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Tressel avoided added penalties

Ohio State officials, in a letter to the NCAA, initially wrote they considered suspending football coach Jim Tressel from spring practice and summer camps as part of his punishment for breaking NCAA rules, but the school ultimately elected to allow him to participate in both, reported Thursday.

On Tuesday, Tressel was suspended for this season's first two games and fined $250,000.

Ohio State officials say Tressel broke NCAA rules because he didn't tell athletic director Gene Smith or the school's compliance office about e-mails he received from an attorney in April 2010 that indicated Buckeyes players were receiving improper benefits.

Tressel did not mention the e-mails in December, when the NCAA suspended five players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, for the first five games of 2011 for selling memorabilia and awards to a tattoo parlor owner.

In Ohio State's original self-report document sent to the NCAA dated Tuesday, it wrote:

"This letter will review the institution's inquiry and also define the corrective and punitive actions, which include suspending him from coaching several games during the 2011 football season, reducing his salary, and precluding Coach Tressel from having any involvement with spring practice or summer camps in 2011."

An updated NCAA self-report was published on Ohio State's website Thursday morning with mentions of spring and summer workouts deleted.

Tressel said he kept the e-mails to himself to protect the confidentiality of a federal investigation and for the players' safety.

The NCAA could further punish Tressel and the program. Ohio State's self-imposed penalties fall short of those faced by others that have broken the same NCAA bylaw in recent years, according to a review by the Columbus Dispatch of past disciplinary actions.

Since 2006, the NCAA has sanctioned 27 schools for violating bylaw 10.1, which requires coaches and others be truthful and forthcoming about possible violations. Of the 12 coaches involved, one kept his job, the newspaper reported. The others resigned or were fired.

Former men's basketball coach Jim O'Brien, one of his assistants and former running back Maurice Clarett faced unethical conduct charges by the NCAA. It cost all of them their careers at Ohio State.

Florida: The school will unveil statues of its three Heisman Trophy winners during halftime of the spring game April 9. The statues of Steve Spurrier (1966), Danny Wuerffel (1996) and Tim Tebow (2007) were built via private donations. The school said the three will have a role in the unveiling. But because South Carolina's spring game is the same day, Spurrier likely will offer a videotaped message.

USF: Rayshawn Jenkins, a quarterback/safety from St. Petersburg's Admiral Farragut Academy, orally committed. Jenkins, who will play safety at USF, said he also drew interest from Florida State, Georgia and Kansas.

Baseball: Jake Wilder and Joey Cuda combined on a two-hitter as Eckerd (9-6) defeated visiting Urbana 3-0, making coach Bill Mathews the Tritons' all-time wins leader with 437.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Tressel avoided added penalties 03/10/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2011 12:01am]
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