Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 12/21/11

On Tuesday, the NCAA rendered their decision on the Ohio State football program almost a year after their investigation began about the rule violations that had occurred under former head coach Jim Tressel.

The NCAA decided to cite Ohio State “for failure to monitor, preferential treatment and extra benefit violations,” which got them a postseason ban for one year. Not only will they not be allowed to participate in postseason play next season (including Big Ten championship game) but the NCAA also slapped them some additional penalties as well. Ohio State was placed on three years’ probation and a must give up nine scholarships in that amount of time.

People surrounding the Ohio State football program were stunned that they got such a harsh penalty, but with their history of breaking the rules they received the proper punishment.

* – Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor photo credit: Bleacher Report

Ohio State Infractions

Here is part of the NCAA report that that illustrates some of the infractions by Ohio State (a complete transcript of the NCAA public infractions report can be found here).

According to the facts of the case, eight football student-athletes received more than $14,000 in cash payments or preferential treatment from the owner of a Columbus, Ohio, tattoo parlor. 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 the former head coach concealed these NCAA violations when he was notified of the situation, which led to his unethical conduct finding.

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 the former head coach had at least four different 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.

Ohio State had realized that there had been some violations of NCAA rules and decided to give themselves a self-imposed punishment on their football program.  This self-imposed punishment included vacating all of their wins from 2010, including the Sugar Bowl, and two years of probation.  The only problem with Ohio State’s self-imposed punishment was that it did not include a postseason ban or loss in scholarships, which are key components for punishments that arise due to violating NCAA rules.

There were many violations of NCAA rules that occurred at Ohio State under Jim Tressel, and incidents go as far back as 2002 with Maurice Clarett. Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith also violated NCAA rules with his “$500 dollar handshake”, which got him suspended for the Alamo Bowl in 2004 and the first game of the season in 2005.

Proper Punishments

With the culture of violating NCAA rules that had surrounded the Ohio State football program, the NCAA issued the proper punishment for them. The sanctions might have been a bit harsh for Ohio State’s liking, but with their history of breaking the rules, they needed some type of action to prevent this from happening again.

There are numerous football programs that have made headlines by violating NCAA rules, and these stories have dominated the news over the past few years. This is a problem that has been plaguing college football, and the NCAA had to step in and make an example of a program.

Hopefully this incident will help continue to clean up college football, and hopefully players will think twice about their actions towards accepting improper gifts. Players, coaches, and boosters should now realize their actions can have major effect on a football program.

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