The Ohio State University received its notice of allegations from the NCAA on Friday afternoon. If anyone reading this is looking for good news, kindly “x” out of this article or dowse your computer with gasoline and light it on fire right now.
The NCAA largely agreed with what Ohio State admitted to in March regarding Jim Tressel’s involvement in Tat-Gate. The notice of allegations accused Tressel of dishonesty, referring to last fall when the coach said he had no knowledge of any Ohio State football players violating NCAA rules. That of course turned out to be false -- Tressel was made aware of possible rules violations the previous April in an email sent from Christopher Cicero (a current Columbus lawyer and former Ohio State football player).
A direct quote from the notice of allegations coincides with this, "It was reported that Jim Tressel, head football coach, failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics and violated ethical-conduct legislation."
The 13 page document also stated that Ohio State broke rules by allowing Pryor, Herron, Posey, Adams and Thomas to play last fall -- but those five suspended players will not receive any further penalty from the NCAA (meaning they’ll only have to serve their five game suspension in 2011).
Ohio State officials and fans can be somewhat relieved that the NCAA didn’t accuse the university of violations like “failure to monitor” or “lack of institutional control”. Those violations produce the most severe penalties -- including scholarship losses, postseason bans and probation.
That doesn’t mean Ohio State is in the clear. Tressel, university President Gorden Gee and Athletic Director Gene Smith will meet with the NCAA on August 12 to discuss Ohio State’s infractions. The NCAA will then decide on Ohio State’s punishment, which could include the vacating of wins from the 2010 season (not including the Sugar Bowl victory**), a harsher suspension for Jim Tressel (currently five games), a reduction in scholarships and a postseason ban.
** The Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas can not be vacated because the NCAA declared the five suspended players eligible for that game. Woo-hoo, 1-9 against the SEC instead of *-9!
Best case scenario -- the NCAA agrees with the punishment Ohio State has levied on Jim Tressel and everyone moves on. Unfortunately, I just don’t see that happening.