Sunday I obtained the complete email correspondence between Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, attorney Christopher Cicero and Terrelle Pryor “mentor” Ted Sarniak. (See below.)
On April 25, 2011, the COLUMBUS DISPATCH noted that it had also recently obtained Tressel’s complete email correspondence with Cicero and Sarniak, though in its subsequent report on the contents of those previously unseen emails, the Dispatch itself failed to post images of the copies of the complete email exchange between the three.
So why did Ohio State not include all of the Tressel emails in its March 8 press release, which included OSU’s self-report to the NCAA on Tressel’s NCAA violations? OSU spokesman Jim Lynch told the Dispatch on April 25:
“These emails do not raise any new matters. These emails were inadvertently omitted in the copying process for inclusion in the information that was provided on March 8.”
One of those electronic mail messages “inadvertently omitted in the copying process for inclusion in the information that was provided on March 8″ was Tressel forwarding a Cicero email to Pryor mentor Sarniak with the message:
This guy, Chris Cicero, is a criminal lawyer in town. He played here when I was an assistant coach in the early 1980s. He has always looked out for us. jt”
Sarniak then responded:
“Received the information. Ted”
During his March 8 press conference to explain why he did not report the NCAA violations to Ohio State officials, Tressel said,
“Confidentiality was requested by the attorney, so I followed that.”
In Ohio State’s March 8 self-report of the Tressel email-borne NCAA violations, it did not report to the NCAA that Tressel had forwarded any of the Cicero emails to Pryor mentor Sarniak.
Of Tressel’s defense, Ohio State noted in its official self-report to the NCAA:
“In particular, he (Tressel) was protecting the confidentiality of the attorney (which the attorney requested) and of the federal criminal investigation.”
The problem with Tressel’s confidentiality defense to the NCAA and the public was, of course, he forwarded Cicero’s very first email to Sarniak.
An April 2, 2010, email in which Cicero did not request confidentiality. (He did not do so until an April 16 email to Tressel.)
So how would the public have reacted to Tressel’s “confidentiality” defense had the email from Tressel to Sarniak not been “inadvertently omitted” in the March 8 document release by Ohio State to the media and public?
Is it unreasonable to think that Tressel would not have attempted such a defense if it was known to the public that he had forwarded Cicero’s first, confidentiality-free email to Terrelle Pryor mentor Ted Sarniak?
Lynch also, somehow, claimed to the Dispatch on April 25 that the NCAA did receive Tressel’s complete email correspondence in its self-report. Though that same report from OSU noted, “he (Tressel) was protecting the confidentiality of the attorney (which the attorney requested) and of the federal criminal investigation.”
Why would Ohio State allow Tressel to make such a defense in its self-report if it knew the NCAA had clear evidence that Tressel had not kept his email exchange with Cicero confidential?
The complete email correspondence between Tressel, Cicero and Sarniak is below.