Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith released a video statement on the resignation of football coach Jim Tressel a short time ago.
The school has no plans to hold a formal news conference Monday -- might not be a bad idea after the March 8 disaster -- so Smith's three-minute statement will have to suffice. The AD didn't shed much light on the situation, but here's the statement.
Smith and Tressel met Sunday night after the coach returned from his vacation in Florida. They "sat down for a while and talked about the state of our program," and Tressel made the decision to resign. The two then met early Monday and Tressel submitted his formal letter of resignation.
A portion of the team met Monday morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center (players who could not attend were contacted by their position coaches). Both Tressel and Fickell addressed the group. "[Tressel] did an eloquent job of explaining to the young men what transition really means and what they needed to focus on," Smith said. "He met with the team and exited."
Before the team meeting, Smith met with Fickell and asked Fickell to be the team's interim head coach through the 2011 season, which Fickell accepted. Smith also met with the other assistants and support staff members. Smith said Fickell stressed to the players the importance of finishing the academic year strong, as final exams begin this week. "We are coming off of a time frame where our football program achieved its highest academic rating ever," Smith said, "so we're proud of the accomplishment of those young men and we want to stay on that trajectory."
Smith on the NCAA situation: "We are under NCAA investigation. We will not discuss any of the matters around that case, or any further accusations that may emerge. We will do what we always do: We will respond to them, we collaborate with the NCAA and try and find the truth."
Smith on Tressel: "I do want to thank Coach Tressel for his long service to our university. There was a lot of people he touched in a highly positive way. We’re very thankful for his leadership during the years we had great success on the field and off the field, but more importantly in the classroom."
Smith's comment about "further accusations" stands out. There likely will be another layer to the Ohio State situation coming out soon.