When The Ohio State University went through the scandal with former coach Jim Tressel, the hope of the University and its athletic department was that firing Jim Tressel and self-imposing probation plus forfeiting the last season would be enough.
For a while, it looked like that might be the case when the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions delivered OSU a positive letter in response to their investigation into the Notice of Allegations.
All of that changed when the news of the Bobby DiGeronimo booster scandal rocked the program. The NCAA essentially slammed the brakes on their investigation and delivered OSU a supplemental Notice of Allegations.
OSU fans began bracing themselves for the worst penalties. Would the NCAA hit them with Failure To Monitor and/or Loss of Institutional Control (a pre-requisite for most postseason bans)? Would scholarships be lost? Would bowl games be forbidden?
The University is beginning to move toward the light at the end of the tunnel in this situation and the answers to those questions are closer to being revealed.
Today the University announced their co-investigation with the NCAA into this matter was officially closed and that the University would be self-imposing further sanctions. According to a press release on the University’s website,
As a result of the additional allegations, the university will self-impose a reduction of five scholarships over a three-year period beginning next year. Also, the university disassociated DiGeronimo Sept. 20 and is taking further steps to enhance its education and monitoring programs. This action is in addition to the self-imposed sanctions previously identified to the Committee on Infractions Aug. 12. Those include vacating the 2010 season (including the Sugar Bowl), vacating the 2010 Big Ten football championship, imposing a two-year probation period, seeking and accepting the resignation of then head football coach Jim Tressel, and forfeiting the university’s share of the Big Ten’s payment for having played in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.
Additionally, the NCAA has indeed charged the University with a Failure To Monitor its football program. This opens the door to a postseason ban, though it still remains to be seen if the NCAA will go that route.
The NCAA can still add any additional penalties it sees fit, but the whole picture is beginning to move slowly into focus. No timetable is set for the NCAA’s response to OSU’s penalties, but an answer is expectedly fairly soon, most likely by the first week or so of December, if not sooner.
The Failure to Monitor charge does not mean the NCAA has to impose a postseason ban, but it does open the door to precedence for it. Last week the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that of the 5 teams to face postseason bans in the last 10 years, 3 of them were hit with Failure to Monitor or Loss of Institutional Control, and the other 2 were hit with major recruiting violations.
Ohio State may not have the recruiting violations, but they now have the FTM charge. The NCAA is entirely too inconsistent to predict what will happen, so the University will now have to play out its season while waiting to hear if the NCAA feels their self-punishment is sufficient.
Photo Credit: ERIC ALBRECHT | DISPATCH