Posted by Adam Jacobi
Last week, Ohio State suspended RB Jordan Hall, CB Travis Howard and S Corey Brown for the Akron game after learning the three players had accepted $200 for their presence at a Cleveland charity event. Ohio State expected its three suspended players to be reinstated by the NCAA for this week's game at Toledo following the conclusion of the NCAA's investigation.
Problem: the NCAA never agreed to a one-game suspension. As a result, all three players will be sitting out their second straight game.
The three Ohio State University football players suspended for last week's game have not been reinstated by the NCAA and will not participate in the game Saturday against the University of Toledo. The university continues to work with the NCAA on the reinstatement process and is hopeful that the student-athletes will be reinstated soon. The university will have no further comment.
On its face, this appears to run counter to the NCAA's speedy reinstatement of several suspended Miami players who had accepted much more than $200 from disgraced booster Nevin Shapiro. The problem for Ohio State is that this is more than an issue of just punishment; the NCAA is not satisfied with the results of its investigation, and the fact that the three players gave conflicting reports to officials and investigators about why they were at the fundraiser and who paid them cannot possibly help their case for an expedited reinstatement.
To that end, here is the official statement from the NCAA (emphasis ours):
Contrary to recent media reports, Ohio State football student-athletes Corey Brown, Jordan Hall and Travis Howard are not cleared to compete in the game on Saturday with University of Toledo. The nature and scope of their violations merit a minimum two-game suspension. In addition, the facts submitted by the university have raised further questions that need to be answered before the reinstatement process is complete.
Two of the three suspended players named a former Buckeye as the source of the money, and the third named a "representative of athletics interests." All names were redacted by Ohio State on the documents acquired by the Columbus Dispatch.
It is strange that we live in a world where athletes in a multi-billion dollar sport/industry can be taken out of competition for something as insignificant as accepting a $200 gift, and it's been made clear recently that Ohio State has a few boosters who don't have much respect for those rules, but they are still the rules. So as long as giving money to players is still illegal, as long as the NCAA's sniffing around Columbus because of previous violations, and as long as the NCAA won't reinstate players who are being evasive with an investigation, it strongly behooves everybody involved with the Ohio State program to follow the NCAA's rules to a T. To do anything less is demonstrably harmful to the program, and it's strange that so many people around the team -- from Jim Tressel to everyone else who evidently wants to give these players an extra little something -- don't seem to realize this.