August 15, 2014

Ohio State Recieves Bowl Ban: Avoids ‘Death Penalty’

Those who have read my opinion on the incidents surrounding the Buckeye football team the last 12 months should not be surprised by what I am going to say in response to the NCAA’s penalties against Ohio State. My opinion on the matter hasn’t changed since last December.

The Buckeyes and their fans should be thankful that the penalties were not steeper.

Let me reiterate what I’ve said before- I have not studied every instance of NCAA sanctions looking for precedent. I have neither the time nor interest in doing so to be honest. And no matter what Gene Smith and the university say publicly, the fact that they are not appealing the ruling should tell you all you need to know about their feelings.

So the team will have a bowl ban in 2012. Is it unfortunate that the investigation wasn’t completed in time for the bowl ban to take place this year? Sure, but is it not possible that the committee took that into consideration when deciding on a one year ban? It would have been just as easy in early November to say 2 year ban.

I understand the frustrations of the fans and players alike. Those that were responsible for the infractions will play in 4 bowls, while incoming freshman will be eligible for only 3. Seniors next year will get no end of season trip. But when the NCAA gives out these penalties, they are doing so to the institution, not the players. The penalty is supposed to cost the university something. It is supposed to make them tighten the reigns and pay more attention to the players.

Why I think they were lucky-

Unlike the Cam Newton case, in the case against the Buckeyes, there was a smoking gun. The emails to and from Jim Tressel were hard evidence. He knew something was going on, and he did nothing at all about it. But even worse, he lied about it. From the committee report-

“The former head coach failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics as required by NCAA legislation and violated ethical conduct legislation when he failed to report information concerning violations of NCAA legislation and permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics competition while ineligible….Further, in September 2010, the former head coach falsely attested that he reported to the institution any knowledge of NCAA violations when he signed the institution’s certification of compliance form”

Of course, this led to Tressel’s resignation as head football coach. That doesn’t mean the university shouldn’t shoulder some of the responsibility of the head coach. They have a duty to monitor the staff as well as the players.

But even if that would have been enough of a penalty, the incidents involving players (Posey specifically) receiving benefits after the fiasco last December surely pushed the committee to a point in which they had to act. The compliance office at Ohio State has not been thorough enough. Not with the NCAA watching like they were, and everyone knowing they were watching.

The truth is that the program may actually be better off in 2013 because of what has happened. I would be willing to bet that not many programs come out better after going through this kind of ordeal. Early reports are that none of the recent Urban Meyer recruits are even considering de-committing. And honestly, why would they? They will have a freshman season to get their feet wet. Next year was about installing a new system, and developing young players. For Meyer, it takes pressure off as well. They can’t win the Big Ten, so they will be spoilers all season. There is no pressure to win a National Championship. No pressure to beat an SEC team in a bowl game. They get some practice games before the big one against Michigan at home. That is the bowl game next year.

  • MrCleaveland

    Rick, well stated. I agree completely. The former coach’s conduct was indefensible, and we’re lucky to get off this easy.

    Still, the NCAA should have put itself on probation for its laughable decision to let Pryor and his fellow reprobates play in last year’s Sugar Bowl. The hypocrisy of that decision remains deplorable to this day.

    But now it’s time to move on. Next year’s Michigan game is going to be wild. We might be underdogs, we’ll be at home, and this will be it for the year. It’s gonna be great.

  • Chris

    Given the profile OSU has in college football, I honestly don’t think the NCAA wanted to hurt the program too much, but they had to do something.

  • mgbode

    @Chris – tell that to USC (got basically the same punishment for a far lesser crime. and one that they let Auburn slide on – parents doing the deed rather than the player/school).

    the NCAA just seems so arbitrary. they could have hit OSU worse, they could have let them slide easier.

    i think it’s about fair since they have put a cloud over the Buckeyes the last year and a half and the damage that has done along with losing Tressel, and the punishment now set.

  • Steve

    mgobode – USC did not get basically the same penalty. 3 scholarships a year is a barely more than a slap on the wrist, 10 a year will actually affect your team. And the NCAA seems arbitrary because we don’t know all the details. Like Rick said, there was no smoking gun for Auburn, meanwhile USC did have a smoking gun, yet they kept denying it anyway, so the NCAA made an example of them. There are reports that witnesses wouldn’t work with the NCAA on the Ohio St case, which kept them from being able to prove enough to warrant a greater charge.

  • Shamrock

    It’s Urban Meyer time! But I agree Ohio State did get off easy.

  • mgbode

    @Steve – for some reason i thought it was 5per year. but, that just proves my point even more. they hammered USC and that is one of their ‘name’ programs.

  • Garry Owen

    Rick,

    Not sure I’m tracking with you on one point: You say, “That doesn’t mean the university shouldn’t shoulder some of the responsibility of the head coach. They have a duty to monitor the staff as well as the players.” Based on the preceding quoted paragraph, are you saying that the University had a duty to monitor Coach Tressell’s email? If so, I certainly disagree.

    All parties agreed that Tressell was the only one with knowledge of the violations. The Failure to Monitor charge was brought later, in light of the more recent allegations – and it only pertained to a FTM the players, not the staff (as in that instance, the coaching staff sits in the place of the university).

    Thus, I’m not so sure that I can conclude that OSU got off easy – but I am an alumnus homer.

  • Garry Owen

    Sorry, only one “l” in Tressel. My “l” key must be sticking. Yeah, that’s it.

  • Jay

    I think they got off fairly lucky, and I’m very happy as it could’ve been a LOT worse. One thing confuses me though. Say, hypothetically, they run the table and go undefeated in conference play. Did they also lose the priveledge to play in the B10 Championship game? Granted they can’t go to a bowl, but they can’t be conference champs as well, and have the runner up go to the Rose Bowl?

  • Garry Owen

    The ban includes conference title games. It’s actually a “post-season” ban.

  • Doug

    I am thankful that they are not worse, but at the same time I am disappointed in Gene Smith’s assessment of the situation and his probable poor decision in refusing to self-impose a bowl ban this season. Gene Smith says that he wants to protect the innocent players in John Simon and others (while letting guilty players such as Herron, Posey, etc. to play in bowl) at the expense of wholly innocent student athletes next year. As far as I’m concerned, it sucks for the seniors this year but it was THIS team that should have been punished, not the future team.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    @Garry- not saying they should read through his emails. Not at all. There was an attitude with Tressel that he was somehow above the program, or incapable of committing any kind of infraction, even though there were a few hiccups on his resume already. I don’t know exactly how the accountability should have been carried out, but the University has to have some accountability with the face of the football program, and to many the face of the institution.

  • Jay

    @ Garry – Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t sure that include conf. title games. Duh Jay.

  • acrossthefield11

    You are ridiculous. Ohio State self-reported every last detail of this matter. You say they were “lucky” to not receive the death penalty. The head coach who committed the real crime was fired and the perpetrators paid for their transgressions by missing many football games and repaying any benefit they had received, and you say they are LUCKY NOT TO RECEIVE THE EFFING DEATH PENALTY. What a troll.

    This website sure has tanked over the past year and I’d bet money you see that on your daily page hit count.

  • JM

    You mad bro?

  • 5KMD

    I wonder how many times after someone says “I’d bet money” a wager is actually made.

    I wish we could list number of posts under everyone’s names. Most the time, people who say this site has gone hill have handles I have never seen and I come here everyday.

    Once again, any negative opinion about the holier than thou OSU football program gets lambasted. I wish there was a big time college football program in Cleveland that we could celebrate. Glad Cleveland State hoops looks promising for the year and I agree with those who would like to see more coverage of those boys and less of the Columbus team.

  • 5KMD

    And I don’t think Rick ever said they were lucky to avoid the death penalty. He said they did “Avoid the Death Penalty” in the title, and then “fans should be thankful the penalties were not steeper.”

    Both are true statements.

  • ChcgoBuckeye

    I think so many in Columbus, friends included, really thought that the suspensions etc were it, nothing further. Scarlet glasses I guess, because I don’t know anyone with at least some distance that believed OSU wasn’t going to be banned, even before the further suspensions mid-season. Even before 6-6, it should have been self imposed this year, wipe the slate for a new coach, and start over next year and be done. But the arrogance/idiocy from Gene Smith, to think that precedents would dictate the future with all the recent scandals at USC, Miami, LSU, UNC, OSU, Bama and now the REAL messes at PSU and SU…… Writing was on the wall that a ban was coming, as it would cause the greatest damage. Very short sighted. At the end of the day though, the NCAA is hypocritical at best. Players traded/sold their own personal property. Maybe OSU should give every student some signed memorabilia and then everyone has the same opportunity. Problem solved!

  • ClevelandFan14

    @AcrossTheField

    What’s your problem? Ohio State did not report every last detail as noted by their lying head coach. Jim Tressel was not fired. Remember Gordon Gee saying he just hoped Tressel didn’t fire him and slapped him on the wrist with a 2 game suspension? Then remember how after Tressel resigned, the OSU administration changed it to retirement so they could waive his $250,000 fine and pay him an additional $50,000? Of course you don’t because that would conflict with your Buckeyes are holier than thou belief. If you don’t like the website, then leave. No one forces you to come here.

  • yerfdog

    Clevelandfan14- he is just mad, bro. Don’t try dropping facts on him.

    P.S. Go Blue.