Blog Entry

Will Ohio State avoid a postseason ban?

Posted on: April 26, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 12:27 pm
 
Was Ohio State cut a break in its notice of allegations from the NCAA? So much so that the school may avoid a postseason ban in the Jim Tressel case?

Draw your own conclusions from these conclusions: While the 15-page NOA delivered last week seems fairly damning, it does not contain the NCAA's scarlet letter designations -- "failure to monitor" or "lack of institutional control". In most cases, the allegations are made by the enforcement staff in the NOA. Either can be added by the committee on infractions in the penalty phase but that is a rarer occurence. Despite the depth and scope of Tresselgate neither were included in regards to Ohio State. 

Failure to monitor is more specific in terms of points of oversight in a specific area of the athletic department. Lack of institutional control says there is little or no oversight in general regarding a case. Go to the front of the NCAA Manual. The "Principle of Institutional Control" reads like the opening sentences of the Book of Genesis. [Emphasis added}

"It is the responsibility of each member institution to control its intercollegiate athletics program in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Association. The institution’s president or chancellor is responsible for the administration of all aspects of the athletics program, including approval of the budget and audit of all expenditures.

"The institution’s responsibility for the conduct of its intercollegiate athletics program includes responsibility for the actions of its staff members and for the actions of any other individual or organization engaged in activities promoting the athletics interests of the institution."

Merely taking into account the information in the NOA, it's hard to believe that Ohio State didn't get lack of institutional control. Its head coach lied and systematically circumvented the system by hiding damaging emails. I've said this in the past but this case comes down to the following: A 67-year old businessman in western Pennsylvania knew that Terrelle Pryor's name had popped up in a federal drug trafficking investigation before either the Ohio State AD or president


That's bad enough. What a lot of folks have forgotten is the beginning of this case. Part of the reason those Ohio State players were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl was they "did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred," according to the NCAA. Once they got that rules education, another game was added (for a total of five) to the players' suspensions that take effect this season.


So if you're like me, you're wondering how an athletic and compliance department that didn't educate its players on an extra benefit rule that is considered common sense in the industry, didn't get cited further by the NCAA. Ohio State AD Gene Smith threw his compliance department under the bus back in December saying the nine-member staff was "complicit" in the violations because they did not make the extra benefits rule clear to players. We can argue why Ohio State got a break for its players when it is assumed that everyone knows, or should know, you can't sell your memorabilia. The point now is, why didn't Ohio State at least get "failure to monitor" when the NOA was delivered last week? 


Both the NCAA and Smith called out the compliance department. That's a helluva place to start in assigning the scarlet letter.


An answer might be found in the manual. One of the presumptive penalties for a lack of institutional control violation is a postseason ban. It was described to me by a veteran of NCAA cases this way, "There is a higher presumption of a postseason ban," with a lack of institutional control. The manual states that a postseason ban is likely "particularly" when the violations reflect a lack of institutional control. There are almost always mitigating circumstances in these cases, but it seems by not citing Ohio State's oversight, a postseason ban is off the table. 


That doesn't necessarily mean Ohio State won't get a bowl ban. The NCAA alleges in the NOA that Ohio State is a repeat violator, meaning that it has committed another major violation within the allowed five-year window. While OSU won't get the death penalty -- one of the possible penalties for being a repeat violator -- it could received enhanced penalties because of the repeat designation. Because of that, maybe the NCAA didn't feel it was necessary to allege lack of institutional control. The school already has hung itself for being a serial violator.


The case isn't over and who knows what will develop between now and when the penalties are released which, at the earliest, seem to be midseason? But if you read between the lines it seems that a postseason ban is unlikely. Think more in terms of at least two years probation, a vacation of wins from 2010 and perhaps some scholarships. The juiciest question, though, remains whether Tressel will coach again at Ohio State. Without answering that question at the moment, I will leave you with bylaw 11.1.2.1, "Responsibility of Head Coach".


"It shall be the responsibility of an institution’s head coach to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the program supervised by the coach and to monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches and other administrators involved with the program who report directly or indirectly to the coach." 


Category: NCAAF
Tags: NCAA, Ohio State
 
Comments

Since: May 11, 2009
Posted on: April 26, 2011 1:18 pm
 

Will Ohio State avoid a postseason ban?

Lol @ Gobucks taking Dodd's opinion as gospel. You do realize there are more writers that believe Ohio State will get hammered than won't, right?



Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: April 26, 2011 1:14 pm
 

Will Ohio State avoid a postseason ban?

Cry and the crying begins for the haters....



Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: April 26, 2011 1:13 pm
 

Will Ohio State avoid a postseason ban?

More of same.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  You would think Jim Tressel was a serial killer.  My guess is that Ohio State will -- and should -- continue to stand behind him.  One mistake on his stellar record.  Get over it.



Since: May 11, 2009
Posted on: April 26, 2011 1:13 pm
 

Will Ohio State avoid a postseason ban?

They won't avoid a postseason ban and they'll get the same punishment USC got.


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