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March 27, 2001

Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel said today that defensive back Derek Ross will not be permitted to participate on the field in spring practice.

Tressel’s decision comes on the heels of a meeting with Ross on Sunday night to discuss the circumstances surrounding Ross’ guilty plea last week to charges of driving without a license and providing false information after he was stopped for speeding.

“In the two months since I have been here, we have spent a lot of time talking about the image that we want to present as members of the Ohio State football team,” Tressel said. “It is a privilege to play here and all of us need to understand what it means to be a Buckeye and represent this great University.

“Derek made a poor decision last week. He knows that and he is sorry, but there must be consequences. Derek was looking forward to competing for a starting spot in the spring. He won’t have that opportunity at this point. Instead, when we are on the practice field, Derek will be required to be at the Younkin Success Center, focusing on his academics.

“At the end of Spring Quarter, if he has met all of his legal obligations, is in good standing academically, and, this is very important, has demonstrated that he can be the kind of citizen that we expect our players to be, his situation will be re-evaluated.

“Our goal is to treat our players like we would our own children — with firmness, fairness and compassion. It is now up to Derek to live up to his responsibilities.”

Spring practice begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and concludes Apr. 28 with the Scarlet & Gray game at Columbus Crew Stadium.