NCAA denies OSU’s appeal for suspended players, Jim Tressel also chooses to serve five-game ban

Ohio State University head football coach Jim Tressel speaks during a news conference in Columbus, Ohio, March 8, 2011. Tressel was fined $250,000 and suspended for two games for violating NCAA rules, according to reports. REUTERS/Jay LaPrete (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL HEADSHOT)

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel will no long have to worry about the public asking him why he received lesser punishment then the five Buckeye players involved in “Tattoogate.” That’s because now he too will serve a five-game suspension.

On Thursday night, the NCAA finalized its ruling that OSU players Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Daniel Herron, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas will be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season after swapping memorabilia for free tattoos with a parlor owner in Columbus. Ohio State had appealed the suspension on behalf of the players, but the NCAA upheld the punishment.

Despite being handed a two-game suspension in a separate investigation by the university, Tressel decided that he too would serve a five-game ban along with his players.

“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,” Tressel read in a statement. “Throughout this entire situation, my players and I have committed ourselves to facing our mistakes and growing from them; we can only successfully do this together. I spoke with athletic director [Gene] Smith, and our student-athletes involved, and told them that my mistakes need to share the same game sanctions.”

It’s a pretty slick move by Tressel. He would have never been able to live down why he only served a two-game suspension for lying to the NCAA and to the university while his players served a five-game ban for committing a similar infraction. Granted, it doesn’t change the fact that he made a poor decision and embarrassed the program, but his decision will no doubt win the respect of his players and OSU fans (or at least some of them).

I’m sure Tressel truly does feel bad about what he did. Everyone makes mistakes and as long as they’re willing to (eventually) own up to them and seek to rectify the situation the best they can, what more can you ask of them? (Besides not committing the infraction, that is.) I’m not excusing what he did but there are good guys in the college football coaching ranks, and there are bad guys. Tressel is a good guy.

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