The NCAA accused Ohio State coach Jim Tressel of withholding information and lying to keep Buckeyes players on the football field even though they accepted improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — In a sharply worded rebuke of Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, the NCAA on Monday accused the coach of withholding information and lying to keep Buckeyes players on the field even though they accepted improper benefits from the owner of a tattoo parlor.

In a “notice of allegations” sent to the school, the NCAA said the violations relating to Tressel are considered “potential major violations.”

Ohio State was not cited for the most serious of institutional breaches since Tressel, 58, hid information from superiors for more than nine months. The university has 90 days to respond to the ruling body of college sports’ request for information before a scheduled date before the NCAA committee on infractions Aug. 12 in Indianapolis.

In a 13-page indictment of Tressel’s behavior, the NCAA alleged he had “permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible.” It also said he “failed to deport himself … (with) honesty and integrity” and said he was lying when he filled out a compliance form in September that said he had no knowledge of NCAA violations by any of his players.

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Tressel appeared at an awards banquet outside Cleveland on Monday night, ducking in out of the rain to shake hands with Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren — a former Seahawks coach — before slipping into a side room.

Athletic director Gene Smith said he would have “no comments until the case is resolved.”

Tressel, who makes about $3.5 million a year, has a 106-22 record at Ohio State. The school suspended him for the first five games of the 2011 season and fined him $250,000.

9 on NCAA panel

were Fiesta guests

WASHINGTON — Nine of the 11 members of an NCAA panel that will help decide the Fiesta Bowl’s fate attended a bowl-sponsored retreat that included free meals, resort rooms and golf outings.

The names are on a 2008 “Fiesta Frolic” attendee list obtained by Playoff PAC in a public-records request.

The NCAA Postseason Bowl Licensing Subcommittee is scheduled to meet with Fiesta Bowl officials this week in New Orleans, but won’t make a decision on whether to revoke the bowl’s license until later this spring. The Fiesta Bowl, played in Glendale, Ariz., is one of four bowls that rotate hosting the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.

Subcommittee chairman Nick Carparelli was one of the members to attend the 2008 Fiesta Frolic.

“This is a jury of the bowl’s former freeloaders,” said Bryson Morgan, co-founder of Playoff PAC, which advocates switching to a playoff system to determine a national champion.

An internal report by the bowl last month detailed about $45,000 in reimbursements to employees for political donations, an apparent violation of federal and state laws. It also uncovered lavish and inappropriate spending, such as $33,000 for a Pebble Beach, Calif., birthday bash for John Junker, then-president and chief executive officer of the bowl, and a $1,200 strip-club tab for Junker and two others.

Junker has been fired.

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