Tag:Ohio State Investigation
Posted on: April 25, 2011 10:19 am
Edited on: April 25, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Report: NCAA hands OSU "notice of allegations"

Posted by Chip Patterson

As Ohio State prepares for an eventual ruling from the NCAA regarding knowledge of players receiving improper benefits, college football's governing body issued the school an official "Notice of Allegations" letter on Monday.  The document detailed the potential violations committed both by the football program and individually by head coach Jim Tressel.  The Columbus Dispatch, which also received a copy of the letter, reported that Ohio State could face "the most severe NCAA penalties to its storied football program."

The official wording in the letter was that the Buckeyes, and Tressel in particular, faced charges that are being considered "potential major violations."  The 13-page document also points a very stern finger at the iconic head coach, claiming Tressel "permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible" and declaring that he "failed to deport himself ... (with) honesty and integrity".  That last "honesty" part is where things get particularly difficult for Tressel, who signed and dated a compliance form last September that acknowledged he was unaware any possible NCAA violations.  

As more details continue to be released from the NCAA investigation as well as efforts by the local media, that "honesty" bit gets tougher for Tressel.  Earlier Monday the Dispatch reported the findings from an email request that reveal much more contact between the head coach and other people involved in the accusations.  University president Gordon Gee, athletic director Gene Smith, and most importantly Ohio State's compliance office, were not included in the series of phone calls and emails around the time of Tressel receiving the tip.

The trouble began for the Buckeyes' head coach when he received an email from a former Ohio State player and current Columbus lawyer, Christopher Cicero. Cicero informed Tressel that a Federal raid of a local tattoo parlor turned up several thousands of dollars worth of Ohio State memorabillia.  Tressel responded to the lawyer that he would "get on it ASAP," and then proceeded to contact Ted Sarniak - a local Pennsylvania businessman and advisor/mentor to Terrelle Pryor.  

The notice from the NCAA did say the case is closed against the five players who exchanged memorabillia for cash, free/discounted tattoos, and discounts/loans towards the purchase of a used vehicle. The NCAA has said that the players (Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas and Jordan Whiting) will not face further punishment. They have been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season.  However, the program could still receive punishment for fielding ineligible players, and obviously Tressel faces much more serious charges invidually.

Another thing that the letter included was a notice that Ohio State could be treated as a repeat-offender by the NCAA because of violations stemming from Troy Smith and former basketball coach Jim O'Brien.  Both instances involved improper benefits as well, however neither was damning enough to warrant severe punishment by itself.  If the Buckeyes' program is treated as a repeat offender, they could be looking at the possibility of a postseason ban or the loss of scholarships.

The one piece of good news for Ohio State fans fearful of the future is the lack of the phrase "institutional control."  Those phrases, which normally lead to violations with the harshest penalties, are designed for programs which have insufficient compliance offices.  For a program like Ohio State to get hit with such a violations would rock the college football world, but thankfully for their fans and alumni it looks like they will dodge that bullet.

READ MORE: CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd asks "What's next for Ohio State?"

Click here for the full "Notice of Allegations" from the NCAA to Ohio State President Gordon Gee [via Columbus Dispatch]

Keep it here at CBSSports.com and the Eye on College Football for more on the Ohio State investigation as it develops. 



Posted on: March 31, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Oregon St. president: Tressel 'beyond the pale'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Oregon State president Ed Ray is in something of a unique position when it comes to the Jim Tressel brouhaha at Ohio State. As a former vice president and provost in Columbus, Ray was one of the Buckeye officials who hired Tressel away from Youngstown State and knows Tressel personally. But as the current president of the NCAA's Executive Committee (the committee which oversees changes to NCAA's byzantine rulebook and bylaws), he's also heavily invested in seeing the NCAA's standards and rules upheld.

So it carries more than the usual weight when Ray opens both barrels on Tressel in an interview today with the Oregonian:
"I just thought the world of him ... " Ray said. "I would assume he's certainly been a very positive influence on many of the players that he had. But this whole episode to me is beyond the pale. It's totally unacceptable ..."

The NCAA has not yet ruled on Tressel's transgression, and Ray emphasized that he was speaking for himself only. But on how NCAA enforcement officials might view Tressel's case, Ray said, "If I were in their position, I'd be a hanging judge."

He continued: "I think there are lines you don't cross in your own life.... I'm not a big mercy guy. I'm not a big understander of extenuating circumstances. We all sort of engage in thinking about situational ethics. But I'm kinda old-school. And I think you're either ethical or you're not ethical."
As Ray himself points out, his opinion is not necessarily an opinion shared by the NCAA colleagues who will ultimately decide Tressel's punishment fate. And Ray's personal disappointment with a man he clearly respected a great deal is also likely coloring his remarks.

With that said, Ray also remains representative of the type of academically-focused officials who populate the NCAA and will be on the committee reviewing the Tressel case. If his response to Tressel's transgressions are even remotely similar to those shared across the NCAA, that five-game suspension could be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: March 25, 2011 2:17 pm
 

Report: Tressel sent emails to Pryor's mentor

Posted by Chip Patterson

With the NCAA investigation into Ohio State and head coach Jim Tressel still unresolved, the local media is bound to do some further digging on the topic.  As we saw this past season in the high-profile cases of Auburn and North Carolina, the paper trail can reveal much more about the situation at hand, or in some cases misdirect the focus of violations in the first place.  For Ohio State, this bit of information may raise more questions than it answers.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that when Tressel received the famous emails of warning regarding his players selling memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor, he forwarded them to a man close to star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.  Ted Sarniak, 67, is described as "a prominent businessman in Pryor's hometown of Jeanette, Pa."  Sarniak has acted as Pryor's mentor and advisor since high school, and reportedly was the recipient of the warning emails when they were forwarded by Tressel.  

In the news conference to announce the violations against Tressel, the coach nodded when asked if he had forwarded the emails.  He was quickly cut short by athletic director Gene Smith, and has maintained that the reason he kept the information to himself was to protect his players and the confidentiality of the federal investigation against the owner of the tattoo parlor.  Tressel apologized profusely, and has since received a five game suspension as punishment for keeping the information from the university and the NCAA.

But the report also raises questions about Sarniak, and his relationship with Pryor/Tressel/Ohio State.  Of all people involved with the Ohio State football program, why would Tressel choose to inform Pryor's 67-year-old mentor on the issue rather than Pryor's family.  Ohio State has not turned over any email records as of yet, but compliance director Doug Archie was quick to erase any doubts regarding Pryor's relationship with Sarniak.

"Mr. Sarniak and Terrelle Pryor have been friends for a number of years, and their friendship dates back prior to Terrelle's enrollment at Ohio State," Archie said in an email to The Dispatch. "As the friendship developed, Mr. Sarniak is someone who Terrelle has reached out to for advice and guidance throughout his high-school and collegiate career."

When the NCAA investigation concludes, Tressel's five-game suspension and $250,000 fine could be upheld or increased.  A big-name program like Ohio State would prefer that the investigation move quickly, so that the media attention can focus on football rather than independent investigation.  Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, the NCAA has a tendency to take their time with these matters.  

Stay tuned to CBSSports.com for more on the Ohio State NCAA Investigation

Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:13 pm
 

Brady Hoke calls Tressel 'a good man'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's been nearly 48 hours since Yahoo's story about Jim Tressel covering up Ohio State violations first broke, and I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with the reaction of Michigan fans everywhere. I've found that when you have no dog in the fight, watching two fan bases go at each other, particularly ones in a rivalry as fierce as that of Ohio State and Michigan, is some of the finest entertainment on this series of tubes we call the internet.

As I scour the internet today, though, there's a surprising lack of "LOL" coming from the Michigan side of the rivalry. I mean, considering all the fun Ohio State fans had with Rich Rodriguez, who only made his players practice more than they should, and was labeled a cheater, isn't this when Michigan fans should be unleashing hell upon Buckeyes everywhere?

Making matters worse, there's this quote from new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke.

"[Jim Tressel's] a good man, and I have a lot of respect for him, and they'll fight through that situation, and it will have no effects on the rivalry," Hoke told the Detroit Free Press. "I've known Jim Tressel a long time. He's a quality guy, a doggone good football coach, and I don't know that situation," Hoke said. "I know what we're focused on at Michigan."
More on Ohio State investigation

He's a good man and a doggone good football coach? That's the best you have, Michigan? I know that Jim Tressel publicly supported Rich Rodriguez during his NCAA investigation, but I think we now know why The Sweatervest did that. Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and what not.

I mean, this is supposed to be one of the greatest rivalries in college sports, if not sport itself. You guys are slipping. This love-fest is giving the rivalry more of an Iowa-Purdue "we needed a rival for both these teams, so we gave them each other" feel.

Step it up, Big Blue.
Posted on: March 8, 2011 7:54 pm
 

Jim Tressel fined $250k, suspended 2 games

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Shortly before a press conference on Tuesday night, Ohio State announced some self-imposed penalties on head coach Jim Tressel in regards to Tressel's knowing about six Ohio State players selling memorabilia eight months before the school reported the case to the NCAA. Tressel will be fined $250,000 and suspended for the first two games of the 2011 season against Akron and Toledo.

Along with those penalties, Tressel will also be required to attend a 2011 NCAA Regional Rules seminar before September, and must review the "Protocol of Reporting Violations and bylaw 10.1 with the entire Ohio State staff on a quarterly basis through 2012.

Of course, these are just the penalties that Ohio State is imposing on Tressel, though the school said it has no plans on firing him -- in fact, President Gordon Gee said he's more worried Tressel would fire him -- and Tressel said at no time did the thought of resigning cross his mind. Still, the NCAA and possibly the Big Ten are yet to weigh in on the case. 

It's entirely possible that if/when they do, Tressel's punishment will be much more severe than what Ohio State has imposed.

As for the press conference, Tressel, Gee and athletic director Gene Smith said quite a bit without saying much of anything. The trio also refused to answer a lot of questions claiming that since the case was ongoing, they couldn't comment. Which, in the realm of public opinion, won't do Ohio State any favors.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 12:14 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 2:36 pm
 

A reminder: the Buckeye Five are coming back

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Columbus Dispatch issued a kind of update this morning on the appeals process with the "Buckeye Five," the five Ohio State players -- including star juniors Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey and Daniel "Boom" Herron -- suspended by the NCAA for the first five games of 2011 for receiving improper benefits at a Columbus tattoo parlor (among other offenses). The appeal should begin soon, though based on the precedents set by the NCAA when reviewing similar appeals last season, it seems unlikely any of the five will have their suspensions reduced.

But the simple fact that the appeal is moving forward as planned, even after the deadline for early draft declarations, means it's worth making note of another fact: all five suspended players will return for their senior seasons.

That's not an insignificant deal. Yes, all five players reportedly promised Jim Tressel they'd return before getting the controversial OK to play in the Sugar Bowl, but it's one thing to make that promise. It's another to keep it with hundreds of thousands of dollars available in the draft and a five-game suspension waiting on the other side of the offseason.

Obviously, it's terrific news for the Buckeyes, who with their Pryor-Herron-Posey "triplets" intact should be able to make a run at yet another Big Ten championship down the 2011 stretch. But it's also a huge rebuttal to the many, many critics of the NCAA's (and Tressel's) decision to allow the players to play in the bowl game. Much of that criticism was centered around the assumption that faced with the suspensions, many of the Buckeye Five would simply declare for the draft instead, thereby avoiding punishment altogether.

We know now that's not going to happen. Pryor, Posey and Herron will "do their time," so to speak. The NCAA's form of justice, whatever you think of it, will be served.

There are still valid reasons to criticize the NCAA and Tressel for allowing the Buckeye Five to take the field in New Orleans. But "they won't get punished at all" is no longer one of them, and as frequently as that charge was levied in December, more than a few critics owe the parties involved here a retraction.

HT: DocSat .


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com