COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - At the bottom of the stunning resignation letter that he carefully typed in his office on Monday morning, in the last lines above his characteristically neat and clear signature, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel closed with a personal note.
"We know that God has a plan for us and we will be fine," he wrote, referring to himself and his wife, Ellen. "We will be Buckeyes forever."
But no longer will he be the Buckeyes coach.
Tressel, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 34 years, resigned Monday amid NCAA violations from a tattoo-parlor scandal that sullied the image of one of the country's top football programs.
Ohio State announced that assistant coach Luke Fickell, already tabbed to take over for Tressel during his self-imposed five-game suspension for his violations, will be the Buckeyes coach for the 2011 season. Ohio State will begin looking for a permanent coach who will take over next year.
Also on Monday, The Columbus Dispatch reported that Pryor is the subject of a "significant" inquiry by the NCAA and Ohio State regarding cars and other improper benefits he may have received.
Later Monday, Sports Illustrated reported that the memorabilia-for-tattoos violations actually stretched back to 2002, 22 more players than the university has acknowledged. Those numbers include, beyond the six suspended players, an additional nine current players as well as other former players whose alleged wrongdoing might fall within the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations on violations.
After the article's release, athletic director Gene Smith issued a statement.
"During the course of an investigation, the university and the NCAA work jointly to review any new allegations that come to light, and will continue to do so until the conclusion of the investigation," he said. "You should rest assured that these new allegations will be evaluated in exactly this manner. Beyond that, we will have no further comment."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)