Courtesy of Detroit Free Press:
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The NCAA hit Ohio State with a one-year bowl ban and other penalties today for a scandal that involved eight players taking a total of $14,000 in cash and tattoos in exchange for jerseys, rings and other Buckeyes memorabilia.
The university previously had offered to vacate the 2010 season, return bowl money, go on two years of NCAA probation and use five fewer football scholarships over the next three years.
But the NCAA countered with a bowl ban in Urban Meyer’s first year as head coach in 2012, further reduced the number of scholarships and tacked on a year of probation.
It was a sobering blow to Ohio State and athletic director Gene Smith, who, through a lengthy NCAA investigation, had maintained there was no way the Buckeyes would be banned from a bowl game.
“We are surprised and disappointed with the NCAA’s decision,” Smith said in a released statement. “However, we have decided not to appeal the decision because we need to move forward as an institution. We recognize that this is a challenging time in intercollegiate athletics. Institutions of higher education must move to higher ground, and Ohio State embraces its leadership responsibilities and affirms its longstanding commitment to excellence in education and integrity in all it does.
“My primary concern, as always, is for our students, and this decision punishes future students for the actions of others in the past. Knowing our student-athletes, however, I have no doubt in their capacity to turn this into something positive — for themselves and for the institution. I am grateful to our entire Buckeye community for their continued support.”
After the initial tattoo scandal, Ohio State and the NCAA discovered two additional problems. Three players were suspended just before the start of the season for accepting $200 from booster Bobby DiGeronimo, and midway through the Buckeyes’ 6-6 season, it was revealed that several players had been paid too much for too little work on summer jobs — supplied by the same booster. He has been disassociated from the program.
Jim Tressel, forced out in the wake of the scandal, was hit with a five-year “show-cause” order that all but prevents him from being a college coach during that time.
“Of great concern to the committee was the fact that the former head coach became aware of these violations and decided not to report the violations,” the committee wrote in its report.
Under a show-cause order, any school that hired Tressel would have to present its case for why it needed to employ him and would risk severe penalties if he were to commit any further infractions after that.
The Buckeyes are preparing to play Meyer’s former team, Florida, in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2. Meyer, who was hired to much acclaim on Nov. 28, has built a solid recruiting class despite the ongoing NCAA problems. But a bowl ban could affect those verbal commitments.
The NCAA also issued a public reprimand and censure, put the Buckeyes on probation through Dec. 19, 2014, and reduced football scholarships from 85 to 82 through the 2014-15 academic year.
Here are the penalties facing Ohio State:
• One-year bowl ban for the 2012 postseason.
• Reduction of football scholarships from 85 to 82 over each of the next three seasons. Total scholarship reduction of nine.
• Three years of probation from Dec. 20, 2011, through Dec. 19, 2014.
• Five-year show cause order for Tressel, making it tough for him to coach in college during this period.
• Vacation of all wins for the 2010 football regular season, including the Big Ten co-championship and participation in the Sugar Bowl.
• Forfeiture of $338,811 the university received through the Big Ten for appearing in the Sugar Bowl.
• Disassociation with a booster for 10 years.
• Disassociation with a former player, believed to be Terrelle Pryor, for five years.