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 3:14 PM ^

The NCAA has a link on its front page.  There's a

"[r]eduction in football scholarships from 85 to 82 for each of the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years.  This is an increase from the university's proposal of five initial scholarships spread over three academic years"

It's worse than say 3 scholarship bans in 1 year, b/c they otherwise could make it up by signing, say 28, the next year.  OSU can't do that, but as stated above this is not a very heavy penalty.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:14 PM ^

But Ohio self imposed such harsh penalties... how could wiping the 2010 out of the record books and forcing your coach to retire with full pension, an extra month's salary, full health benefits for his family and waving a $250,000 fine not be sufficient? 



December 20th, 2011 at 3:35 PM ^

That's a good reason. Another good reason is based on the timing. Next fall is Urban's first year - there might be some transition issues as his team learns the playbook and he recruits spread-type players. The last thing they want is to go through some growing pains, play in the Outback Bowl, and then have a bowl ban the following year.


December 20th, 2011 at 6:18 PM ^

My theory? The corrupt NCAA made a deal with OSU. "We'll agree to give you these somewhat harsh penalties (on the surface) if you agree not to appeal.". Win - Win for both parties. NCAA appears to have taken the case seriously while OSU is doing the "right" thing taking their medicine without a fight.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:17 PM ^

at least they need to keep their noses clean for 3 years instead of 2.  Given Urban's background and those gift giving Buckeye boosters, that could be hard to do. 


December 20th, 2011 at 6:19 PM ^


This is actually the most useful part of the punishments.  They can't just do business as usual, and you know they would have.  

It puts a damper on recruiting when there are no "gifts" offered and you actually have to go to class and watch who you hang out with and those type of things.  OSU is not going to be a stint in minor league NFL for the next 3 years like it was for the last 10.  

I suspect that many of those recruits with lifelong undying love for Ohio didn't love it for Woody and Dot-the-I and Hang on Sloopy.  The real reason they loved it is now off the table.  

Look for many of them to take their "love" elsewhere.   


December 20th, 2011 at 3:20 PM ^

  • Tressel gets 5 year Show-Cause, meaning any school that hires him will have to show why they shouldn't be hit with penalties
  • The NCAA couldn't prove anything because a key witness was scared for his life (according to Charles Robinson)
  • The NCAA found the Bobby D - booster stuff worse than the Tat gate stuff
  • The kicker in the Bobby D -pay-for-jobs-that-dont-exist scandal was a paycheck found in TP's bank account. Not getting Pryor was HUGE for Michigan.
  • Gene Smith's Statement says they're not appealing and comes off as dumb (no surprise)


December 20th, 2011 at 3:20 PM ^

Pissed off but pleased. Bigger punishment than expected but not as bad as it should have been. At least it'll shut the Ohio slappies up for a while.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

these penalties, I think people should also consider what OSU already lost. They lost their money from last year's bowl game, they lost their starting QB, they lost a number of players for multiple games, they lost their head coach, and they had a garbage season. All of those taken  with the penalities announced today, and I don't really see how people think they got off light. It's also not the NCAA's fault that OSU managed to land Urban.


December 20th, 2011 at 4:15 PM ^

It'd be interesting to see if they have any juniors (or, seniors-to-be) who are good enough to go pro.  I don't know their roster well enough (or...well at all) to make that evaluation, but it'd be nice to see them lose some depth due to early departures from players who'd like their senior year to mean something.


December 20th, 2011 at 4:44 PM ^

Seniors-to-be will also have the option to transfer without penalty (not that I'd expect many to do that, that'd be crazy for just your senior year, and I'm pretty certain they still can't transfer within the conference and receive a scholarship).

About the only Seniors to be with a pro future are John Simon, but a 6'2", 270 DT/E tweener probably needs a really dominant year to help his draft stock, rather than just a very good year, Etienne Sabino, who wasn't very good this year, and Stoneburner, who looks pretty much like a prototype NFL TE. He's the only one I could see leaving. There are a lot of juniors in their secondary, but this seemed the unusual OSU secondary with almost no players with an NFL future.

Maybe Jordan Hall, their backup RB, takes the free transfer if he thinks he's going to get beat out for the starting spot or doesn't see himself fitting in Meyer's offense.


December 20th, 2011 at 5:30 PM ^

Jordan Hall is probably more likely to see the field as a RB under St. Urban than he would have under St. Tress.

The RB's who will likely benefit from Meyer's hiring: Jordan Hall and Jamaal Berry while Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith--who are virtual clones of Brionte Dunn, btw-- are probably less likely to prosper under Meyer.


December 20th, 2011 at 8:56 PM ^

The players who usually take advantage of this sort of opportunity are those who are far enough down the depth chart that they understand they probably won't get the opportunity to see the field often. They go to other (lesser) schools where they have the opportunity to be starters.

You saw this at USC. Nobody of consequence left, but you had a third string RB go to UConn, what have you. Somebody could always use an experienced USC or OSU upperclassman for a year, even if they're not good enough to start at the powerhouse they came from.

So really, it has less to do with the loss of a bowl game than it does taking an opportunity to improve your playing situation. I'd be surprised if no one at OSU took the opportunity to leave, but I'd also be surprised if it was anyone who mattered.


December 20th, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

Is this the conclusion of the entire investigation or is there still more ongoing?  At one point it was suggested that further allegations could be pending and additional investigating was pending or was that where the "Failure to Monitor" stuff came from?


December 20th, 2011 at 3:27 PM ^

I think the NCAA infractions committee threw up their hands when Pryor went pro and the people who spoke to journalists wouldn't testify the same to the committee. If this was a Law&Order episode all of the twists would be before it goes to trial, and when it does all of the witnessess will be refusing to testify and the perp will walk out of the courtroom smiling while McCoy shares a look with the attorney who played it beautifully. Then McCoy and Arthur will have a drink and talk about how they still at least made the manslaughter charge stick, even if they couldn't get the guy for the bodies under the floor.

Except there aren't any bodies under the floor. The real damage done was that extra benefits like the tats and the cars were what allowed OSU to have unusually high retension among its players. They didn't over-recruit like Alabama but they managed to mimic the effect by having more juniors return for their senior years, and more young players could be placated by a car instead of transferring when their playing time wasn't available.

The other damage done was to the NCAA's regulatory system, which is based on the iron concept that institutions are capable of policing themselves. This is the part they could prove because they had Tressel lying on a form and the email that proved he had known about the problem and hidden it from the NCAA. This was made worse by the "high profile" concept borne out in the USC case: Ohio State played a game of "oh we just found out" to get their players to remain eligible for the Sugar Bowl, and managed to pass any damage into the soft part of this season instead of -- as they should have done -- suspending the players for the latter half of the Big Ten season, including the Michigan game. This made the NCAA unwittingly complicit and undermined the association's credibility, while the tacky "two-game suspension hits the sweet spot" reaction and kangaroo investigation by OSU's AD undermined the premise that institutions can self-control.

But the NCAA just couldn't make its case. The fact is their system of self-control only works if either a.) the institutions are their own harshest critics (see: Michigan's response to historical violations), or b.) the NCAA can stomach taking dire action against its high-profile members when they misbehave. After USC I thought they were re-establishing b.) but either because their case lacked the sufficient evidence (especially with the car) or because of the rumors that OSU's corruption actually was infiltrating deep into NCAA's infractions committee itself, this didn't materialize.

The end result is basically on the extreme end of light for what violations they could prove, and far, far, far below what would constitute proper justice given the known circumstances. There's no way to sugarcoat it: Ohio State got off with the lightest possible sanctions that wouldn't involve mass (more than 1/3 of member institutions) openly questioning the legitimacy of the NCAA's justice system. To Pac 12 fans and SEC fans this will confirm their suspicions of a Big Ten bias. To Michigan fans it confirms our suspicions of an OSU bias. As for Ohio State fans, well, they can't ever ever talk again when we liken the rivalry to any kind of good versus evil because. I hope everyone beats them always. But then I felt that way before.


December 20th, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

I frankly do not think this penalty is harsh at all.  A one year bowl ban is not all that significant; there should have been at least two. 

I don't think the scholarships amount to much of anything either.  This is not OSU losing recruits, only a couple border-line second & third stringers who likely would never see the field anyway.  Urb's simply trims the dead-wood at the periphery of the roster, and keeps right on recruiting the 22-24 kids as typical.

In all, it's better than the wrist slap I think most were anticipating, but this is only a speedbump to their program. 



December 20th, 2011 at 3:34 PM ^

The biggest good that came out of this was Tressel's show-cause. Biggest scumbag and the reason most of this happened got hit the hardest. Two stops and two awfully dirty programs..he finally gets nailed as he deserved. Unfortunately it came after he has his reign of terror over the big ten...and I seriously doubt the bucknuts or anyone else will call into question his integrity despite the NCAA basically saying "he has none." 


December 20th, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

Lying to investigators? Proved.

Coverup of investigation? FOIA lawsuit pending.

Repeat offender institution? Yes

Failure to Monitor? Textbook definition of.

Lack of Institutional Control? Obvs.

Punishment? Extremely mild. They even get to play in a Bowl between the one that was vacated and the won they'll be banned from.

The new "tough" NCAA didn't even match the previous punishment laid on USC. 

Message? Punishment handed down is way milder than the overwhelming advantages gained through cheating. USC got caught and people don't say "Ohh, don't let that happen to you." People say "This is still USC" Ohio had an overwhelming atmosphere of rule breaking and non compliance and they all still love Tressel, still swagger arrogantly, and still put "THE" in front of their name, and now have Urban Meyer as their coach. Schools have nothing to lose by cheating. Thank you NCAA.



December 20th, 2011 at 3:58 PM ^

Honestly, I'm very pleased. Let's be clear:  they deserved greater punishment. But even so, I'm glad. Why?

  1. They did get some punishment, including a bowl ban.
  2. The bowl ban stings, especially since they could have taken a bowl ban this year, instead of sending a 6-6 team to a bowl.
  3. The reality is that both Ohio and Michigan fans are unhappy. That actually, realistically, is a good sign. If Michigan fans were happy, it would almost indicate the punishment was too harsh. If Ohio fans were happy, it would mean that not nearly enough happened. They're both unhappy? That means the punishment is somewhat fair.
  4. The probation makes it much less likely that Ohio continues to cheat to gain an advantage. And if current players do something like, say, accepting payment from Geronimo to go to a fundraiser, hey, the NCAA can slam them with either extended scholarship reductions or additional bowl bans, etc.
  5. The penalty slightly levels the playing field between Michigan and Ohio, without decimating Ohio.

This last point is where I disagree with some Michigan fans. While I want Ohio to feel some pain, I don't really want them to be destroyed. Well, part of me does. However, l love it when Michigan beat Ohio fair and square. When we recruit well, and scheme well, and play well, and are coached well, and beat at Ohio team that is rated more highly.

The last 9 years have not been fun. But I blame a good part of that on Michigan. Yes, Ohio cheating made a difference, but not all the difference. I want a fair fight where Michigan beats Ohio, and MSU, and all comers. If Ohio had lost 10 scholarships a year for the next four years, and was banned from bowls for 3 years, well, we'd have a huge advantage. And the wins would be nice. But they'd mean a lot less. Ohio has been hurt, and rebuked. But the Michigan - Ohio game will still mean something. That's the way it should be.



December 20th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

I agree with you in principle, but this still leaves me unsatisfied.  Michigan's approach to dealing with the NCAA is absolute cooperation and complete accesss and our reward for it is the basketball program is decimated for 10 years and the football program found it's coach further undermined and recruiting taking a hit.  OSU obstructs and obfuscates, under penalizes, and they wind up with a solid coach and no apparent hit to their recruiting. 

The lesson I take away from this whole episode is that when trouble arises, full cooperation with the NCAA is not the smart play, which shouldn't be the case.


December 20th, 2011 at 4:03 PM ^

the jackasses down south got off a little light, but sweater vest was the one that did the biggest wrong doing in being dishonest. 

this sheds light on a dilema for the NCAA, do you punish the program (typically punishing athletes that were still in high school when rules were broken) or do you punich the actual offenders?  it seems that the NCAA did a little of both, but nailed sweater vest the most. 


December 20th, 2011 at 4:05 PM ^

So... you're Miami (YTM).

What are you thinking after this?

You're like... FUUUUU... we're gonna get a 156 year bowl ban, lose 921 schollies a year, and will be demoted to Class AA in the Idaho High School State Football Association.

Indiana Blue

December 20th, 2011 at 4:05 PM ^

issued guidance that tressel could not be a part of the program in the future, including those pep talks prior to the Michigan game.  Also is this a ALL sports probation?  because aren't they already on one (basketball)?

Go Blue!


December 20th, 2011 at 4:23 PM ^

Also is this a ALL sports probation? because aren't they already on one (basketball)?

Yes, this is why the NCAA is labelling them as a repeat offender. Granted for the football program to get further smacked, the next violations would have to be football-related, but probation puts the microscope on the entire Athletic Dept.

Perkis-Size Me

December 20th, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

What does everyone think of our chances with regards to a big ten title next year? I know it would be difficult especially given we have to replace RVB, Martin, and Molk, but:


MSU-Losing Cousins, Worthy (most likely), Cunningham, and Keyshawn

Wiscy-Losing Wilson, almost definitely Moneyball, as well Toon

PSU-after everything that's happened, yeah right

Nebraska-as long as Martinez is throwing the football like a shotput, as well as the current inconsistency on defense, I don't see them making significant strides.


Call me crazy, but I think our toughest game next year, aside from Bama of course, will be Iowa. Vandenberg's underrated, Coker's a monster, and if McNutt stays, he will create problems for us next year again (hopefully it won't be another JT Floyd/McNutt matchup). But if we take care of business against them, I don't see any reason why we can't win the division next year, and there is no one team in the Leaders Division which I can look at next year and say we can't beat them.

Don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think the Rose Bowl is a very real possibility next year, especially if Denard continues his progression.


December 20th, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

But I think the future of 2012 is looking bright. Denard seems to be improving to the point where he may be a complete terror next year, plus Fitz will be our #1 from day 1. My only concern is our D-line but I have hope that Mattison can figure out how to develop our guys even further and have Michigan looking like a favorite to win the B1G title next year. I thought the B1G was down this year (and it was) but next year it could be worse.

Also, suck it Ohio. Go Blue!


December 20th, 2011 at 5:21 PM ^

My slightly counter-intuitive take is that this might not be the worst thing in the world for Meyer.  The scholarship reductions aren't crippling.  The postseason ban is actually a benefit.  It gives him a free year to install new schemes without much in the way of consequence. Now he can go 6-6 or even 5-7 next year and only the nitwits will be calling for his head.  


December 20th, 2011 at 7:47 PM ^

Yes, it keeps the buckeye nuts off his back (maybe), but he loses a year, his first year at that, of the media slurping all over his knob and declaring him the second coming of Woody.  

Out of sight, out of mind.  No B1G championship and no Bowl game means that the Meyer Express sits idle in November.  It's a serious momentum killer.



December 20th, 2011 at 5:39 PM ^

MSU and tOSU fans are trolling each other on the Off Tackle Empire thread. It's delightful.

tOSU says they won't appeal. Why do we believe them? (Rhetorical question.)


December 20th, 2011 at 5:43 PM ^

Not really a revelation.  I figured they'd get less.  I think they should have gotten hammered and cannot figure out how they didn't get hit with loss of institutional control.  I guess they you have to have complete anarchy in the athletic department for that to happen these days.