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Terms have changed; Tressel retires not resigns

Andy Gottesman / Multimedia editor


Aside from the self-imposed punishments issued by the school Friday, Ohio State has changed the terms in which former head coach Jim Tressel left the university.

In a seven-page document released Friday by OSU, signed by both Tressel and President E. Gordon Gee, the terms of Tressel’s departure were changed from resignation to retirement.

 “Coach Tressel will retire from The Ohio State University effective June 30, 2011,” the document states.

Tressel will receive his base pay as well as health benefits through June 30, which amounts to $52,250. Additionally, he will receive a lump sum payment for unused vacation time within 15 days of the agreement going into effect.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to retire from the university that I so deeply respect and that I will continue to support,” Tressel said in a statement released Friday.

Furthermore, the agreement exempts Tressel from paying the $250,000 fine that was imposed by the school on March 8.

“OSU agrees that upon execution of this Agreement it releases, extinguishes, and discharges any rights or claims that it has, may have, or may have had arising out of Coach Tressel’s employment with The Ohio State University,” the document stated. 

Tressel’s attorney, Rex Elliot, told the Columbus Dispatch that Tressel argued he had paid enough.

“Stepping down after 10 years as the Buckeyes’ head coach will cost him far more than $250,000,” Elliott said.

According to Tressel’s contract, which ran through 2015, he would have received around $3.6 million for the upcoming season.

Also, for the first time since Tressel’s resignation, it was revealed that the consistent public support for Tressel by Gee and athletic director Gene Smith may not have been completely accurate.

Smith told the Dispatch on Thursday that he asked Tressel to step down in a meeting on May 29. This is the first time that either Smith or Gee has admitted to making such a request.

The Dispatch reported that “Smith admitted that his support had wavered ‘long before’ he asked for Tressel’s resignation.” It was then clarified by Smith that “long before” meant days, not weeks.

A statement in OSU’s response to the NCAA, released Friday, seem to support the revelations made by Smith.

“The University eventually determined that it was in the best interest of the University and Tressel for Tressel to resign, and he agreed to do so,” the response document said.

Tressel submitted his resignation letter the morning of May 30. At the time, statements in the letter as well as comments by Smith that day implied the decision was made primarily, if not entirely, by Tressel.

“I (made) this decision for the greater good of our school,” Tressel wrote.

Smith said in the video released May 30 that “it was at that time that (Tressel) decided to resign.” Smith was referring to meeting with Tressel the night before.

Gee, Smith and Tressel were not able to be immediately available for comment.  

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