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Attorney: Tressel tip brings threats

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus lawyer who tipped off Jim Tressel that two of his players were selling memorabilia has received death threats and said he regrets contacting the Ohio State football coach.

"I'm not the Judas in this situation," Christopher Cicero said Friday during ESPN's Outside the Lines. "I feel like Peter, but I'm not the Judas,"

Tressel admitted he violated NCAA rules by not disclosing information Cicero e-mailed to him. He repeatedly did not tell his superiors or the school's compliance department about potential NCAA violations by his players. The school suspended Tressel for the first two games of 2011 and fined him $250,000. The NCAA could levy additional penalties.

In his first e-mail, on April 2, 2010, Cicero said that quarterback Terrelle Pryor and receiver DeVier Posey were giving autographed Buckeyes shirts, jerseys and footballs to a Columbus tattoo parlor owner who was under federal investigation in a drug-trafficking case.

Four hours later, Tressel replied: "Thanks. I will get on it ASAP."

The coach never did, and the story came out just before the Sugar Bowl. Five players, including Pryor and Posey, were suspended for the first five games of 2011 for selling memorabilia and getting discounts on tattoos.

The e-mails confirm Tressel had information connecting his star quarterback and the team's second-leading receiver to NCAA violations but didn't report it for nine months.

"I wanted him to know that the kids had been hanging out with a person who was the subject of a federal investigation," Cicero said when asked why he e-mailed Tressel.

Tressel said Tuesday that he did not disclose the information from Cicero because the lawyer asked him to keep it confidential and Tressel was concerned about preserving the confidentiality of a federal drug investigation. But Tressel never spoke to a federal agent, and Cicero said he did not ask him to keep the information to himself until an e-mail on April 16, in which Cicero said he had spoken to the suspect the night before.

Cicero was a walk-on at Ohio State during the 1980s, when Tressel was an assistant.

Asked what Tressel should have done with the e-mailed information, Cicero said, "The heck with Coach Tressel. If I had to do it all over again at the end of the day, I'd have never sent him the e-mails."

Auburn: Senior safety Mike McNeil, freshman tight end Dakota Mosley and freshman receivers Antonio Goodwin and Shaun Kitchens were kicked off the team after being arrested on charges that include armed robbery. All remained jailed on a combined $511,000 bond.

Miami: Tackle Seantrel Henderson has been suspended for the opener against Maryland for unspecified reasons, the Miami Herald reported.

Michigan St.: Senior tight end Brian Linthicum and sophomore linebacker Max Bullough were arrested on suspicion of assault and underage possession of alcohol, respectively, in Aspen, Colo. The school declined to comment.

North Carolina: Senior cornerback Charles Brown must sit out the 2011 opener and repay benefits to become eligible. The NCAA ruled he accepted benefits of $86.94 from a prospective agent before last season. Details weren't disclosed. Last season, agent-related benefits and academic misconduct caused 14 players to miss at least one game. Brown and seven others missed the entire season.

Indoor track: Ngonidzashe Makusha won the long jump to help Florida State's men share first with BYU at 24 points after the first day of the NCAA championships in College Station, Texas. Will Claye finished second for Florida, which is tied for 12th with eight points. Defending champ Oregon leads the women's competition.

Attorney: Tressel tip brings threats 03/11/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2011 12:16am]
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