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: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: July 9, 2011 3:33 am

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

To epozz and the like... Punish yes, crucify no.  If the NCAA goes too far, the BigTen might revolt. The PAC didn't because there wasn't any mention of it at the time. However, is it Delaney of Michigan that thinks maybe remaining in the NCAA is not the only option for the BIGBOYS? I really don't think his idea is going anywhere, but if the NCAA really tries to destroy Ohio St., I don't know. Maybe certain schools just form together under another association and write their own rules of punishment and obviously what is allowed and what isn't as far as compensation for players. As long a shot as it is, just think if the BigTen and Pac 12 decided together to give the NCAA the boot. I'm afraid as strange as it sounds, the mighty SEC would have to follow suit. You cannot hope to get your share of the talent if someone else is legitimately offering more than you are.

Since: Jul 8, 2011
Posted on: July 9, 2011 12:33 am

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

Yeah right... get up off your knees Bucknuts.. you're a goin down! Tressel and his overseer liars are all going to be out of work by the time this thing gets done... The biggest problem is that the scum at tOSU lied and covered up all the while letting their kids break the rules. They lied, they intentionally decieved the ncaa and that is going to get them hung! No wonder Pryor made for the pier before the ship burns to the ground! The violations that caused the sanctions at USC were miniscule compared to what the Buckeyes are going to be sanctioned for!

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:46 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

Boys, money talks...Buckeyes walk with scholorships and MAYBE a bowl ban. They make the NCAA WAAAAAY TOO MUCH MONEY to bone like that.

Since: Mar 9, 2011
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:17 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

the fact that the authors think gene smith was reading jim tressel's emails is ludicrous, as is the fact that you think ohio state is worse than usc.  show up with a lack of institutional control allegation before we even get into the same ballpark.  sorry but your deepest hidden fantasy will not come true.

Since: Jul 8, 2011
Posted on: July 8, 2011 7:15 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

@TF... SAY WHAT? 10 scholorships and a 2yr ban? GET REAL... tOSU deliberate violations were at minimum triple the violations that USC was hammered for!

Reasonable for me would be losing 40+ scholorships over 4-5yrs,  being allowed only a max of 75 scholorships per any year during the sanctions.. No post season participation and all players from redshirt freshmen through senior, the ability to freely transfer to any school without penalty.. just as was given USC! The Buckeye wins during the time of the violations should also be vacated!
The crux of USC's sanctions were for lacking institutional control, in tOSU case they deliberately lied to the ncaa and covered up everything! They specifically misled the ncaa with their violations. 
When USC was hammered because the parents of Reggie Bush cut a private housing deal 130+ miles from the campus, with two totally un-associated people (ex cons btw).. strictly non associated with the program, and behind the backs of the football administration they got clobbered by the ncaa.. The Bucks should get hit with significantly worse sanctions that USC! Anything less would really make the ncaa look foolish and more inept than they already are!  

I believe the ncaa is nothing above a bunch of self serving fatcats.. Congress should pour sugar in their gas tanks!

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: July 8, 2011 6:46 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

I think that the NCAA and its punishment arm the COI need to seriously look at imposing the death penalty on OSU. Notice how I said "look at". What they need to do is something that will ensure that these Powerhouses of NCAA College Football realize that breaking the rules will no longer be tolerated. If the NCAA wants to change the rules then so be it, but until that happens, they need to hammer tOSU, just like they did to USC. Until that happens, they will be a laughingstock. They will also never be respected by any of the other schools who cheat. The sooner that they NCAA and COI start to level heavy punishments on these schools, the sooner they can get back to the business of putting a great product out on the field. I think that, as Jerry and Tom pointed out up above in the article, that a 10 scholarship forfeiture, 2 year postseason ban, and a show cause for Tressel are the least that they can do to put the hammer down. And if Michigan and Rich Rod are found to have broke the rules, then they should also get hammered, just like any schools from the SEC, Big 12, ACC, Big East, Pac-10, Big 10, WAC, MWAC, Sun Belt, or any other conferences I may have missed in addition to any of the other NCAA schools in any other conference or classification. Boosters beware, cheating can cause a lot more problems for your school when they/you get caught, so you "friends of the program" beware. Unless you want your school to suffer harsh consequences, quit enabling these young men to cheat and have the desire to cheat. I'm out of here!

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 8, 2011 5:00 pm

Mini-roundtable: On OSU's 'punishment'

I wouldn't be opposed to seeing the death penalty used. Ohio State blatantly broke the rules and laughed in the NCAA's face the whole way. But a postseason ban is no big deal. If the NCAA wants to show teeth without using the death penalty, they have a simple solution: Ban the Buckeyes from television for a year and deny them their cut of the Big Ten's football TV money for that season. Instead, the Big Ten's television money will be divided 11 ways instead of 12.

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