Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel resigned this morning—and sources say he was encouraged to do so. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Tressel's involvement in the team's tattoo-parlor scandal eventually became too much for the school. Less than three months ago, President E. Gordon Gee and Athletic Director Gene Smith expressed their full support for Tressel, but sources say the pending NCAA hearing, growing pressure, and fresh details about the football program's culture forced them to move. Though Tressel initially acted surprised when the NCAA suspended six players for selling and trading OSU memorabilia to the parlor's owner in December, news emerged one month later that Tressel had been told of the players' contact with the owner last April by a former player ... and didn't disclose the info.
And Chicago Breaking Sports adds that an upcoming Sports Illustrated story may have played a part, too. Author George Dohrmann tweeted “I'm told it is likely my SI mag story will be posted at SI.com later today/tonight. Timing of Tress dec. will make sense after you read it.” Until that happens, you'll have to make do with this explanation, from Tressel, who leaves the school with a 106-22 record: "After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach. The appreciation that (wife) Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable." (Read more Jim Tressel stories.)