Tattoogate (January 10, 2012)

Tattoogate (January 10, 2012)

By Martin J. Greenberg, Managing Member, Law Office of Martin J. Greenberg, LLC, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Founder, National Sports Law Institute; and Adjunct Professor of Law, Marquette University Law School

& Lindsay Ruch, Third Year Student, Marquette University Law School



Jim Tressel (“Tressel”) became Ohio State University’s (OSU) 22nd head football coach in 2001 replacing John Cooper (“Cooper”), and served until May 2011 when he resigned.[1]  Former OSU nose guard and assistant coach Luke Fickell (“Fickell”) was promoted to head coach after Tressel's resignation.[2]  From 2002 to 2011, with Tressel as its head coach, OSU boasted the most players drafted by NFL teams.[3]  While at OSU, Tressel won 106 games including 8 BCS bowl berths, 7 Big Ten titles, a 2002 BCS National Championship, and a 9-1 record against the Michigan Wolverines.[4]  Tressel left OSU as the third winningest coach in the school's history, just behind Woody Hayes and Cooper.[5]

OSU's fiscal year 2012 athletic budget of $126.5 million is only second to that of University of Texas (“Texas”) at $153.5 million.[6]  Likewise, Texas and OSU are NCAA leaders in the production of football gross revenues (Texas $87.5 million; OSU $68.19 million).[7]

Tressel’s contract was renewed in the spring of 2010 through 2014.[8]  Tressel's salary package approximated $3.7 million annually.[9]  Additionally, Tressel could have earned up to $300,000 per year in academic bonuses tied to the yearly academic progress rate of the team and the quarterly cumulative GPA of the team.[10]  According to coaching salary databases, Tressel was approximately the sixth-highest paid NCAA college football coach.[11]  Tressel’s contract included a golf membership for him and his wife, 40 tickets to each football game and 4 tickets to each basketball game, use of a car, and 20 hours of personal use of a private jet, which has an estimated value of approximately $450,000.[12]  His contract specified that he would receive a $3 million payment if he was terminated without cause.[13]  Tressel, in turn, was required to pay a $1 million buyout to OSU if he left OSU for another coaching position.[14]

Pursuant to Addendum No. 3, Tressel would have received for the 2011 season: a base salary of $627,000; $1,450,000 for media promotion and PR; $1,050,000 for apparel, shoes and equipment; and $450,000 for a retention bonus.[15]

Finally, Addendum No. 3 granted Tressel the right to become an associate athletic director at an annual salary of $150,000 if he desired to terminate his contract and was not terminated for cause.[16]

Fickell, an assistant coach, replaced Tressel for the 2011 season and compiled a 6-6 record.[17]  In November of 201,1 it was announced that former University of Florida coach Urban Meyer (“Meyer”) had been hired as Ohio State’s new head football coach.[18]  Meyer will be paid $4 million a year for 6 years and will be eligible for bonuses including a so-called retention bonus that would pay him $450,000 if he remains as head coach on January 31, 2014;  $750,000 if he remains as head coach on January 31, 2016; and $1.2 million if he remains as head coach on January 31, 2018.[19]  In September of 2011, Tressel was hired by the Indianapolis Colts as a consultant on replays.[20]



In December 2010, five OSU players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor (“Pryor”), were suspended after it was learned that they received cash and discounted tattoos for memorabilia from the owner of a local tattoo parlor, Edward Rife (“Rife”) of Fine Line Tattoos and Piercings, who was the subject of a felony drug trafficking investigation.[21]  According to the OSU investigation, the five players sold multiple items to Rife from 2008-2010 who displayed some of the memorabilia on his Facebook page.[22]  Among the pieces sold were Pryor's 2009 Fiesta Bowl Sportsmanship award, multiple jerseys, game shoes, game helmets, Rose Bowl watch, multiple Big Ten Championship rings, autographs, and multiple Golden Pants pendants awarded to players for victories over the University of Michigan.[23]  The players were suspended for the first five games, and the suspensions were to begin with the first game of the 2011 season.[24]  The suspended players, however, were permitted to play in the January 2011 Sugar Bowl featuring OSU and Arkansas.[25]  The suspended players were also required to pay to charities the improper benefits gained.[26]

As OSU officials began preparing an appeal to the players' suspensions, investigators came across emails indicating that Tressel became aware of the players’ receipt of improper benefits.[27]


A Time Line:

  • April 2, 2010- Tressel receives an email from Columbus attorney Christopher T. Cicero (“Cicero”), a former OSU walk-on player in the 1980s, that indicates that current Buckeyes players have been selling signed memorabilia to tattoo parlor owner Rife, who is under federal investigation by the U.S. attorney's office.[28]  In three postscripts, Cicero also mentions Rife’s criminal history and that Rife was being investigated for drug trafficking.[29]  Tressel does not tell athletic director Gene Smith (“Smith”), or any of his superiors, the school’s compliance department or legal department or the NCAA about the information.[30]  But he does forward it to Ted Sarniak, a 67-year-old businessman in Jeannette, Pa., who is quarterback Pryor's “mentor.”[31]
  • April 2, 2010: Tressel replies to Cicero, “Thanks. I will get on it ASAP .... jt”[32]
  • April 16, 2010: Cicero emails Tressel again, providing additional details about the OSU players’ activities, including some information gleaned from a 90-minute conversation he had with Rife.[33]  Cicero says 9 Big Ten championship rings, 15 pairs of cleats, 4 or 5 jerseys and 1 national championship ring have been offered for cash or trade by players – “for not that much.”  Cicero writes, “What I tell you is confidential.”[34]  Prior to that, over a two-week period, no secrecy had been requested.[35]
  • April 16, 2010: Tressel replies, “I hear you!! It is unbelievable!! Thanks for your help....keep me posted as to what I need to do if anything. I will keep pounding these kids hoping they grow up”[36]
  • April 16, 2010: Cicero replies, suggesting that the players not be allowed to go to Rife's house or his tattoo parlor nor to call him on his cell phone “because if he gets arrested, and that seems to be the plan, we don’t want their phone numbers in his cell phone that the government will trace. He really is a drug dealer.”[37]  He emphasizes the severity of the federal case against Rife.[38]  He closes with a second reference to “keep our emails confidential.”[39]
  • June 1, 2010: Tressel initiates an email conversation with Cicero, writing “our rings arrive this week for 2009 Big Ten ... any names from our last discussion?? I would like to hold some collateral if you know what I mean. ... jt”[40]
  • June 1, 2010: Cicero replies, saying “no more names,” and that, “the names I gave you for the two current players are still good.”[41]  Cicero later confirms that the players in question are Pryor and wide receiver DeVier Posey.[42]
  • June 6, 2010: Tressel thanks Cicero.[43]  They exchange no more emails.[44]
  • September 13, 2010: Tressel signs an annual NCAA certificate of compliance form indicating he knows of no violations and has reported to the school any knowledge of possible violations.[45]  The form is required of all college coaches, officials and administrators by NCAA rules.[46]  Tressel’s OSU contract also requires that he disclose any information he has pertaining to known or potential NCAA violations.[47]
  • December 7, 2010: The U.S. attorney’s office notifies OSU officials that it had discovered some OSU memorabilia during a raid on Rife’s home and/or the tattoo parlor and asks if the items were stolen.[48]  A day later, the athletic department is informed.[49]
  • December 9, 2010: Tressel claims that this is the first time he hears what federal officials know about the items.[50] He makes no mention to university officials of his email exchanges with Cicero or any knowledge he has of the matter.[51]
  • December 16, 2010: OSU interviews for the first time the six players found to be involved with Rife (Pryor, tailback Daniel Herron, Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, and defensive back Jordan Whiting (“Whiting”)).[52]  Smith later thanks the players for their conduct in these interviews, “because they were honest [and] forthright.”[53]  Tressel does not disclose his knowledge of the memorabilia sales.[54]
  • December 19, 2010:  OSU turns in a self-report to the NCAA and declares the six players ineligible.[55]  The NCAA conducts phone interviews with the players and then asks for additional information, which OSU provides on December 22, 2010.[56]
  • December 22, 2010:  The NCAA notifies OSU of five-game suspensions for five players and one game for Whiting.[57]  All must also pay to charity the equivalent of the money and services they received.  But the NCAA does allow the players to participate in the Sugar Bowl on January 4.[58]
  • December 23, 2010:  Smith and Tressel conduct a news conference to announce the sanctions.[59]  Tressel says the players must have known what they were doing was a violation of NCAA rules: “I suppose that would be something rattling around inside the head of each of them individually. We all have a little sensor within us, ‘Well, I'm not sure if I should be doing this.’”[60]
  • January 3, 2011:  While reviewing information to appeal the players’ suspensions, OSU’s office of legal affairs finds Tressel’s email exchanges with Cicero.[61]
  • January 16, 2011:  Presented with the emails, Tressel finally acknowledges them.[62]  In its self-report to the NCAA, filed later, OSU officials say of Tressel, “As you know, shortly thereafter, you were informed of this and invited to participate” in the investigation.[63]
  • February 8, 2011: NCAA and school officials interview Tressel.[64]  Tressel for the first time admits he knows he committed an NCAA violation.[65]
  • March 7, 2011:  Yahoo! Sports publishes a story in which a source says that Tressel had knowledge of his players’ potential NCAA violations as early as April 2010 and did not disclose it.[66]  Smith has his staff rush to finish the self-report.[67]
  • March 8, 2011:  OSU reports Tressel’s violation to the NCAA and calls a news conference to announce it has suspended Tressel for 2 games and has fined him $250,000.[68]  In the letter to the NCAA, OSU says, “The institution is very surprised and disappointed in Coach Tressel's lack of action in this matter.”[69]  Yet at the news conference, university President E. Gordon Gee (“Gee”) and Smith lavish praise on Tressel.[70]  Asked if he considered firing Tressel, Gee jokes, “No, are you kidding? Let me just be very clear: I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me.”[71]
  • March 17, 2011:  The NCAA denies an appeal on behalf of the five players suspended for five games.[72]  At the same time, Tressel says he wants the same five-game suspension.[73]
  • April 19, 2011:  Smith says Tressel's $250,000 fine may not cover the cost of the NCAA investigation.[74]  OSU releases a copy of the NCAA compliance form Tressel signed in September 2010.[75]  The NCAA continues to deliberate additional sanctions.[76]

In May 2011, Tressel submitted his letter of resignation.[77]  Tressel stated that, after meeting with OSU officials, “it is in the best interest of [OSU] that I resign as head football coach.”[78]  Tressel went on to say that the investigations and daily media attention was “a distraction” for the university, and that he was stepping down “for the greater good of [the] school.”[79]  Tressel's problems have now been commonly referred to as “Tattoogate.” 

In his defense, Tressel indicated that he did not inform his Ohio State superiors of the misconduct by his players because he feared for their safety, amid an April 2, 2010 email from Cicero reporting that they were selling memorabilia to a tattoo parlor under investigation for suspected drug trafficking.[80]  Tressel also indicated that Cicero requested that the information be kept confidential and the coach said he did not want to take any action that might interfere with the federal investigation.[81]

Sports Illustrated has reported that at least 28 players were involved in exchanging memorabilia for services as far back as 2002, Tressel’s second season at OSU.[82]



The facts surrounding Tattoogate gave OSU ample grounds to terminate Tressel, pursuant to his contract, for cause. 

Paragraph 5.1 (Termination by OSU for Cause) of Addendum No. 1, dated June 30, 2006, of Tressel's contract, redefines termination for cause.[83]  The contractual provision clearly states that the Coach serves at the pleasure of the Director of Athletics and that no further payment of benefits shall be made to Coach if the Director notifies Coach that it is terminating his contract for cause.[84]  If Tressel had not first resigned, OSU could have terminated his contract on one or more of the following contractual provisions for termination for cause:


b.       A significant or repetitive or intentional violation (or a pattern of conduct which may constitute or lead to a major violation), as determined by [OSU], by Coach (or any other person under Coach's supervision and direction, including, but not limited to, student-athletes) of any laws, University Rules or Governing Athletics Rules; or

c.       A breach of contract terms, as determined by the Director, or a violation of a criminal statute or regulation (excluding minor traffic violations); or

d.       A violation by Coach of any University Rules or violation by Coach of any law of the State of Ohio or the United States, including but not limited to, Ohio's ethics laws, as determined by [OSU]; or

e.       Fraud or dishonesty of Coach in the performance of his duties or responsibilities under this agreement as determined by [OSU]; or

f.        Fraud or dishonesty of Coach in preparing, falsifying, submitting or altering documents or records of [OSU], NCAA or the Big Ten conference, or documents or records required to be prepared or maintained by law, Governing Athletic Rules or University Rules, or other documents or records pertaining to any recruit or student-athlete, including without limitation, expense reports, transcripts, eligibility forms or compliance reports, or permitting, encouraging or condoning such fraudulent or dishonest acts by any other person, as determined by [OSU]; or

g.       Failure by Coach to respond accurately and fully to any request or inquiry relating to the performance of his duties hereunder or the performance of his duties during his prior employment at any other institution of higher learning propounded by [OSU], NCAA, the Big Ten conference or other governing body having supervision over the athletic programs of [OSU] or such other institution of higher learning, or required by law, Governing Athletic Rules or University Rules, as determined by [OSU]; or

m.      Failure by Coach to report promptly to the Director and to the Office of Compliance Services in writing any violations known to Coach of Governing Athletic Rules or University Rules by Coach, the assistant coaches, students or other persons under the direct control or supervision of Coach, as determined by [OSU]; or

o.       Commission of or participation in by Coach of any act, situation, or occurrence which, in [OSU]'s judgment, brings Coach and/or [OSU] into public disrepute, embarrassment, contempt, scandal or ridicule or failure by Coach to conform his personal conduct to conventional standards of good citizenship, with such conduct offending prevailing social mores and values and/or reflecting unfavorably upon [OSU]'s reputation and overall primary mission and objectives, including but not limited to, acts of dishonesty, misrepresentation, fraud or violence that may or may not warrant arrest by the relevant authorities.[85]


Rather than terminating Tressel for cause pursuant to his contract, Tressel resigned in May 2011 and subsequently entered into a Release Agreement which reclassified the resignation as a retirement.



Tressel pre-empted any termination for cause notification under the contract by tendering to the University his letter of resignation dated May 30, 2011.[86]  On July 8, 2011, Tressel executed an Agreement and Release of All Claims (“Release Agreement”).[87]  The Release Agreement acknowledges that Tressel wished to exercise his option to retire as an employee of the University effective June 30, 2011, and that both Tressel and the University may have issues or disputes that arise out of his employment and separation therefrom.[88]  The Release Agreement, in essence, provides that Tressel will retire from the University effective June 30, 2011, that he will receive health benefits and base pay through June 30, 2011, and that within fifteen days after the execution of the Release Agreement he will receive the lump sum payment due him under the University policies for cash-out of accrued vacation and/or sick time equal to 240 hours.[89]

As a result of the Release Agreement, each party mutually released the other from any and all claims of any kind or nature arising out of the employment relationship.[90]  Paragraph 6, however, of the Release Agreement, indicates that the agreement does not constitute and shall not be construed as an admission by either Tressel or OSU of any wrongdoing or violation of any common law, statute, or regulation.[91]

In a reversal, OSU, which earlier had asked for Tressel's resignation on May 30, 2011, indicated that it had now agreed, pursuant to the Release Agreement, to allow him to call it a retirement.[92]  OSU also indicated that Tressel did not have to pay the $250,000 fine levied against him for his actions.[93]  On top of that, Tressel received the last month of his pay, $54,000, in essence received a $304,000 severance package.[94]  Tressel further agreed to cooperate when OSU goes before the NCAA Infractions Committee, in addition to the University and Tressel agreeing that they would not sue each other.[95]



The NCAA on April 25, 2011 sent its Notice of Allegations to OSU.[96]  The Notice of Allegations indicates that Tressel, head football coach,

  • knew or should have known that at least two football student-athletes received preferential treatment from and sold institutionally issued athletics awards, apparel and/or equipment to Rife, but he failed to report the information to athletics administrators and, as a result, permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition while ineligible, as set forth in Allegation No. 2 (NCAA Bylaw 14.11.1).[97]

Further the Notice of Allegations indicates that Tressel, head football coach,

  • failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics as required by NCAA legislation and violated ethical-conduct legislation when he failed to report information concerning violations of NCAA legislation and permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition while ineligible.  Specifically, in April 2010, Tressel received email notification that football student-athletes received preferential treatment from and sold athletics awards, apparel and/or equipment to Edward Rife, owner of a local tattoo parlor; however, Tressel failed to report the information to athletics administrators.  Additionally, Tressel withheld the information from April 2010 until the institution discovered the emails in January 2011, including throughout the 2010 football season when he permitted football student-athletes to compete while ineligible and during the institution's investigation of the violations in December 2010.  Further, in September 2010, Tressel falsely attested that he reported to the institution any knowledge of NCAA violations when he signed the institution's certification of compliance form, which is required under Bylaw[98]

The Notice of Allegations did not contain a lack of institutional control charge or failure to monitor charge, and no school employees besides Tressel were implicated of any wrongdoing.[99]



OSU's self-imposed penalties were reported to the NCAA in July of 2011.[100]  Five penalties were self-imposed, including vacating the 12 wins from the 2010 football season, including the Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas, vacating the 2010 Big Ten title, suspending players for the start of the 2011 season, two years of probation, and the university sought and accepted the resignation of then football coach Tressel.[101]  The self-imposed penalties did not suggest more severe punishment for its football program such as a bowl ban or loss of scholarships.[102]

There is no question that Tressel is the target and is being painted as the “solitary and brazen culprit.”[103]  In a Sports Illustrated article, OSU stated that “‘The responsibility is upon Tressel.  No other institutional personnel were aware’ of anything amiss, and ‘The institution is embarrassed by the actions of Tressel.’”[104]  The Sports Illustrated article further indicated that “Tressel has been widely attacked over the past four months, but one can't help feeling a little sorry for him after seeing just how deep his former employer is burying him under the bus.”[105]



An ESPN “Outside the Lines” story alleged that former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor was paid thousands of dollars in exchange for signed gear by local memorabilia collector, photographer and Buckeyes fan Dennis Talbott.[106]  “Outside the Lines” also reported that that Pryor and other Buckeyes played free rounds of golf with Talbott at a Columbus-area country club, and a Columbus Dispatch report scrutinized dozens of automobile sales to OSU athletes and family members from a pair of Columbus-area dealerships.[107]

Ohio State has been slapped with a failure to monitor charge after the NCAA sent out another notice of allegations to the University on November 3, 2011.[108]  The latest allegations involve now disassociated booster Robert DiGeronimo who paid players to attend a charity event and is accused of paying players for work they did not perform at summer jobs.[109]  As a result of the November 3rd allegations, OSU has stripped itself of five total scholarships over the next three years.[110]



Tressel's alleged activities constitute a violation of Article 10.1, Unethical Conduct.[111]  The meaning of unethical conduct is defined in Article 10.1 and applies to current or former institutional staff members, including coaches.[112]  With respect to Tressel's alleged activities, Article 10.1 sanctions the following:

(c)      Knowing involvement in offering or providing a prospective or an enrolled student-athlete an improper inducement or extra benefit or improper financial aid;

(d)      Knowingly furnishing the NCAA or the individual's institution false or misleading information concerning the individual's involvement in or knowledge of matters relevant to a possible violation of an NCAA regulation;

(g)      Failure to provide complete and accurate information to the NCAA, the NCAA Eligibility Center or an institution's admissions office regarding an individual's academic record (e.g., schools attended, completion of coursework, grades and test scores)."[113]

NCAA Bylaw Article 19 (Enforcement) discusses the penalties that may be levied for secondary violations (19.5.1) and major violations (19.5.2).[114]  Article (Disciplinary Measures) indicates that

"in addition to those penalties prescribed for secondary violations, among the disciplinary measures, singly or in combination, that may be adopted by the committee and imposed against an institution for major violations are:

(L)       Requirement that a member institution that has been found in violation, or that has an athletics department staff member who has been found in violation of the provisions of the NCAA legislation while representing another institution, show cause why:

             (1)      A penalty or an additional penalty should not be imposed if, in the opinion of the committee (or the Infractions Appeals Committee per Bylaw 19.2), it does not take appropriate disciplinary or corrective action against athletics department personnel involved in the infractions case, any other institutional employee if the circumstances warrant or representatives of the institution's athletics interests; or

             (2)      A recommendation should not be made to the membership that the institution's membership in the Association be suspended or terminated if, in the opinion of the committee (or the Infractions Appeals Committee per Bylaw 19.2), it does not take appropriate disciplinary or corrective action against the head coach of the sport involved, any other institutional employee if the circumstances warrant or representatives of the institution's athletics interests.

             (3)      "Appropriate disciplinary or corrective action" as specified in subparagraphs (1) and (2) above may include, for example, termination of the coaching contract of the head coach and any assistants involved; suspension or termination of the employment status of any other institutional employee who may be involved; severance of relations with any representative of the institution's athletics interests who may be involved; the debarment of the head or assistant coach from any coaching, recruiting or speaking engagements for a specified period; and the prohibition of all recruiting in a specified sport for a specified period."[115]


The afore-referenced disciplinary action is commonly referred to as the "show cause" penalty, which may be perhaps the harshest in the NCAA arsenal of penalties and essentially prevents a person from working in college sports.  Any university wishing to hire a coach under a show cause designation must appear before the NCAA Infractions Committee and potentially face new sanctions.[116]  No Division 1 athletic director has ever taken that step. Show cause usually amounts to a total ban from working at the college level for the duration of the penalty.[117]

Some examples of NCAA show cause orders include the following :[118]

Name of Coach       University                Length of Show Cause Order       Sport   

Dave Bliss               Baylor                               10 years                           Basketball

Todd Bozeman        Univ. of California                8 years                           Basketball

Clem Haskins          Univ. of Minnesota              7 years                           Basketball    

Kelvin Sampson      Univ. of Oklahoma               5 years                           Basketball

Neil McCarthy         New Mexico State               5 years                           Basketball

Bruce Pearl             Univ. of Tennessee             3 years                           Basketball



A ruling by the NCAA Division 1 Committee on Infractions was announced on 12/20/2011.[119]  Ohio State was cited for failure to monitor, preferential treatment and extra benefit violations to the football program.[120]  Former coach Jim Tressel was found to have engaged in unethical conduct.  As a result therefor, additional penalties were imposed on Ohio State which include:

  • A one-year Bowl ban for the 2012 postseason
  • Three years of probation from December 20, 2011 through December 19, 2014;
  • Ohio State must forfeit nine scholarships during the three-year probation period;
  • Former coach Jim Tressel was hit with a show-cause penalty of five years for committing violations, including lying to the NCAA and failing to report violations.[121]


  1. 83% of games won in 10 seasons, a 9-1 win-loss record against Michigan, 7 Big Ten titles and a national championship won't save you from a cover-up.
  2. Automobiles, money, and boosters are trouble.  Coaches must be fully cognizant of their players' off-field activities and who they are associating with.
  3. Ignorance is not a valid defense.  Once NCAA indiscretions and violations become known to a coach, the coach and the university must exercise control over the situation by immediately conducting their own investigation, self-reporting the violations to the NCAA, and self-imposing sanctions.  This pathway may be the coach's best opportunity to mitigate damages not only to the program and the university, but to the coach's career.
  4. Cover-ups will lead to a charge that coach violated NCAA Rule 10.1 concerning unethical conduct, a charge that most coaches, including the “senator” cannot overcome.
  5. When a coach learns of NCAA indiscretions or violations he has an immediate responsibility and obligation to report the same to his superiors and ultimately the NCAA.  Coach might immediately want to consult outside counsel.
  6. Winning football games does not have anything to do with character.
  7. Coaches do not represent a higher form of life, they are human. 
  8. Withholding information and lying to keep players eligible is the equivalent of a show cause order. 
  9. The blame will go further than the coach.  Failure to control or failure to monitor costs presidents, athletic directors, and others their jobs. 
  10. Would players have been tempted to barter property for pocket change if they were given a stipend?
  11. Universities must lead and not bow down to the emperors of sports enterprises.
  12. Mistakes are forgivable, but covering up the mistakes and hypocrisy are not.

[1]Jim Tressel, Wikipedia, (last visited Dec. 27, 2011). 


[3]Jim Tressel Tenders Resignation, ESPN (May 31, 2011), 

[4]Eric Graham, Jim Tressel Forced to Resigned, Black Athlete (Jun. 8, 2011),

[5]Jim Tressel, supra note 1. 

[6]Michael Smith, Athletic Budgets Continue to Climb, SportsBusiness Daily (Aug. 22, 2011), 


[8]Employment Contract Between the Ohio State University and Jim Tressel addendum No. 3 § 2.1 (Mar. 16, 2011) [hereinafter Tressel Contract]. 

[9]See id. addendum No. 3.  


[11]Erik Brady, Jodi Upton & Steve Berkowitz, College Coaches Cash in, (Nov. 17, 2011), 

[12]Tressel Contract, supra note 8. 

[13]Id. addendum No. 3 § 5.2.b. 


[15]Id. addendum No. 3 § 3.2-.3, 3.5. 

[16]Id. addendum No. 3 § 5.3.f. 

[17]Jeff Bell, It’s Official: Meyer New Football Coach at Ohio State, Business First, (Nov. 29, 2011), 



[20]Colts Hire Jim Tressel as Consultant, ESPN (Sept. 2, 2011),

[21]See Letter from Carter Stewart, U.S. Dep’t of Justice Att’y, S.D. Ohio, to Sandra Anderson, Assoc. Vice President and Deputy Gen. Counsel at OSU, (Dec. 7, 2010) (listing OSU items seized from Rife’s residence) (on file with author).

[22]Charles Robinson & Dan Wetzel, Tressel Knew of Gear Scheme Last April, (Mar. 7, 2011), 

[23]Letter, supra note 21. 

[24]Jim Tressel Tenders Resignation, supra note 3. 



[27]Id.; see e-mails from Christopher T. Cicero, Columbus Attorney and Former OSU Player, to Jim Tressel (on file with author). 

[28]A Timeline of Tressel’s NCAA Troubles, (Apr. 19, 2011),   

















































[77]George Dohrmann & David Epstein, Sports Illustrated Investigation Reveals Eight-Year Pattern of Violations Under Tressel, (May 31, 2011), 


[79]Jim Tressel Tenders Resignation, supra note 3. 

[80]See e-mail from Christopher T. Cicero to Tressel (Apr. 2, 2010) (on file with author). 

[81]Id.; see also Randy Ludlow, Mike Wagner & Jill Riepenhoff, Ohio State Football: NCAA Penalties Could be Severe, The Cloumbus Dispatch (Apr. 25, 2011), 

[82]George Dohrmann & David Epstein, supra note 77. 

[83]Tressel Contract, supra note 8. 



[86]Jim Tressel Tenders Resignation, supra note 3.

[87]Agreement and Release of All Claims Between the Ohio State University and Jim Tressel (July 8, 2011), available at 









[96]Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, Notice of Allegations to the President of the Ohio State University(Apr. 21, 2011), available at 




[100]Jim Kavanagh, Ohio State Vacates 2010 Wins, Puts Self on Probation, Blogs (July 8, 2011, 1:20 PM), 


[102]Doug Lesmerises, Ohio State Buckeyes’ Self-imposed Penalties not too Severe, School Admits Forcing out Coach Jim Tressel, (July 8, 2011), 

[103]Stewart Mandel, Ohio State’s Self-imposed Penalties Could Match NCAA Ruling, (July 8, 2011), 



[106]Pat Forde, Ohio State Still Under Scrutiny, ESPN (Aug. 21, 2011), 


[108]Michael L. Buckner, Ohio State Receives Second Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, Michael L. Buckner Law Firm (Nov. 11, 2011), 

[109]Brian Bennett, More NCAA Trouble for Ohio State, ESPN (Nov. 10, 2011, 4:42 PM), 


[111]Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, 2010-11 NCAA Division I Manual art. 10.1 (2010), available at 



[114]Id. art. 19.5.1, .5.2.1. 

[115]Id. art. 

[116]Jim Tressel: A Case for Show-Cause in Violation of NCAA By-Law 10.1, Burnt Orange Nation (May 5, 2011), 


[118]Show-cause Penalty, Wikipedia, (last visited Jan. 5, 2011). 

[119]Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, The Ohio State University Public Infractions Report (Dec. 20, 2011), available at