Ohio State coach Jim Tressel apologized Wednesday for letting people down by violating NCAA rules, calling it "a difficult past couple of months."
"The largest regrets I've had in my life have been when I've disappointed people, when I've let people down," Tressel said while facing the media for the first time since March 8, when the violations were revealed. "The mistakes I've made are very disappointing. I'm sorry for that, as I've mentioned many times."
Ohio State has recommended to the NCAA that Tressel be suspended for the first five games of this season for knowing about players involved in selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Tressel did not report it to his superiors or the NCAA for more than nine months.
An Ohio State spokeswoman, and Tressel himself, said no questions regarding the NCAA investigation could be addressed.
Dressed in his trademark sweater vest, Tressel introduced linebackers coach Luke Fickell as his replacement during the first five games of the 2011 season. The former Ohio State player was promoted just before Tressel stepped behind the microphones.
Tressel, beginning his 11th year as coach of the Buckeyes, then addressed spring workouts, the depth chart, the intrasquad scrimmage and other routine business. He also displayed a new helmet the Buckeyes would wear this spring that Tressel said honors the U.S. military.
Fickell is in his 10th year on the staff. He is also co-defensive coordinator, a role he assumed in April 2005.