“After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach,” Tressel said in a statement released by the university. “The appreciation that (wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable.”
Luke Fickell will be the coach for the 2011 season. He already had been selected to be the interim coach while Tressel served a five-game suspension.
Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch said he was unaware of any buyout or severance package. He added that Tressel had returned from vacation Sunday night and met with athletic director Gene Smith, who then met with staff. Tressel typed his resignation and submitted it to Smith, he said.
Under terms of Tressel’s contract, which was worth around $3.5 million a year through the 2012 season, Ohio State is not required to pay him any money or provide any benefits upon his resignation.
The resignation comes nearly three months after Ohio State called a news conference to announce it has suspended Tressel for two games - later increasing the ban to five games to coincide with the players’ punishment - and fined him $250,000 for knowing his players had received improper benefits from a local tattoo-parlor owner. The school said at the time it was “very surprised and disappointed” in Tressel. Yet, the school still managed to crack jokes.
Asked if he considered firing Tressel, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee said then: “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.
First reported by The Columbus Dispatch and The Associated Press.