Fickell unaware of violations at OSU
COLUMBUS, Ohio Two weeks after Jim Tressel was forced to resign because of an improper benefits scandal at Ohio State, interim football coach Luke Fickell said Monday that he didn’t know of any NCAA rules violations.
“I wasn’t going to say that I had blinders on, but (I was) very focused on the task at hand,” Fickell said. “I was not informed of any information until it became public know-ledge.”
Fickell spoke at an introductory news conference, during which he promised Buckeyes fans a team that would be about “respect, toughness and being men of action.”
The 37-year-old Fickell is a former Ohio State player who has been on the staff for the last 10 years, coaching linebackers and, most recently, serving as co-defensive coordinator.
Fickell was selected to fill in as head coach when Tressel was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for knowing players were accepting cash and discounted tattoos in exchange for memorabilia from a local tattoo-parlor owner but failing to notify his superiors.
After weeks of revelations and rumors, Tressel resigned under pressure on May 30 amid an ongoing NCAA investigation of his ultrasuccessful program.
Fickell’s two-year contract will pay him $775,000 a year in addition to some bonuses. Tressel was paid an estimated $3.5 million per season. He was 106-22 in his 10 seasons, leading the Buckeyes to the national championship in 2002.