Ohio State cited for failure to monitor
Buckeyes receive one-year bowl ban, three years’ probation
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions handed down its penalties to Ohio State University on Tuesday, which includes a one-year bowl ban and three years' probation for the football program.
Ohio State was cited for failure to monitor, preferential treatment and extra benefit violations in its football program. Former head coach Jim Tressel also was found to have engaged in unethical conduct for not reporting NCAA rule violations.
The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the university and adopted by the committee, include a one-year postseason ban for 2012; additional scholarship reductions; disassociation of both an involved booster, Bobby DiGeronimo, and a former student-athlete, Terrelle Pryor; forfeiture of almost $340,000; and a vacation of records. In addition, Tressel received a five-year show-cause order that limits his athletically related duties and applies to any NCAA member school which may consider employing him.
|• Ohio State infractions|
Eight football student-athletes received more than $14,000 in cash payments or preferential treatment from Edward Rife, the owner of a Columbus, Ohio, tattoo parlor. Rife, the owner of Fine Line Ink where Ohio State players began to congregate in 2009 and 2010, has been sentenced to three years in prison following his conviction earlier this year on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.
In addition to free or discounted tattoos and cash for memorabilia received by these student-athletes, one football student-athlete received a loan and discount on a car.
The committee also found Tressel concealed these NCAA violations when he was notified of the situation.
“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 to institutional officials, the Big Ten Conference or the NCAA,” the committee stated in its report.
Specifically, the committee noted that Tressel had at least four opportunities to report the information, and his failure to do so led to allowing several football student-athletes to compete while ineligible. Many of these student-athletes were key contributors to the team’s winning 2010 season.
The stiffer penalties -- including a finding of a “failure to monitor” of Ohio State’s athletic programs -- came because of additional problems which followed the tattoo-related violations revealed a year ago, almost to the day.
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 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 long-standing commitment to excellence in education and integrity in all it does.”
Following the Committee on Infractions hearing on Aug. 12, the enforcement staff and university investigated additional allegations that had come to light. These additional violations centered on a booster providing nine football student-athletes with more than $2,400 in payments for work not performed and cash. The university also was cited for failing to monitor the booster’s employment of football student-athletes. Ohio State conceded it could have done more to monitor the booster by taking additional steps that would have reduced the likelihood of these violations occurring.
|BUCKEYES IN TURMOIL|
Sept. 1, 2011
• OSU admits players received improper benefits
Aug. 12, 2011
• Buckeyes meet with NCAA
July 26, 2011
• Pryor banned from contact with team
July 23, 2011
• NCAA: Ohio State didn’t fail to monitor
July 8, 2011
• Buckeyes respond to Notice of Allegations
May 30, 2011
• Tressel resigns as head football coach
March 17, 2011
• Sanctions upheld against players
Dec. 30, 2010
• QB Pryor among six suspended
The penalties, some of which were self-imposed by the university and adopted by the committee, include:
• Public reprimand and censure.
• Three years of probation from Dec. 20, 2011, through Dec. 19, 2014.
• Postseason ban for the 2012 football season, which includes the conference championship game.
• Reduction of 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 across three academic years.
• Vacation of all wins for the 2010 football regular season, including the 2010 Big Ten Conference co-championship and participation in the 2011 Sugar Bowl (self-imposed by the university).
• Forfeiture of $338,811, which is the amount the university received through the Big Ten Conference revenue sharing for its appearance in the bowl game (self-imposed by the university).
• Five-year show-cause order for former head coach Jim Tressel.
• Disassociation of booster Bobby DiGeronimo for 10 years, including among other conditions, the prohibition of any financial or other support (self-imposed by the university).
• Disassociation of former student-athlete Terrelle Pryor for five years, including among other conditions, the prohibition of any financial or other support (self-imposed by the university).
The members of the Committee on Infractions who reviewed this case include Dr. Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and chair of the Committee on Infractions. Other members are Britton Banowsky, commissioner of Conference USA; John S. Black, attorney; Melissa (Missy) Conboy, deputy director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame; Roscoe Howard, Jr., attorney; Eleanor Myers, faculty athletics representative and law professor at Temple University; James O’Fallon, law professor and faculty athletics representative for University of Oregon; and Gregory Sankey, associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference.
Sankey said in a teleconference that Tressel’s failure to act was “considered very serious and, frankly, very disappointing.”
Asked whether the committee on infractions was trying to send a message with more severe penalties, Sankey said, “I would not suggest that this is necessarily a new day, but these penalties are significant and that’s part of the committee’s role in both deliberating and finding violations and then assessing penalties.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.