First…before you do anything, you really must read the following entries.
Ohio State received a one year bowl ban yesterday that has a lot of college football analysts peering into their crystal balls and wondering aloud if a period of stringent NCAA penalties has arrived? From the New York Times:
Ohio State’s football team will not play in the postseason next year, and the program will lose nine scholarships over the next three years as a result of a scandal that cost Coach Jim Tressel his job in the spring.
The N.C.A.A. found Ohio State guilty of failure to monitor the program and of extra-benefit violations after it said eight players received more than $14,000 in cash or preferential treatment from the owner of a tattoo parlor in Columbus.
The N.C.A.A.’s findings Tuesday startled administrators at Ohio State, who expected lesser penalties. Athletic Director Gene Smith said the university was “surprised and disappointed” by the N.C.A.A.’s decision but would not appeal the findings.
The Ohio State president, E. Gordon Gee, said: “We’re very disappointed. We’re going to move on and move to a higher ground.”
Smith found out about the penalty at 7:48 a.m. via e-mail on the way to Gee’s house for a previously scheduled meeting.
“Thank God I parked,” Smith said. “I was livid.”
Gee said the meeting included Smith, the consultant Chuck Smrt and the university lawyer Chris Culley. After about a half-hour discussion, he said they made the decision to not appeal. Gee admitted that the university mishandled the investigation early on but said he was satisfied with the result.
In this article, Sports Illustrated‘s Stewart Mandel discusses how the Ohio State case could set precedent for future program penalties:
As soon as the news trickled out Tuesday that the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions had dealt Ohio State a one-year postseason ban for its booster- and tattoo-related infractions, people began asking the obvious next question(s).
What does this mean for Miami? Oregon? Penn State? North Carolina? Or any other school currently awaiting NCAA sentencing?
Maybe, just maybe, we can take an educated stab at what they’ll decide.
• North Carolina: If any program’s fans should be shaking after Tuesday’s ruling, it’s the Tar Heels’. UNC went before the Committee in October, and its verdict is expected shortly. When its Notice of Allegations came out this summer, fans hung their hopes for a lenient sentence on the following facts: 1) It avoided the dreaded Lack of Institutional Control charge, receiving Failure to Monitor instead; and 2) The school was proactive, suspending players itself as soon as allegations of misconduct arose prior to the 2010 season.
Well, Ohio State was also charged with Failure to Monitor. It self-reported every violation in Tuesday’s report, preemptively fired Tressel, disassociated Pryor and DiGeronimo and self-imposed several penalties — and still it got hit with a bowl ban. North Carolina should expect even worse, considering its case is wider in scope and involves two of the NCAA’s biggest no-nos — academic fraud and agent violations. I’d expect a two-year bowl ban and at least one docked scholarship for every player who received impermissible benefits or improper academic help.
• Miami: It could be a year or more before this investigation concludes. From the beginning, Miami’s fate would depend less on rogue booster Nevin Shapiro’s misdeeds and more on how much culpability, if any, the NCAA pegs on school employees. Yahoo!’s original report contends that several assistant coaches steered recruits to Shapiro, and that Shapiro nearly came to blows with the program’s compliance director in 2007, which sure seems like a red flag.
If any or all prove true, Miami is likely looking at USC-level sanctions. Remember, the NCAA hung that school based almost entirely on its belief that running backs coach Todd McNair knew of ex-con Lloyd Lake’s relationship with Bush and didn’t stop it. Shaprio also fits closely the profile of DiGeronimo in terms of his access to the program. The Committee faulted Ohio State for failing to more closely monitor DiGeronimo, and he’s only accused of handing out a few hundred dollars to a handful of players, not eight years spent showering 72 athletes with benefits. And Miami, like Ohio State, is considered a repeat violator. There’s no Jim Tressel smoking gun e-mail here that we know of, but if the NCAA determines even one staff member knew of Shapiro’s activities and didn’t do anything, Miami’s penalties will go far beyond those of Ohio State’s.
For another great read on this topic you can click here for Pre-Snap Read’s ‘Disconnect Between 2 N.C.A.A. Rulings’.
Scenario A: One player at a B.C.S. conference program accepts wide-ranging impermissible benefits. In response, the N.C.A.A. docks this program 30 scholarships over the following three years and a two-year postseason ban.
Scenario B: Multiple players accept impermissible benefits at another B.C.S. conference program. In addition, it is discovered that the school’s head coach not only had knowledge of the rule breaking but denied all such knowledge – covered up the information, even. For that, the N.C.A.A. docks the program nine scholarships over the following three years with a one-year postseason ban.
This isn’t about U.S.C., and it’s not about Ohio State. It’s about the N.C.A.A., the governing body of collegiate athletics, which continues to rule arbitrarily – sometimes with an iron fist, sometimes with a slap on the wrist, and often with little sense of precedence whatsoever – when meting out penalties to those universities that flaunt the N.C.A.A. rule book.
This was an opportunity for the N.C.A.A.’s infractions committee, which could have followed up its hammer-drop on the Trojans with a similarly strong ruling on Ohio State’s own malfeasances. Say what you will about the differing levels in each case: at least the N.C.A.A., with a strong decision, would have been consistent.