school. Such as a press conference to announced the already-announced promotion of Fickell, televised live by a quasi-national cable network.

The Big Ten Network will air Luke Fickell's introductory press conference at 4 p.m. Mondayless than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

 

We can only imagine the first few questions. Anyone want to take the first stab at setting the over-under on the uses of the words "tattoos" and "cars"?

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Jim Tressel Resignation: Ohio State Compliance Department Should Receive Blame Too, Says Ex-Buckeyes Coach John Cooper

Jim Tressel's predecessor as Ohio State football coach, John Cooper, took aim at the university's compliance department for failing to make sure that the team followed NCAA guidelines. Cooper appeared on local Columbus television the same day Tressel resigned and said the following (via Sports by Brooks):

"Compliance is not doing their job when this kind of stuff happens and they act like they don’t know about it. When I was coaching over there, compliance was around everywhere. It’s almost like they were trying to find us violating a rule."

What could have caused the compliance department to overlook many of these violations while his program was looked over with a fine tooth comb? It's what's even more important than winning the National Championship: defeating Michigan, which Cooper could not do and Tressel did.

Tressel and other Ohio State officials invoked the compliance department for all the good that they had done, but clearly there is a problem when scandals like this occur for nearly a decade.

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Exit Jim Tressel: The Death Of A Football Mortician

Jim Tressel's actions under pressure may seem strange, but according to Spencer Hall it's nothing new if you watched him coach football for the past ten years.

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Jim Tressel Replacement List Is Broad And Speculative

With Jim Tressel resigning as head football coach at Ohio State amidst myriad alleged violations, it didn't take long for chatter to start up about which coach would eventually replace him.

We know co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell will step in as the interim coach for the 2011 season. After that? Hard to say. Depending on what he does it stands to reason that Fickell will have a chance to earn the full-time gig moving forward.

However, if the administration wants to reel in a big fish to wash the stink off the program, these are some of the names being bandied about:

Urban Meyer - Contractually-obligated to be considered a candidate for any high-profile football coaching gig until he publicly decries it, Meyer has already said he's not interested, though he left a little wiggle room in his denial in a way that's so typically Urban.

Bob Stoops - The longtime Oklahoma coach is an Ohio native. After 12 seasons in Norman he might want to start somewhere fresh. But the likely violations and punishments to be bestowed on OSU don't make it too attractive to a coach in his position.

Bo Pelini - The Nebraska coach is a former Ohio State player. Considering the Huskers just jumped to the Big Ten, it might be sacrilige for Pelini to jump ship even if it is his alma mater.

Mark Dantonio - The Michigan State headman has spent a large portion of his professional career in Ohio, including stints at Akron, Cincinnati, Youngstown State and Ohio State as defensive coordinator. Again, it might be too much to ask that he jump to a rival and then there's his health issues to consider.

Jon Gruden - Just because.

Gary Patterson - TCU's head coach might want to try and cash in and trade up to the Buckeyes. Then again, he's about to head to the Big East where he's going to have a much easier time winning conference titles and playing for championships.

Greg Robinson - Because how much fun would that be? Especially for Michigan fans...

For more Ohio State, join Buckeyes community Along The OlentangySB Nation Cleveland and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.

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SI Article: Tressel Allegations Include Memorabilia-For-Marijuana, Rigged Raffle And Free Cars

As we dive further into George Dohrmann's Sports Illustrated article on Jim Tressel and the state of Ohio State football, plenty of new allegations emerge.

  • The memorabilia-for-tattoos violations started occurring all the way back in 2002, Tressel's second season at OSU.
  • Former Buckeye defensive end Robert Rose claims that he and "at least 20 others" on the Ohio State team traded memorabilia for tattoos.
  • SI uncovered allegations that some players traded memorabilia for marijuana. As a coach at Youngstown State in 1988, Tressel contacted a school trustee in regards to arranging a job for one of his players. That player also received a car from the trustee's company.
  • During an event in which Ohio State was hosting recruits, assistant coach Tressel rigged a raffle to ensure that the highly-prized recruits won prizes "such as cleats and a jersey."

Of course the article also gets in-depth about the more well-known claims, such as the recent tattoo allegations. While some of the allegations might be described as nitpicky or not a big deal on their own, it's the massive history of alleged incidents and violations that will forever change the way the college football world views Jim Tressel.

For more Ohio State, join Buckeyes community Along The OlentangySB Nation Cleveland and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.

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SI Article: Tressel's 'Ignorance' Became His Downfall At Ohio State

George Dohrmann’s long-awaited Sports Illustrated article on Jim Tressel and his downfall at Ohio State was published Monday night. After some brief delays (likely to tailor the piece after Tressel’s sudden resignation at OSU), you can read it in full here.

The gist of the article is that while Tressel was a man of integrity on the field, he was a man willing to play the ignorant fool off of it when it came to his players and their perks. And it’s something that existed long before Tressel ever stepped foot in Columbus.

As coach at Youngstown (Ohio) State in the mid-1990s, he claimed not to know that his star quarterback had received a car and more than $10,000 from a school trustee and his associates — even though it was later established in court documents that Tressel had told the player to go see the trustee. In 2003, during Tressel’s third season in Columbus, Buckeyes running back Maurice Clarett was found to have received money and other benefits. Even though Tressel said he spent more time with Clarett than with any other player, he also said he did not know that Clarett had been violating the rules.

And that’s before we even get to the recent memorabilia-for-tattoos violations and other issues Terrelle Pryor may have gotten himself into.

Go read the piece now and we’ll meet back here to discuss. GO!

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Jim Tressel's Ohio State Resignation Letter: 'We Will Be Buckeyes Forever'

Ohio St. Buckeyes news site theOzone.net has presented a document purported to be Jim Tressel's resignation letter, addressed to athletic director Gene Smith. It's dated May 30, though Smith, Tressel and president E. Gordon Gee had likely discussed the outcome before the day of the announcement. Here's the body text of that letter:

After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach.

The recent situation has been a distraction for our great university and I make this decision for the greater good of our school.

The appreciation that  Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable. We have been blessed to work with the finest group of young men in America and we love them dearly. In addition, we cannot thank you enough ... the high school coaches we have worked with over these many years.

We know that God has a plan for us and we will be fine. We will be Buckeyes forever.

I don't know what that ellipsis'd part means either. Many will cackle at the parts about stepping down for the good of the institution, but one way or another it's sort of true. Though it probably wasn't entirely Tressel's idea, Ohio State can only hope the removal of Tressel convinces the NCAA to be gentle in the near future.

ht Andy Staples

For more Ohio State, join Buckeyes community Along The OlentangySB Nation Cleveland and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.

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Urban Meyer On Replacing Jim Tressel At Ohio State: 'I Am Committed To ESPN'

If you're already in the business of compiling future coaching candidates for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, you can scratch Urban Meyer off the list. The former University of Florida coach who resigned from the Gators job for health reasons is perfectly happy with his job at ESPN and he won't be pursuing the Ohio State job or any other job in the near future, according to a statement he released today.

This is hardly surprising, but it does beg the question: How many times does Urban Meyer have to say he's not interested in taking any coaching jobs before people leave him alone about it? As a guy with a family, multiple titles, and medical problems, there's no reason not to believe that he's happy on television and that he's not interested in returning to coaching in the near future.

A relatively wild guess: It's too late in the game for Ohio State to nab a big name. Luke Fickell will coach Ohio State this season, then depending on his performance, be one of many candidates for the job next winter. In any event, the next Ohio State head coach will not be Urban Meyer.

For more Ohio State, join Buckeyes community Along The OlentangySB Nation Cleveland and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.    

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Ohio State Football Players React To Jim Tressel's Resignation: 'No Team Wanna Play Us'

While the news of Jim Tressel's resignation as football coach at Ohio State caught most media members and OSU football fans by surprise on this holiday Monday morning, it seems the players were equally blindsided to lose their leader. Thanks to Twitter (and some of these Buckeyes tweet quite a bit), we were able to round up their reactions from the time the news broke through the early parts of the afternoon.

Perhaps the reaction of junior defensive back Travis Howard summed things up best, from a little before 10 a.m. on Monday.

 

(Mind you, Howard's tweets ran the full gamut on Monday morning, from the weather to tanning to the temperature of his house to honoring those who served on Memorial day to what kind of phone he used. At least initially, it appears he was shocked to hear that Ohio State's football coach had resigned. However, as of 2 p.m. ET, that was more than 50 tweets ago.)

Center Michael Brewster, a starter on the offensive line getting ready to enter his senior season, voiced support for his former coach and thanked him for the "life lessons."

Coach Tressel was one of the most honorable men I ever had the chance of being around..he taught me endless life lessons...Thank you coachless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

 

The other most common reaction from Ohio State football players was "look out for us next season." Losing their leaders has evidently given the Buckeyes something to rally around heading into the 2012 season, which they'll start with an interim coach and without quarterback Terrelle Pryor and a handful of other players for the first five games.

So much love for coach tress. Promise no team wanna play us .#onamissionless than a minute ago via HTC Peep Favorite Retweet Reply

 

And more from Jordan Hall, a rising junior at running back and a former high school teammate of Pryor's:

I'm lovin all these negative tweets I'm gettin..keep feedin us..cuz we all gon eattt #buckeyesless than a minute ago via HTC Peep Favorite Retweet Reply

 

Akron? Toledo? You've been warned. 

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VIDEO: Jim Tressel Resignation Addressed By AD Gene Smith

In the wake of Jim Tressel's sudden resignation as Ohio State's football coach on Monday morning, the Buckeyes' athletics director, Gene Smith, released a video statement in which he provided a detailed timeline that led to this morning's announcement. 

Smith said that he met with Tressel on Sunday evening when the football coach returned from vacation, and they discussed the "state of the program." At that point, according to Smith, Tressel decided to resign; the two met again on Monday morning in Tressel's office, where the coach handed in his official letter of resignation. Tressel also addressed the team, explaining how the transition would work.

Before meeting with players and the rest of the coaching staff, Smith said he offered the interim football coaching job to Luke Fickell, the co-defensive coordinator who already was in line to coach the team for the first five games of the season. Fickell accepted the new offer, the Smith did not discuss any plans for Fickell or the head coaching job after the 2011 season. Smith also met with the rest of the coaching staff and support personnel before he and Fickell met with the players. 

The main message from Fickell to the players, according to Smith: Focus on the books, as Ohio State is heading into finals week. "They obviously need to focus on finishing their classes," Smith said, "which is really what we're all about."

At the end of his statement, Smith finally addressed the ongoing scandals and NCAA investigations surrounding the Ohio State football program:

As you all know, we are under NCAA investigation. We will not discuss any of the matters around that case, or any further accusation that may emerge. We will do what we always do: We will respond to them, collaborate with the NCAA and try to find the truth.

You can view the complete video statement from Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith below.

 

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Jim Tressel Resigns, And Now What For Ohio State Football?

There are a lot of questions about Jim Tressel's resignation from Ohio State, and about three answers. Spencer Hall reviews them here.

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Ohio State Releases Statement On Jim Tressel's Resignation As Head Football Coach

The resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach of Ohio State football has officially been accepted by university president Gordon Gee, according to a statement released by the school on Memorial Day. The full statement can be seen below.

Tressel resigned suddenly on Monday following months of scandals and investigations around the Ohio State football program. Co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell will coach the school in 2011.

Columbus, OH – The Ohio State University announced today that it has accepted the resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach of its football program. Luke Fickell will serve as interim head coach for the 2011-2012 football season. Recruitment for a new head coach – which is expected to include external and internal candidates – will not commence until the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season.

“In consultation with the senior leadership of the Board of Trustees, I have been actively reviewing matters attendant to our football program, and I have accepted Coach Tressel’s resignation,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “The University’s enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions.”

Jim Tressel said, “After meeting with University officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach. The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable.”

Athletics Director Gene Smith said, “We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best – representing this extraordinary University and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life. We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach. We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program.”

(Statement via NCAA Rumor Mill)

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Jim Tressel Resigns, Luke Fickell Takes Over As Ohio State Football Coach

With Jim Tressel’s resignation, Ohio State’s administration has announced his replacement: Luke Fickell, the Buckeyes’ current co-defensive coordinator and a nine year veteran of the Ohio State coaching staff.

Fickell’s Ohio State pedigree is substantial. He played nose guard for the Buckeyes under John Cooper, and was a four year starter before beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant in Columbus. Aside from a two year stint at the University of Akron from 2000-2001, he has spent his entire career at Ohio State, coaching special teams and then linebackers as co-defensive coordinator.

Fickell has also never been a head coach at any level, so it is hard to look at the move as anything but a nod to stability while the Buckeyes figure out what the next step in the Tressel succession process is. Fickell was already set to coach the first five games of the season while Tressel served his suspension for misleading the NCAA’s investigators in the Tatgate scandal, so this represents an extension of a pre-existing arrangement rather than a hasty battlefield promotion.

Make no mistake, though: barring a miraculous run through 2011, Fickell is both 100 percent Buckeye and, for the moment, 100 percent interim coaching material.

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Jim Tressel Resigning Amid Multiple Ohio State Football Scandals, According To Report

Jim Tressel will resign as head coach of the Ohio St. Buckeyes on Monday, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting. The Dispatch, which has been all over the Ohio State program in recent months, shares a memo from president E. Gordon Gee, which spells out the resignation about as clearly as possible:

I write to let you know that later this morning we will be announcing the resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach of the University's football program.

Gee says that, upon reviewing guidance from a special committee, he's decided to accept Tressel's resignation.

Ohio State football remains in the middle of a memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal and a cheap cars scandal, which have easily become conflated at times as the walls appear to close in. Tressel was already suspended for five games in 2011 -- up, at his request, from the two games he'd originally been docked -- and would've seen his team go without the services of Terrelle Pryor and others for almost half the season.

Tressel will leave with a 106-22 record as Buckeyes coach, which includes six straight Big Ten titles and the 2002 national title.

For more Ohio State, join Buckeyes community Along The Olentangy, SB Nation Cleveland and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.

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