NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04: Head coach Jim Tressel of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by …
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CINCINNATI - Memories of Jermaine Hopkins' death in a gang dispute in 1996 still haunt Jim Tressel. The Youngstown State star defensive end was shot in the head as he tried to quell a disturbance near campus. He was and always will be 21.
A long time friend of the Ohio State coach told me tonight that the incident and hope of heading off future tragedies led him to quickly comply with federal authorities' requests to keep quiet about their investigation of a tattoo shop owner.
I'm told that Tressel was inclined to feel that playing along, even though Ohio State and the NCAA were technically entitled to know, would help take dangerous criminals off the street.
He naively thought a greater good was being served by his discretion. Naturally the Buckeyes' coach is deeply troubled by this mar on his reputation.
I'm told that while he didn't mention it Tuesday night to possibly mitigate the headlines, much more will eventually be revealed about the situation. At which time I'm assured, Jim Tressel will be proved to have done the right thing, if not in the correct manner.
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