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Thread: Ohio State’s Jim Tressel Has No Plans To Resign, Hires Auburn’s Law Firm

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    Ohio State’s Jim Tressel Has No Plans To Resign, Hires Auburn’s Law Firm


    Ohio State’s Jim Tressel Has No Plans To Resign, Hires Auburn’s Law Firm

    May 14, 2011


    Embattled Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel has no plans to quit and he’s hired a big legal gun to represent him before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Aug. 12.

    The NCAA has accused Tressel of lying to hide violations by players who traded memorabilia for cash and tattoos.

    Tressel hired Gene Marsh, an attorney who was a member of the NCAA infractions committee from 1999 to 2008 and who chaired it from 2004 to 2006. Marsh specializes in compliance issues at the Birmingham, Ala., law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin & White.

    That’s the same law firm that represented Auburn University last year during the Cam Newton pay-for-play scandal. Marsh didn’t work on the Newton case, but other attorneys at the law firm did.

    Auburn declared Newton ineligible after they learned his father shopped him to Mississippi State in 2009 for $180,000. The NCAA reinstated the star quarterback after just one day. The Auburn Tigers went on to win the SEC Championship and the BCS National Championship. Newton went on to win the Heisman Trophy and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers as the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick.

    Marsh, who is an Ohio State graduate, told The Plain Dealer that Tressel hired him a few weeks ago and that he’ll be by his side during the NCAA hearings in Indianapolis. Marsh agreed that Tressel wants to stay with his players and continue what he sees as his mission at Ohio State.

    Part of Marsh’s defense strategy will be to focus on what he believes is Tressel’s positive track record.

    “Obviously, the track record should matter because some people’s track records are good and some people’s track records are bad,” Marsh told The Birmingham News. “I was on the committee for nine years. All I can say is it always mattered to me.”

    “There are human beings on the enforcement staff and human beings on the committee,” Marsh told The Plain Dealer. “It’s not a machine, it’s not a calculator. It’s folks. In the end, folks take a look at things like a life’s work, the inner workings of their entire profile and their character in their life as a coach and in their life as an individual.”

    Five Ohio State players will serve five-game suspensions next season for accepting improper benefits from a tattoo parlor. Tressel will be suspended for five games and fined $250,000 for knowing about the benefits and not telling superiors.

    SI.com took a look at 81 infractions cases involving coaches or administrators accused of unethical conduct. Only three were able to hang onto their jobs.

    Tressel made a strong strategic move by hiring Marsh and his law firm. He knows that a strong defense wins championships. He just hired the best legal team he could possibly get.

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    Re: Ohio State’s Jim Tressel Has No Plans To Resign, Hires Auburn’s Law Firm


    Jim Tressel brings out big guns for NCAA hearing: Gene Marsh

    Published: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 5:30 AM
    By Jon Solomon -- The Birmingham News


    BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Jim Tressel's future appears bleak.

    Circle Aug. 12 as the most important day in the Ohio State football coach's career. That's when Tressel will have to explain to the Division I Committee on Infractions why, according to official NCAA allegations, he failed to behave with "honesty and integrity" as required by the NCAA.

    Fans, coaches and administrators around the country will watch with interest the results of the hearing. How tough will the infractions committee be against the sweater-vest coach who set himself up as a pillar of integrity?

    There's a new twist to the story. Sitting beside Tressel will be Gene Marsh, a former chairman of the infractions committee, from the Birmingham law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White.

    Marsh confirmed Friday he has represented Tressel for a couple of weeks and will be in Indianapolis at the hearing. When it comes to defending yourself against the NCAA, hiring Marsh represents bringing out the big guns.

    Has anyone viewed the enforcement process from as many different angles as Marsh?

    Marsh encountered NCAA investigations as Alabama's faculty athletics representative. He served nine years on the infractions committee, including two as chairman, until 2008. And now he represents universities and individual coaches.

    Marsh, a 1978 Ohio State graduate, has a relationship with Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith from their time together on the infractions committee. Also, Marsh has spoken at Ohio State compliance seminars in the past.

    Because there are significant differences between NCAA hearings and court cases, anyone in front of the NCAA better be represented by someone who precisely gets that. Marsh more than qualifies.

    But Tressel's NCAA "crime" so far is a doozy. The NCAA allegations hammer him for lying and covering up as potentially ineligible players continued to play.

    Ohio State imposed a five-game suspension and $250,000 fine on Tressel. Given the nature of the NCAA allegations, stiffer penalties could be coming, including a show cause.

    It's not clear yet if that's the extent of the NCAA case involving Ohio State. The Columbus Dispatch reported Ohio State will investigate used-car purchases by dozens of athletes to see if any sales violated NCAA rules.

    Tressel's known offense would get many coaches fired by now if he hadn't won six straight Big Ten titles. SI.com reported that in the past 81 infractions cases involving coaches or administrators accused of the unethical conduct bylaw charged against Tressel, 78 of those people quit or were fired.

    Marsh's strategy in part focuses on what he says is Tressel's positive track record.

    "Obviously, the track record should matter because some people's track records are good and some people's track records are bad," Marsh said Friday. "I was on the committee for nine years. All I can say is it always mattered to me."

    Prior to taking Tressel's case, Marsh told The Cleveland Plain-Dealer he believed Tressel had a chance to survive severe penalties because of his past record as a coach and in the community.

    Tressel hasn't been cited by the NCAA before. But his programs at Youngstown State and Ohio State have run into NCAA trouble in the past.

    "Any program that's big is going to have issues," Marsh said Friday. "All you have to do is look at Tuscaloosa. If you're in this business, you're going to have issues."

    Marsh may be hitting on a soft spot of the committee's. Speaking generally Tuesday, former Committee on Infractions chair Josephine Potuto said that without a prior finding against a coach, it would be difficult for the committee to consider that coach's past record.

    "If there's a finding of a violation against a coach or an individual, that would be a different story because that would be part of the record coming back and then would be available to consider," Potuto said.

    But, Potuto added, "The fact that someone has had an impeccable past doesn't say he didn't do what he is accused of."

    Tressel doesn't deny wrongdoing. By hiring Marsh, Tressel intends to not deny himself the best chance of survival.

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    Re: Ohio State’s Jim Tressel Has No Plans To Resign, Hires Auburn’s Law Firm

    give em the death penalty

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    Re: Ohio State’s Jim Tressel Has No Plans To Resign, Hires Auburn’s Law Firm

    I don't think anyone expects him to resign. Most of the people I talk to expect him to be fired. I expect nothing more to come of the situation than what has already happened.
    YOU MESS WITH THE BULL YOU GET THE HORNS!

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