Friday, July 22, 2011

Ohio State Dodges Major Bullet, Will Face No Major Sanctions From NCAA

The NCAA has notified Ohio State University that it will not face any punishment in regards to any charges that the University failed to properly oversee its football program.

In part because the NCAA did not uncover any further violations that OSU didn't report, they placed the vast majority of the blame for the prior violations on former Head Coach Jim Tressel.
"Considering the institution's rules education and monitoring efforts, the enforcement staff did not believe a failure to monitor charge was appropriate in this case," the NCAA informed Ohio State.
This should be a huge relief for a football program and University that has been under fire over these past many months since the story first broke last December of players trading memorabilia for tattoos.

OSU isn't by any means out of the woods yet and still has to face the NCAA in a hearing on August 12 to discuss the violations and be notified of any further punishments.  These could include bowl bans, loss of scholarships, or further probation.

OSU has made strong strides already in sanctioning itself; these include firing Coach Tressel in May, forfeiting all the wins from the 2010 season (including the Big Ten Championship and the Bowl win), suspending the players implicated in December for the first six games of this season, and gave itself a two-year NCAA probation.

The University also released the transcript from a five-hour interview it conducted with Tressel on February 8.  In it, Tressel attempts to explain his actions on why he didn't report to the NCAA or his school's compliance officer what he knew about the players selling memorabilia.
"And so those next couple weeks, in my mind, I spent a lotta time, you know, pounding, pounding, pounding and also wondering, 'Where do I - you know, where do I look for some help with this?' Cause to me, it wasn't simply an NCAA rule. And I'm not belittling the importance for an NCAA rule. But it was way beyond an NCAA rule. I mean, it was a security issue. It was a federal criminal issue. It was a narcotics issue. You know, it - you know, where do you turn?"
We know what happened; Tressel didn't turn to anyone and in the process brought great disgrace upon himself and his school.  Even in his interview, he talked about how he knew that eventually the scandal would catch up to the school and the NCAA would impose penalties.
"It was pretty simple. We were either gonna be horribly in trouble from a criminal standpoint, or we're gonna be minorly involved in drug, you know, buying and stuff, or we're gonna face the NCAA reality that we did some things with our memorabilia we're not allowed to do," he said. "I was totally confident one of those was gonna happen."
OSU has handled the situation as well as any school could have, given the egregious errors in judgement by their Head Coach.  It still remains to be seen if Athletic Director Gene Smith will survive in his position after the final NCAA punishments are handed down.

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