CANTON, Ohio — Ohio State coach Jim Tressel apologized to a room full of fans during his first public speaking engagement since being suspended two games and fined for violating NCAA rules.
Speaking to a packed dining room full of 400 fans — many of them clad in the Buckeyes' scarlet and gray colors — at a luncheon sponsored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Tressel began his remarks by saying he couldn't say much about the recent troubles at Ohio State.
He then said, "I sincerely apologize for what we've been through."
Dressed in a charcoal suit and dark red tie, Tressel also apologized for the penalties he and the school are facing and for being a distraction to Ohio State's top-ranked basketball team, which enters this week's NCAA tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.
Tressel received a polite standing ovation the moment he entered the room at Tozzi's on 12th restaurant. He was joined at the luncheon by several former players, including Dustin Fox and Tim Anderson, who played on Ohio State's 2002 national championship team under Tressel.
Last week, Tressel was suspended for the first two games next season and fined $250,000 for failing to notify the school about information he received last April involving two players and questionable activities involving the sale of memorabilia.
The NCAA could levy additional penalties on Tressel, who has been at Ohio State since 2001. Tressel has attended the luncheon since he coached at Youngstown State.