The Ohio Supreme Court is threatening to find in contempt of court the attorney whose emails triggered an NCAA investigation that cost the football coach his job at Ohio State University.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - If Ohio State assistant Dick Tressel were to guess, he believes his younger brother will be back in coaching someday.
The NCAA may have other ideas.
Jim Tressel was forced to resign as the Buckeyes' coach on May 30 after admitting he learned in April 2010 that some of his players might have accepted cash and free tattoos from a Columbus tattoo-parlor owner. He knew about the potential violations for more than nine months but said nothing until he was confronted by investigators in January 2011.
"I sense that (he will coach again)," Dick Tressel said after Tuesday's practice at Ohio Stadium. "That's just because that's who he is, that's what he does. There's no reason to not think that, I guess."
Dick Tressel, brought to Ohio State in 2001 by his little brother after 23 years as the coach at Hamline University, remains on the Buckeyes coaching staff. Instead of answering to his sibling, he now serves as running backs and special teams assistant under interim coach Luke Fickell.
There remain lingering questions that Jim Tressel knew of potential violations for months but would not have discussed them with his big brother/assistant coach.
"I guess I can't speak too much more to that issue," Dick Tressel said when asked about whether he had any knowledge about the violations. "Everybody has their own opinion, so you guys are all with it. I'm here to talk about placekickers and snappers and all those type of things."
Ohio State's program has been in the national spotlight since the U.S. Attorney's office first brought the matter of signed memorabilia to Ohio State's attention last December. There has been a steady drip, drip, drip of rumors, innuendo and allegations ever since.
Tressel was forced out by Ohio State officials for knowingly playing ineligible players throughout the 2010 season. As a result, Ohio State has offered to vacate its 12-1 record last season, including its victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. On top of that, Ohio State also has proposed a two-year NCAA probation, several player suspensions and would give up $338,811 -- its Big Ten share of bowl money.
The university went before the NCAA's committee on infractions on Aug. 12 and is expecting to hear what its final sanctions will be sometime between late September and mid-November.
As part of its sanctions against Ohio State and Jim Tressel, the NCAA could levy a "show cause" penalty against the 10-year coach of the Buckeyes. That would mean that any college which wanted to hire him would have to in essence prove to the NCAA why he would be a worthwhile candidate and might not break rules again.
No coach has ever been hired who was still under an NCAA show-cause sanction.
Dick Tressel was asked how difficult the ordeal has been on him.
"Oh, not as hard as it's been on Jim Tressel and a bunch of other people. I think that it's been hard on everybody," he said. "I don't think that I should be singled out as it being harder on me. Because I maybe more than anybody else know that Jim Tressel is a special person and will want the Buckeyes to move forward."
When investigators first started looking into the allegations of improper benefits, loaner cars, cash for memorabilia and other NCAA violations, Dick Tressel said he never considered leaving.
"I'm here, ready to go. The process was to help kids play, help kids become the best that they can be," he said. "That's how the program was last January and that's how it is now. I'm just doing what I can do."
Officials at Ohio's high school coaches association have suggested that all coaches in the state wear a white shirt and tie to the season-opening games this weekend in honor of Jim Tressel, known for wearing a sweater vest over a white shirt and a tie.
Dick Tressel said he thought his brother would be touched by the gesture.
"Certainly, Jim Tressel would have to feel honored in that regard. He'd be humbled by that," he said. "Whether they do that or not, Jim Tressel understands how they feel about him."
The man who was once the most recognizable name in Ohio college football starts his new job on another Ohio campus.