Posted by Adam Jacobi
Urban Meyer may have high hopes for his first season at Ohio State in 2012, but his team's first appearance in the postseason is going to have to wait until 2013 at the earliest. Ohio State has been given a one-year postseason ban, effective next year, by the NCAA. The NCAA also found Ohio State's offer of giving up five scholarships over three years inadequate, and will require that the Buckeyes give up a total of nine scholarships over that period instead.
The sanctions stem from a litany of NCAA violations committed by various Buckeyes and ousted head coach Jim Tressel. Terrelle Pryor was one of the worst offenders, repeatedly receiving impermissible benefits and allegedly participating in a system where he traded signed memorabilia for free tattoos, and DeVier Posey was suspended for a total of 10 games in 2011 for multiple instances of receiving impermissible benefits.
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Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith had said previously that he didn't anticipate a bowl ban for Ohio State, and Meyer told reporters after being hired that he had received "extremely positive feedback" about OSU's prospects before the NCAA.
Tressel was also given a five-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA. The "show-cause" label means that the NCAA considers Tressel a serious offender, and any NCAA school interested in employing Tressel must show why it does not deserve sanctions for doing so. The five-year sanction effectively ends Tressel's coaching career in the collegiate ranks.
Tressel's decision not to inform the NCAA of the violations once he learned of them played heavily into the decision to hit him with such a heavy penalty.
"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 NCAA said in its report.
Tressel is now a game-day consultant for the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL.
Smith said in a statement that Ohio State would not contest the NCAA's ruling.
“We are surprised and disappointed with the NCAA’s decision,” said Smith. “However, we have decided not to appeal the decision because we need to move forward as an institution. We recognize that this is a challenging time in intercollegiate athletics. Institutions of higher education must move to higher ground, and Ohio State embraces its leadership responsibilities and affirms its long-standing commitment to excellence in education and integrity in all it does.
“My primary concern, as always, is for our students, and this decision punishes future students for the actions of others in the past,” said Smith. “Knowing our student-athletes, however, I have no doubt in their capacity to turn this into something positive – for themselves and for the institution. I am grateful to our entire Buckeye community for their continued support.”
Urban Meyer also released a statement that was even more forward-looking than Smith's.
“I agreed to become the Head Football Coach at The Ohio State University because Shelley and I are Ohio natives, I am a graduate of this wonderful institution and served in this program under a great coach. I understand the academic and athletic traditions here and will give great effort to continue those traditions.
“It is still my goal to hire excellent coaches, recruit great student-athletes who want to be a part of this program and to win on and off the field. The NCAA penalties will serve as a reminder that the college experience does not include the behavior that led to these penalties. I expect all of us to work hard to teach and develop young student-athletes to grow responsibly and to become productive citizens in their communities upon graduation.”