Blog Entry

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

Posted on: July 8, 2011 4:09 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:19 pm
By Jerry Hinnen and Tom Fornelli

Jerry Hinnen and Tom Fornelli of the Eye On College Football blog discuss Ohio State's decision to vacate wins from the 2010 season and the bus it has decided to drive over Jim Tressel.

Jerry Hinnen: The first question that comes to mind reading the Ohio State response to the NCAA is this, Tom: what part is most laughable? I feel like we've got so many options here. 

Tom Fornelli: Where to begin? There's a lot to mock here.

If anything, I'll just start with the entire concept of vacating wins in the first place. What does that even mean when you really get down to it? The Buckeyes no longer beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl? Well, Arkansas didn't beat Ohio State either. So did the Sugar Bowl just not happen, because I remember watching it. I mean, if you're going to vacate wins, it should just be a symbolic move to make along with other self-imposed sanctions you're making. It should not be the only punishment you're imposing on yourself.

Yeah, according to Ohio State's history books, that win over Arkansas never happened, but are they returning the money they got from the BCS for playing in the game? Nope. I mean, this is like if I were to rob a series of banks, and then one day the police caught me. Then, when they showed up at my door, I just screamed "I'm vacating the robberies! They never happened! Wipe them from the books! Oh, but I'm not giving the money back to the banks I no longer robbed."

It's a joke. 

JH: It is, and it would be a funny one if one of the nation's largest universities and most respected football program's integrity weren't at stake. But for my money, the most jaw-dropping aspect is the school's treatment of Jim Tressel.

On the one hand, the response calls Tressel's actions "embarrassing" and claims he acted alone without any other Buckeye administration member aware of his decisions. Clearly, after the coddling Tressel received from Gordon Gee and Gene Smith in previous press conferences, the school is trying to distance itself from its former coach. He's smeared the institution's good name. He's a pariah. They've forced him to resign (after the part where he'd done it voluntarily).

Or, as it turns out, they've allowed him to retire with benefits, waived a $250,000 fine they'd previously sworn to collect, and paid him an extra $50,000 on top of that. OSU hates Tressel and everything he stands for ... except for the part where they've rewarded him for his loyalty with hundreds of thousands of dollars and a retirement in the school's good graces.

If you're the NCAA, where do you begin to make sense of this? Is there any way to interpret these kinds of actions other than a desperate hope the NCAA will pay attention only to what the response is saying, rather than what the program is actually doing?

TF: As far as the treatment of Tressel is concerned, if I'm the NCAA I'm not buying a single word of it. That is, unless they want to turn a blind eye to reality. How is anybody really supposed to believe that Tressel was doing any of this on his own after the way Ohio State has treated the entire situation?

I don't think paying the guy who you're blaming for everything is the move you make unless you really want him to go along with that stance. Let's be honest, Tressel is the fall guy here and now Gene Smith and Gordon Gee are doing everything they can to save their own behinds. If you think about it, though, no matter how this went down, is Gene Smith somebody who should survive all this?

He either knew about everything and is pretending he didn't -- he's vacating his memory -- or he really knew nothing! How can you argue that you should keep your job as an athletic director of a school when something of this scope is taking place under your very nose without you having a clue?

Ohio State just really doesn't seem to get it, or they're in a deep state of denial. The NCAA isn't going to see that the school has vacated it's wins from last season and move on. There will be scholarships lost, and there will be a postseason bowl ban for a year or two. It's not fair to the players on the team or whichever coach eventually takes over for Tressel, but unfortunately for Ohio State, the NCAA knows that you can't just erase the past and fix things.

JH: We're assuming they do. Since we're discussing the NCAA's Committee on Infractions here, there's no way to know exactly what they're going to do until they do it. Precedents mean nothing and logic is frequently tossed aside like so many babies in so much bathwater.

But if the COI ever wants to be taken seriously, rubber-stamping OSU's self-imposed "punishment" and giving the Buckeyes a pat on the head just can't be an option. Without subpoena power, the only thing standing between the NCAA and utter investigative helplessness is honesty and cooperation from those involved. What it got instead from from OSU was Tressel lying through his teeth with Gee and Smith nodding genially at his side. The NCAA tried to be lenient with the Buckeyes once already--and was repaid with a sham of a Sugar Bowl and a carton's worth of egg on its face for its troubles.

And now OSU wants to pin the entire thing on the coach it enabled at every step (up to and including the pillow-laden step right out the door), expecting the NCAA to look at its meaningless dabbles in the history books and declare "OK, we're cool." Judging from the sledgehammer dropped on USC, I'll be beyond stunned if the NCAA is feeling very cool at all.

TF: Agreed. Any predictions on what the NCAA adds if anything? Personally I'm thinking around 10 scholarships and a two-year postseason ban.

JH: Sounds about right--plus a show-cause order for Tressel. His college football coaching career is over.

Since: Jul 10, 2011
Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:11 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

rEMEMBER OSU is currently on NCAA probation for previously being found guilty.  LOIC clearly a valid point of review here.  Evidence that some of the violations have been going on for years, another LOIC.  Reported themselves to the NCAA, a joke, No Bowl games for 2-5years, no TV for2-5 years, loss of 40 scholarships(10 per year) effective immediately.  Erase the scam that USCV is currently using to stockpile athletes.

Assistant coaches must provide proof that they were  not involved in these investigations to remain employed

Since: Jan 28, 2008
Posted on: July 10, 2011 10:05 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

Chazmonk...the only idiot tool here is you.  They did not get hit for failure to monitor because the NCAA did not level punishment yet.  Indeed they will be hit for failure to monitor as the coaching staff had knowledge of the infractions and still allowed ineligibles to play.  Just like USC.  Is there something you are missing here?  OSU was only going to suspend Tressel for 5 games and the same for Pryor.  Low and behold, some brilliant mother in the AD's Compliance office figured out that the NCAA was going to be looking for more than that.

Taking games from yourself when the governing body is going to do it anyway, is not punishment at all.  Get ready...because unlike USC, they actually have email evidence of OSU's knowledge.  Kiss some scholorships goodbye isn't about the money it is abut a program out of control (no oversight).  One more thing you moron...why would OSU bring in a coach with a history of infractions at Youngstown.  By the way they (the university and Tressel) tried to sweep it under the rug there and he killed that program too.  Thus the only conclusion one can draw, is that you are a homer and a moron to boot!  Poor argument dude.

Since: Apr 1, 2007
Posted on: July 10, 2011 5:04 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

What a bunch of foolish, crying diatribe; by the authors and the commentors here.  Really.  Read the letter of infractions sent by the NCAA to OSU you tools.  Look at precedent; OSU did exactly what they should have done.  Why in the hell would any school shoot themselves in the foot and impose punishments that didn't fit the crimes.

OSU self reposted ALL of this; USC did not. OSU has cooperated FULLY since the beginning. They did not get hit with Failure to Monitor or LOIC.  It's OK, take some time and read that again, very slowly.  I'll wait....  So, if you are being honest (and I  laugh when I type this), then the self imposed penalties do indeed fit the crime.  Good God, I know you will all howl at that, but the problem is all of these so-called journalists at this site and the idiots at SI and ESPN have filled your heads with the same shiite over and over and over again. 

OSU has just become the scapegoat for college football and everyone is still jumping on.  What will you all do when Oregon and Auburn get crushed after the NCAA investigates them?  Don't answer, because I know the howling directed at OSU will continue. 

One more time for you reading impaired:  OSU will not get hammered and I know it will cause you all some pain.  At the very most, some schollies will be lost but that is it, and that is a stretch.  Our coach failed to report an anonymous email about some players goods showing up at a tatoo parlor, the players were suspended, the coach is gone and the NCAA's letter failed to mention anything more than that. 

What will you all do when this is over and OSU is playing in a bowl game?  I can only wait with anticipation for what these hacks will write then. 

Since: Jul 10, 2011
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:56 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

Although both the USC and OSU cases involved ineligible star players, the key distinction between these cases is that, unlike USC, OSU currently isn’t being charged with a failure to monitor or lack of institutional control.  Because the NCAA is a private association of its member universities rather than a governmental agency with subpoena powers, it necessarily depends on its members’ internal monitoring and compliance to enforce its rules.  Although a (former) coach’s failure to report known potential rules violations and to permit ineligible players to play, a failure to monitor or lack of institutional control are more serious offenses that have resulted in harsh sanctions, including lost scholarships and bans of postseason play. There also are no allegations of either improper recruiting inducements or academic fraud. OSU prompt investigation, reporting, and cooperation are important mitigating factors that will be considered by the Infractions Committee (and Infractions Appeals Committee if an appeal is necessary). I would add that both OSU and Jim Tressel are well represented by attorneys very familiar with the NCAA rules enforcement process.  Unless the NCAA adds new charges or evidence of additional rules violations is presented at the August hearing, a ban on postseason play is unlikely, although OSU may lose some football scholarships. It's important to keep everything in proper perspective--although this is a serious offense, it is not a capital offense. There are more serious violations committed daily (and on a regular basis) by many NCAA institutions.

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: July 9, 2011 10:34 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

 There is a huge black hole in the entire discussion.  Ohio State was on probation when all of the infractions relating to Talbott began.  And no, it's not plausible that only Jim Tressell knew about the violations.  They also allowed the trips to the tatoo parlor to continue, even with the NCAA on it's way for a visit.

A 3 year bowl ban should be the minimum bowl ban, with at least 15 scholarships lost for those 3 years.  Plus they should have to return any proceeds from the I didn't do it, he did it bowl.

Bring down the hammer, or lose effective control over the top programs.  They will only continue to cheat if the punishment doesn't provide sufficient deterent.  The self sanctions are a joke.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: July 9, 2011 8:15 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

This is a reasonable discussion of the COI's expected position except for one huge omission. That us the COI can and should quietly let OSU know that the decision on sanctions will be swayed if both Smith and Gee are retired as well. Neither can continue to have any credibility with the NCAA. Neither can be trusted with future issues and violations. Both have to go.

Of course the COI cannot force those resignations. But they can administer a more severe penalty. Ever since SMU was shit down for a year the recruiting violations and rule violations have mushroomed. Clearly that message was insufficient. So the hammer to hold over the head of OSU was keep your AD and your President and live with a one year football total ban. Remove those two and receive a two year post-season ban (including a conference championship game).

Will this scenario come to pass? Not likely. Remember that this is the same Gene Smith that chaired the NCAA tournament selection committee. He is in too deep with the NCAA brass to be punished. And that is sad. The future of OSU football just might depend on a new AD.

Since: Nov 5, 2007
Posted on: July 9, 2011 2:04 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

Gentlemen, this isn't about the SEC, or the Big 10, or USC. It isn't about who your a fan of. This is about the dirtiest coach that has been allowed to roam the sidelines. and the people that allowed him to. This is about an NCAA that apparently can't base decisions on it's own precedences. Both of them are currently a sham. Tressel has a history of cheating that goes back as far as Youngstown State and we have no reason to believe he acted any different form the MOMENT he arrived at OSU. That is not guesswork, that is a documented fact. The NCAA has a history of irrational decisions that are apparently not based on anything. Their decisions relative to the suspensions of OSU players but allowing them to play in a bowl game, the Cam Newton situation, the USC/Reggie Bush situation, the situation at Georgia, and so on, all don't make sense when they are compared to each other. Many don't make sense all by themselves. So I ask you, with two organizations involved with this baggage, how can we expect anything but a totally stupid resolution?

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: July 9, 2011 11:17 am

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

I would hate to be a USC fan. They get hit pretty darn hard, and all OSU walks out of here is with... nothing.

Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: July 9, 2011 10:21 am

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

It's almost hard to watch the foolishness that is unfolding.  You can almost here the lawyers behind the scenes, directing traffic...."OK, here's what you say and don't say".  And Tressel continues to amaze.  We actually used to respect Tressel, and now it would appear that he "pressured" the university to pay up for shut up.  He must have some good info he would have loved to have shared, to get Gee to pay up and reverse his "fine". 

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: July 9, 2011 9:03 am

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

First of all, the Big 10 is not going to revolt.  Delany does not have the cajones to do that.  The Big 10 would be worthless without the rest of the NCAA, who consistantly beats up on the Big 10 in Bowl Games.  The Big 10 does what it is told to do.  Do not let Delany fool you.  As far as Ohio State's punishment, most agree that it will be the same as USC's punishment.  That means a two year ban from post season play, and the loss of 30 scholarships over a three year period.  It could be worse, because Ohio State is so arrogant about the whole process.  Their "self imposed" penalties are nothing more than a joke.  With the NCAA looking to drop the hammer big time on someone, Ohio State just jumped to the top of the list.  Tressel ran a dirty program from day 1 at Ohio State.  He did it at Youngstown State.   If what Ohio State claims is true, and no one else had any knowledge of what was going on, they still exibited a "lack of institutional control" by allowing this to happen.  Ofcourse what Ohio State is saying is  a blatent lie.  Smith is just trying to save his worthless tail.  THE Ohio State is going to get THEIR a**es kicked by the NCAA, much the same way that they do when they play the SEC, and USC.

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