Report: Jim Tressel Resigns

Slightly off-topic, but stories of this magnitude belong on the front page:

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel has resigned, university sources told The Dispatch today.

Less than three months after President E. Gordon Gee and Athletic Director Gene Smith said they fully supported their embattled coach, mounting pressure, a pending NCAA disciplinary hearing and new revelations about the culture of the program forced the university to act on their once-revered coach, sources said.

Neither Gee, Smith nor Tressel could be reached immediately for comment.

Sources said assistant coach Luke Fickell, who had been named to coach the first five games of the season while Tressel served his suspension for withholding information from the university compliance office and the NCAA, will serve as interim coach of the Buckeyes all of next season.

Tressel's Ohio State teams utterly dominated the Big Ten in the last decade, winning seven conference titles and a national championship, and garnering eight BCS bids.  MSU teams are 0-6 against Tressel; only one of those games was truly competitive, and the 2005 and 2008 debacles mark two of the lower points in recent Spartan history.  Tressel's departure is unequivocally good news for Michigan State football.

Mark Dantonio, a Tressel protege and former Buckeye defensive coordinator, may be mentioned as a candidate for the OSU job -- and were he offered, he'd take it in a heartbeat.  However, OSU is one of the top 3 or 4 jobs in all of college football; even given looming NCAA sanctions, the Buckeyes will have their choice of more accomplished candidates.

Either way, this may mark something of a conference-wide reboot.  Tressel's Buckeye squads may have faltered periodically on the national stage, but his record in the conference was staggeringly good.  No matter who Ohio State hires, matching Tressel's Big Ten record will be enormously difficult, and exceeding it nearly impossible.  Let the new age of Big Ten parity begin.

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