OSU Penalties Leaking: Bowl Ban, More Scholarships

Submitted by Brian on December 20th, 2011 at 2:47 PM

How do we feel about this?

The NCAA today stunned Ohio State University’s football program by banning it from postseason play after the 2012 season, multiple sources told The Dispatch.

The penalty means Ohio State automatically is out of the running for any bowl, or a Big Ten or national championship next year, just as newly appointed head coach Urban Meyer is wooing recruits to the Buckeyes.

Athletic Director Gene Smith said previously that while Ohio State has been declared a repeat violator that failed to properly monitor its football program, a bowl ban would be out of line with penalties handed to universities with similar violations.

In its ruling to be made public this afternoon, the NCAA Committee of Infractions will levy the bowl ban and two other penalties on top of the ones the university already imposed on itself, the sources said. The NCAA will:

* Strip four more football scholarships over the next three years on top of Ohio State’s prior forfeiture of five scholarships over that span.

* Add an additional year of probation to OSU’s self-imposed two-year probation for the football program, meaning any violations through the 2013 season could draw harsher-than-normal penalties.

I still think it's weak—what happened to the NCAA's two-eyes-for-an-eye policy?—but it's certainly something, something that OSU insiders have been confidently proclaiming would not happen because they were listening to OSU's idiot athletic director. Who is an idiot.

"Stunned." Yeah, I bet you're stunned. The Ohio State athletic department is also stunned that OSU boosters would want to give free things to football players. Other things that stun the OSU AD:

  • The sun rising in the morning.
  • Malcolm Gladwell drawing grand conclusions from tenuously connected, dubiously supported facts.
  • Troy Woolfolk getting injured.

Ohio State won't win the Big Ten next year, either, Urban Meyer has just lied to a bunch of kids, and they will have a roster maximum of 82 for the next few years. I still think that roster maximum should be something like 79, but it could have gone worse.



December 20th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

Also worth thinking about the poison environment that now exists in Columbus. There must be serious trust issues between Meyer and Smith, Gee and the trustees. They told him this wouldn't happen.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

They probably didn't tell him anything. You don't think urban could be telling recruits not to worry about additional penalties regardless of the facts? I guess either way, someone i lying to someone. Meyer better hope those recruits he just reaffrimed and signed are dead-set on wearing scarlet and gray, or they may be out the door. It's a long way to signing day.


December 20th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

11 Warriors is still down.  There must be a lot of semi truck drivers swearing as they try to load the page at a rest stop.  

I just mailed my Buckeye alum uncle his second Christmas card.  The first was just "40-34" in giant print.  Now he's getting a print off the Cleveland Plain Dealer article.  What a lovely day.  


December 20th, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

I just mailed my Buckeye alum uncle his second Christmas card. The first was just "40-34" in giant print. Now he's getting a print off the Cleveland Plain Dealer article. What a lovely day

What, no holly clip-art? No winter wonderland watermark background? That's not very festive. {snicker}


December 20th, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

Ohio cheated for ten years; they deserve ten years of probation.  At the very least, they should have gotten a two year ban.  Gordon Gee and BFF/protege Mark Emmert must be lauging very hard at the public right now.  


December 20th, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

This is pretty much what everyone was expecting wasn't it?  I mean, they have to tack on something.  The show cause was inevitable.  Post-season ban was pretty much a lock too after last year's Sugar Bowl fiasco.  I think it should have been more just because I hate Ohio.  Somehow I don't see that weighing in on the NCAA's ruling.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:00 PM ^

This is more than expected but still short of what was deserved. I was looking for a 2 year bowl ban (1 as payback for last years Sugar Bowl + 1 for the tatto stuff et al), and maybe 15 schollies over 3 years. The probation doesn't mean squat as far as I'm concerned.


As far as Tressel goes, it obviously has no effect on o$u going forward.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

Shocking, from ESPN.  It's four total over 3 years, so it's now 3 per year for 3 years if they choose to do it that way.  Not that big a deal, really.  The big hurt is the bowl ban (payback for last year's Sugar Bowl) and what I assume is a ban from the B1G championship game.  Also, the additional probation could become a problem for the notoriously shady Urban Meyer.

Edit: meant as reply to htownwolverine above.  I fail at internet.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:00 PM ^

You people are unreal. You complained all day that NOTHING was going to happen. SOMETHING happens and you want more. This is a great day; enjoy it.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:01 PM ^

I thought they would start out at least 9-1 if not 10-0 next year.  Their toughest opponents are going to be @MSU, who loses their whole offense, and home vs. Nebraska, whom they were beating by 14 in Lincoln when Miller got hurt.  This could very easily cost them a Fiesta or Orange Bowl appearance.  Sad trombone.

Section 1

December 20th, 2011 at 3:03 PM ^

for almost a year now; the eventual penalties will assuredly be seen as weak by Michigan fans.  No matter what.  And any Buckeye loyalist who thought that they'd get no enhancement of the self-sanctions was dreaming.

I am only a little surprised with the bowl ban.  I didn't think they'd get that.  But as to all the rest, it is almost exactly what I had expected.  I think the NCAA can defend this decision pretty adequately.

Brain, as always, does make a good point about detailed adherence to two-for-one penalties.  I wonder what Brian would expect in that regard:  Two years of a bowl ban?  How many additional scholarships?  I'd argue that the bowl ban seems harsh, since OSU, as I understand it, actually wanted to suspend the entire Tat-5 for their last bowl game, and Delany intervened on their behalf!


December 20th, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

 The scholarship losses are directly related to the number of players committing violations; that's basically a two-for-one situation.  The bowl ban, therefore, is in response to something else.  It can be looked at as payback for last year's Sugar Bowl (that's how i look at it), but it can also be viewed as the punishment for the school's coverup/lack of oversight. The school has to, in some way, be punished for the fact that the NCAA was consistently lied to, and that ineligible players were intentionally allowed to play.  Tressel does not get to be a lone scapegoat; the university also has to accept responsibility for not having sufficient compliance. I doubt that there is a direct relationship mentioned in the NCAA report, but I think the bowl ban is a result of the school's coverup and their joke "investigation" when the allegations came out last December. 


December 20th, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

since OSU, as I understand it, actually wanted to suspend the entire Tat-5 for their last bowl game, and Delany intervened on their behalf!

I guess I'm curious what leverage Delaney could have used to force OSU to play players that OSU had already decided to suspend. I can imagine him intervening with the NCAA; it's hard to imagine him forcing lighter punishments on a member school. And a quick google search turns up no source other than you, not even speculation.

Section 1

December 20th, 2011 at 6:31 PM ^

Let's review.  When in Decmeber of 2010 the news about the Tat 5 was breaking, OSU (at first) intended to suspend all five for the 2011 Sugar Bowl game.  Nothing was said about the following season, or anything else, at that time.  Putting ourselves back at that point in time, it was probably presumed that a suspension of the Tat 5 for the bowl game was going to be the end of it.  It soon thereafter turned into a five-game suspension for all of them.

I am not claiming that OSU was saintly in volunteering the origiginal bowl-game suspension; all that I am saying is that that was the first move.

Then, as I understand it, the Sugar Bowl committee then went apeshit, and called Jim Delany, asking him to weigh in on behalf of the bowl, to get the Tat 5 back into the game, to produce the best attraction and ratings for the game.  And, there was merit to the suggestion, insofar as there is a very general principle in NCAA sanctions that player suspensions ought not to be imposed for postseason or championship games.  There is a valid reason for that; the NCAA doesn't want investigations and suspension-battles being timed and the system otherwise gamed so as to influence championships.  So Delany weighed in on the side of having the Tat 5 play.  And they played.

I wish I knew of a good link to capture that story in a pithy way.  If anybody knows one, it would be nice to have the link.  In the meantime there is this:

...In December 2010, he [Delany] lobbied to have the five OSU suspended players participate in the January 2011 Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, in the interest of maximizing the event for the bowl game and its sponsors. In April, after learning that Tressel knew of the violations back in the spring of 2010, Delany said if he had known that, neither he nor OSU AD Gene Smith would have asked the NCAA to allow the suspended Buckeyes to play in the Sugar Bowl. 



Adam Rittenberg wrote a lot about the story, at first detailing that the Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan unquestionably lobbied for the the players's supensions to be deferred, and that the NCAA specifically defended its own decision to allow the players to play in the Sugar Bowl:

Not surprisingly, the NCAA's decision to allow five suspended Ohio State players to participate in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Arkansas has been greeted with a good deal of criticism.

My take: punishment shouldn't be deferred, especially when the violations were committed more than a year ago.

Both the NCAA and the Sugar Bowl's top official defended their positions Wednesday.

The NCAA issued a statement in response to media criticism about the Ohio State situation and the Cam Newton drama at Auburn.

It reads in part:

In relation to the decision last week involving rules violations with football student-athletes at Ohio State, several current student-athletes were interviewed as part of our fact-gathering process. They indicated they were not aware there was a violation and learned of the issue based on later rules education, which was confirmed by OSU through interviews and supporting documentation.

Inadequate rules education is often cited in student-athlete reinstatement and other waiver cases (such as inaccurate or misguided academic advising), but it is just one of many factors considered in these types of situations.

The NCAA restated its withholding policy that allows for "suspending a reinstatement condition" -- I love that phrase -- in situations involving championships or bowl games.

Finally, the NCAA responded to claims that its decision was based around money, especially the revenue BCS bowl games like the Sugar Bowl generate.

Money is not a motivator or factor as to why one school would get a particular decision versus another. Any insinuation that revenue from bowl games in particular would influence NCAA decisions is absurd, because schools and conferences receive that revenue, not the NCAA.

Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan also addressed the Ohio State situation with The Columbus Dispatch, telling the newspaper that he encouraged Ohio State to keep the players eligible for the game against Arkansas. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and others also pushed for the players to appear in the bowl. 

And later, Rittenberg was more defensive of Delany, but he otherwise confirmed the main notion that the deferral of any suspensions until after the Sugar Bowl was in the last instance a matter of an NCAA decision:



December 20th, 2011 at 3:03 PM ^

I knew it would be a weak punishment, but after hearing that the self imposed punishment was enough, I was worried the NCAA would have no further punishment.

I wonder what Dunn and some other recruits plan on doing?  May be Meyer has an escape clause?


December 20th, 2011 at 5:49 PM ^

It probably won't affect recruiting much.  If kids were high on Ohio when everybody knew that the program was dirty and that the school had hired a sleazy coach to replace their dirty coach, it won't change their minds to have the NCAA confirm what they already know.  Let's face it - if they are concerned about being part of a program with integrity then they wouldn't be committed to/considering OSU in the first place.  Sadly, integrity is pretty far down on the list of priorities for many kids.

The funny thing is how strongly the OSU people have embraced Meyer.  Of course his is a big name and can flash his NC rings *cough - Tim Tebow - cough*, but Meyer has done a lot of damage to OSU and the Big Ten.  First he whined and cried to the media to keep Michigan from playing OSU in a rematch for the 2006 national championship.  That kept the Big Ten from getting the kind of automatic NC that the SEC will have in this year's game and, as we all saw, kept OSU from having any shot at winning that game.  That NC game also cemented the "SEC speed" meme with the media, seriously tarnished the Big Ten's reputation, and also really ramped up the perception that OSU was the Buffalo Bills of the NCAA that couldn't win the big one and certainly couldn't beat the SEC.  Basically Meyer took a dump on the Big Ten and OSU, and the Buckeyes love him for it.  At the end of the day, however, he is a convincing liar and that is really all you need to be accepted with open arms in Columbus.  

My name ... is Tim

December 20th, 2011 at 3:07 PM ^

I think this is a little weak, but I'm pleasantly surprised nonetheless. My main joy in this will be watching that arrogant prick Gene Smith squirm at the press conference. I think a show cause on Gene Smith following his arrogant actions would be more appropriate than just providing a temporary obstacle that keeps Gene Smith in power and inevitably penalizes a bunch of kids who had no involvement in the matter.

biakabutuka ex…

December 20th, 2011 at 3:08 PM ^

If they did not make it to a bowl this year, would the bowl ban apply to this season, since they would be missing a bowl game anyway?

If so, their improbable 6th win against Wisconsin is retroactively delightful.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:11 PM ^

They potentially could have banned themselves this year and avoided having the 2012 bowl ban tacked on. They must have thought it was worth the risk, and will get to go have a slapfight with Florida, and instead take the ban next year in what may well be a much better season for the Bucks. Bad move and lack of humility from the AD, but what else is new?


December 20th, 2011 at 3:09 PM ^

i think they should have gotten more, but since meyer has been telling recruits that nothing more was coming and that ended up being untrue, Michigan's recruiting efforts just got a little easier. recruits can't trust what meyer says now and hoke can use that to his advantage.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

Apparently Tressel got a 5-year show cause penalty. That doesn't hurt OSU, but it seems like a legitimate smackdown of Tressel, since it effectively means he can't work for half a decade.

Now if only they could give one to Smith and Gee.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:14 PM ^

Link: http://twitter.com/#!/CharlesRobinson

"Key witness refused to cooperate w/ NCAA's Ohio State probe. Had he taken part, sanctions could have been far worse. OSU dodged a bullet."

"Also, the witness was not Pryor. It was a civilian close to the players."

"No, the NCAA will not revisit this. The witness had the chance to cooperate. What's done is done. Sanctions are final."

"This is correct. Witness refused 4 his own safety. RT There's a reason OSU allegations ended unproven. Witness feared 4 his life."


December 20th, 2011 at 4:08 PM ^


And there's something in that discussion that doesn't make sense to me. The claim at the time, at least from Columbus, was that the death threats were coming from Rife.

Why would Rife care? "Ellis" talking to the NCAA wasn't going to have any impact on the Fed's case against Rife. Rife was such a big Buckeye fan that one of his last acts on his way to prison was to threaten someone who had put the status of the OSU football team at risk?

I can't make any sense out of it--there's no motive. But there are a lot of other folks with a motive, and the parallels to Clarett are striking to me.