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Ex-player alerted Tressel in e-mails

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A former Ohio State player is the lawyer who sent e-mails to football coach Jim Tressel last spring telling him players were selling memorabilia, the Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday.

Columbus attorney Christopher Cicero sent the e-mails in April 2010, the newspaper said. Cicero lettered in football in 1983, when Tressel was an assistant coach, the Dispatch reported.

In December, the NCAA suspended quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four teammates for the first five games of 2011 for selling jerseys, championship rings and trophies to the owner of a tattoo parlor. The suspensions came 16 days after the U.S. attorney told the school of a federal investigation that included the players.

Cicero said in a statement he voluntarily cooperated when an Ohio State attorney asked him to meet with university representatives and the NCAA about e-mails he exchanged with Tressel. As part of that exchange Tressel wrote: "I will get on it ASAP."

But Tressel did not reveal that information to the school's compliance personnel or the athletic director for nine months.

The school on Tuesday suspended Tressel for the first two games of the 2011 season and fined him $250,000. He also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology.

The NCAA, which is investigating, could decide to reject Ohio State's self-imposed penalties and add sanctions.

"Obviously I'm disappointed that this happened at all," Tressel said Tuesday. "I take my responsibility for what we do at Ohio State tremendously seriously and for the game of football. I plan to grow from this."

UF to close practice

GAINESVILLE — Florida athletic officials announced that for the first time in program history all spring football practices will be closed to the public and media.

"With a new coaching staff here teaching our system, we feel like minimizing our distractions is important," new coach Will Muschamp said in a statement, adding that "this decision has been made in the interest of helping our program be successful on Saturdays this fall."

Also, Florida's pro day Tuesday will be closed to the public but open to the media.

The spring game is noon April 9.

Georgia: The Bulldogs acknowledged breaking NCAA rules in their recruitment of linebacker Ray Drew. The school sent a letter to the SEC saying two former players — identified by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as Randall Godfrey and David Pollack — attended a news conference in which Drew announced his commitment to Georgia, a violation of five NCAA bylaws relating to illegal contact before signing a letter-of-intent. Athletic director Greg McGarity wrote that one of Drew's high school teachers arranged for the ex-players to attend without the knowledge of the Georgia staff.

Gators finish baseball sweep of Bulls 8-1

TAMPA — Florida, ranked No. 1 in the Baseball America poll, beat USF 8-1 to complete a four-game sweep of the regular-season series in front of a sellout crowd of 3,211.

Alonso High grad Alex Panteliodis won his first start of the season for UF (11-2), giving up one earned run and five hits over five innings. He struck out four.

He was backed a season-high three home runs — by Mike Zunino, Josh Adams and Daniel Pigott — and seven extra-base hits.

Pigott has a 12-game hitting streak and is hitting .524 (22-for- 42).

Junior Carlin took the loss for the Bulls (5-7), allowing three runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Ex-player alerted Tressel in e-mails 03/09/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 10:46pm]
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