Embattled coach Jim Tressel, two months after publicly apologizing for fallout that resulted in suspensions for him and several of his players, has resigned from Ohio State.
"After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach," Tressel said in a statement Monday morning. "The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."
Assistant coach Luke Fickell, who had been named to fill in for Tressel during the first five games of the 2011 season in which he was to be suspended, will take over as the interim head coach, Ohio State said in the news release.
Tressel was entering his 11th season as head coach for the Buckeyes. He finishes with a 106-22 record at Ohio State (66-14 in the Big Ten). He won a national championship in 2002, seven Big Ten championships, including the past six, and had a 9-1 record against Michigan.
Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch said he was unaware of any buyout or severance package.
He added that Tressel had returned from vacation Sunday night and met with athletic director Gene Smith, who then met with staff. Tressel typed his resignation and submitted it to Smith, he said.
School president E. Gordon Gee announced Tressel's departure in a letter sent to Ohio State trustees.
"As you all know, I appointed a special committee to analyze and provide advice to me regarding issues attendant to our football program," the letter said, according to The Columbus Dispatch, which first reported Tressel's decision. "In consultation with the senior leadership of the University and the senior leadership of the Board, I have been actively reviewing the matter and have accepted Coach Tressel's resignation.
"My public statement will include our common understanding that throughout all we do, we are one university with one set of standards and one overarching mission," Gee wrote in the letter, according to the Columbus newspaper. "The University's enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions."
The news comes two weeks after Smith affirmed his support for the coach amid an ongoing NCAA investigation for rules violations.
"We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best -- representing this extraordinary university and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life," Smith said in the statement. "We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach. We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program."
At the Big Ten spring meetings earlier this month, Smith -- while declining to discuss any details of an ongoing NCAA investigation of Tressel -- said his outlook toward the coach's position hadn't wavered.
"Oh, definitely, no question," Smith had said. "I haven't changed, I haven't changed. But I'm not talking about the case beyond that."
Smith noted last month in an interview with The Associated Press that Tressel should have apologized at a March 8 news conference, where Tressel first acknowledged he failed to notify Ohio State officials of emails he received about some of his players receiving improper benefits.
Smith has also talked about the high legal costs Ohio State is dealing with, calling the ongoing NCAA situation "a nightmare."
"It's fair. He would have been fired anyway," said Aaron Kniffin, the car salesman who sold about 50 cars to Ohio State players and their relatives, transactions that are under scrutiny by a state agency and school officials. "You had a coach who knew about and covered up a scandal about memorabilia and tattoos."
In late March, during an almost hour-long news conference, Tressel apologized for letting people down and acknowledged that some may view him as a cheater.
Tressel also received support at the spring meetings from fellow coaches such as Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, as well as from Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne, a longtime friend.
"Coaches are great," Tressel said then. "They understand all the challenges everyone has. It's good to be with them."