When it comes to Tattoogate, someone at Ohio State has finally done the right thing.
Or as close to the right thing as can be expected until the NCAA investigation has concluded.
After the NCAA announced Thursday night it upheld its five-game suspensions of five OSU players for receiving improper benefits, the university announced that Tressel had asked for and received the same penalty for his part in the incident's cover-up.
Tressel received e-mails from a Columbus attorney in April, 2009 alerting him that two of his players, quarterback Terrelle Pryor and receiver DeVier Posey, were selling memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor owner who was also the subject of a federal drug trafficking investigation. The matter didn't come to light until December and the NCAA eventually suspended Pryor, Posey, left tackle Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas for the first five games of the 2011 season.
Tressel was heavily criticized by local and national media since OSU announced he would be suspended for only two games against Akron and Toledo, especially since he knowingly played inelgible players all season, which culminated with a victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.
On Thursday night, the university issued a statement from Tressel and director of athletics Gene Smith.
"Throughout this entire situation my players and I have committed ourselves to facing our mistakes and growing from them; we can only successfully do that together,'' Tressel said. "I spoke with athletics director Smith, and our student-athletes involved, and told them that my mistakes need to share the same game sanctions. Like my players, I am very sorry for the mistakes I made. I request of the university that my sanctions now include five games so that the players and I can handle this adversity together.”
Smith's reply said, "Coach Tressel has requested that he sit out the first five games of the 2011 season. I have accepted his request and we are taking action to notify the NCAA. Until the NCAA has completed its investigation, we will not be publicly discussing the details of this case.''
As for the NCAA's denial of the players' appeal, Smith said, "While we are disappointed that our appeal request was denied, we respect the NCAA and accept its ruling. The players are sorry for the disappointment they have caused, will learn from their mistakes, and will strive to earn the confidence and support of everyone associated with the university through their future conduct.''
Tressel and the university could still be subject to more sanctions. But at least for now, a modium of logic has prevailed in the hallowed athletic offices along the Olentangy.
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