Tag:NCAA Investigations
Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: April 27, 2011 10:25 am

Jim Tressel could lose $3.7M if fired

Posted by Chip Patterson

Ever since the release of the NCAA's Notice of Allegations to Ohio State, much of the focus of Tattoogate has shifted from the program and directly on head coach Jim Tressel.  The NCAA said Tressel "failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics" when he did not notify school officials of the possible violations associated with the tattoo parlor.  

The heat on Tressel has raised a question of whether he might be fired, or resign because of these new developments.  According to the Dayton Business Journal, Tressel getting fired or resigning could cost him $3.7 million a year.  Tressel is contracted at that salary through 2014, but the termination-for-cause provisions in his contract would release Ohio State from that financial responsibility.

According to a copy of his contract obtained by the Journal, one of the termination-for-cause provisions is "fraud or dishonesty in preparing, falsifying, submitting or altering documents or records of Ohio State, NCAA or the Big Ten."
More on the Ohio State investigation

After receiving information regarding possible violations and the tattoo parlor (not to mention forwarding the emails), Tressel knowingly signed a routine compliance form stating he was not aware of any possible violations.  If Ohio State is looking for a reason to get Tressel out, the "fraud or dishonesty" clause might be a good place to start.
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: April 20, 2011 11:33 am

Investigating Jim Tressel is expensive

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith did an interview with the AP this week about the only thing anybody would really want to talk to Gene Smith about these days: the NCAA investigation of Jim Tressel. Smith happily obliged, and while he didn't give a lot of new information, he did put some new information out there. Like the fact that the $250,000 the school fined Tressel isn't even going to cover the investigation currently being held into Tressel.

"It'll probably eat up the whole $250 (thousand)," Smith told the AP. "I'm not sure. We haven't done any projections."

Smith said that if that's indeed the case, the school will likely dip into the money it got from Ohio State's Sugar Bowl victory to foot the rest of the bill. Which is somewhat fitting since that's the game where this whole controversy involving five Ohio State players, including Terrelle Pryor, really took off. The players had all been suspended by the NCAA for selling their gold pants and other items, along with getting some free tattoos, yet were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl anyway.

Of course, since then, things have only gotten worse for Ohio State, as we found out that Tressel sat the information for months, as he found out about his players' deeds in April 2010. 

As for the disasterous press conference Ohio State held regarding Tressel after Yahoo! broke the story, the one in which school president Gordon Gee said he hoped Tressel "doesn't dismiss me," Smith said he wished things could have gone better. He also said he would have done a number of things differently, which anyone who saw the press conference can tell you, is not surprising. 

Smith also said that the cost of the current investigation is not the only thing he isn't sure of just yet as well. As far as when the investigation will be completed, Smith doesn't know when it will be resolved. "It's just hanging."

Posted on: April 14, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 4:17 pm

NCAA investigating Auburn's 'Tiger Prowl'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Another day, another NCAA investigation of Auburn

This time the NCAA is interested in Auburn's "Tiger Prowl." A practice that has since been ended, the Tiger Prowl started in 2009 as a way for Auburn coaches to get the school's name out there to high school football players across the state of Alabama. The coaches cruised around to various high schools during the spring evaluation period in stretch limo Hummer that first year, and ended up with a class that was ranked near the top nationally by just about every recruiting service. In fact, it was so successful, that in 2010 Auburn decided to ditch the Hummers and roll out in giant buses with Auburn-related images painted on the sides.

Seriously, it's getting to the point where I'm beginning to wonder whether or not the NCAA should just open an office on the Auburn campus for the sake of convenience. If this is the kind of attention that winning a national championship brings, then maybe those 9-3 seasons aren't so terrible after all.

The Tiger Prowl grabbed a lot of attention for Auburn, but unfortunately it also caught the eyes of the NCAA which now wants to know if the Tigers violated any rules while touring the state.

The Birmingham News made an open-records request to Auburn seeking documents related to any individual NCAA violations from last year's Tiger Prowl, the attention-grabbing recruiting practice that Auburn coaches used while traveling the state. Auburn denied the request, saying that Tiger Prowl is the subject of a "pending investigation" and that Alabama law therefore does not require release of the records at this time.

"The NCAA is not reviewing Tiger Prowl as individual violations. They are reviewing the entire event as a whole," Auburn Senior Associate Athletics Director Scott Carr wrote in response to The News' request. "Therefore, the investigative phase of this event is still on-going and we are currently working with the NCAA."

Auburn did not say what the NCAA is investigating in relation to Tiger Prowl. Auburn declined to comment further.

What could the NCAA possibly be looking for? Well, I don't think Auburn coaches were throwing money out the windows as they drove by, so odds are any violations found won't be major ones. Instead the NCAA is likely looking for more minor violations like Auburn allowing potential recruits on the bus or in the limos. There is also the "bump rule" the NCAA passed which basically says the only thing a coach can say to a player during the evaluation period is "hello." There is to be no talk of attending that coach's school, or whether or not the school in interested.

Really, in my opinion, this is nothing more than the NCAA trying to look under any rock that may be on the Auburn campus as they investigate other areas of the school's recruiting practices. While you're in town, you may as well be thorough.

Image via The Birmingham News

Posted on: April 13, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 3:47 pm

Auburn's Chaz Ramsey to meet with NCAA

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Former Auburn football player Chaz Ramsey was one of four former Tigers to recently appear on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" and allege that he received cash payments while playing at the school. As you'd expect, upon finding out about the story, the NCAA became pretty interested in finding out more. The NCAA has already spoken to another one of the players to appear on the show, Stanley McClover, and now it's Ramsey's turn.

According to The Birmingham News, Ramsey will be sitting down to speak with the NCAA next week.

Ramsey said today Auburn won't be represented at the NCAA interview and that the information he provides won't be disclosed to the school.

"I wouldn't like Auburn to be there," Ramsey said. "The NCAA wanted to talk to me, so the NCAA is going to talk to me."

When asked if he knows names of boosters or coaches who provided payments to Auburn players, Ramsey replied, "I may." He declined to elaborate.

Two weeks ago, Ramsey told The Birmingham News he received handshakes with $200 to $300 after at least three games in 2007. Ramsey said then that he did not know who the people were paying him or whether Auburn coaches knew of the payments. He said he later learned by talking to teammates that cash payments were "pretty much common knowledge."

Something tells me it's not good news for Auburn that Ramsey was hesitant to talk to the NCAA with the school present, but now that the school won't be there he's all right with it. Though I'm not sure what more there will be for Ramsey to tell the NCAA that he hasn't already told HBO or The Birmingham News. Perhaps he's ready to start naming names.

At the very least, the NCAA just wants to get Ramsey's comments on record as part of its investigation, and that won't be a good thing for Auburn once the NCAA is done. There is no word on whether or not Troy Reddick or Raven Gray have spoken with the NCAA, or whether either have plans to. I'm guessing if the NCAA has its way, both will.

Posted on: March 30, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 6:59 pm

SEC releases statement on HBO story

Posted by Tom Fornelli

HBO still won't be airing its "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" story on four former Auburn players who claim they received money amongst other perks to play football at Auburn for another couple of hours, but the story has been out for nearly 24 hours now. If you plan on watching, feel free to read along with the story from the post we wrote yesterday.

As you would expect, it's been a pretty big story since the transcripts broke on Tuesday, and the SEC released a statement about the show on Wednesday evening.

“We are aware of some of the information to be aired during this evening’s HBO Real Sports. Representatives from Auburn University, representatives from LSU and the SEC office have communicated with the NCAA Enforcement Staff. The involved institutions and the NCAA staff will pursue the allegations in a timely manner.”

Of course, what remains to be seen is whether or not the NCAA will be able to prove any of the allegations the players made to be true. Though the NCAA may find that the player's statements are more than enough evidence, as none of the four really have anything to gain by publicizing all of this.
Posted on: March 28, 2011 1:27 pm

Gene Chizik won't succumb to 'energy vampires'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Gene Chizik is coming off of the longest, most memorable season of his coaching career. The Auburn head coach led the Tigers to a national title, but he also had to spend just about the entire season dealing with the Cam Newton saga. In fact, since the NCAA hasn't officially concluded its investigation into Cam Newton's recruitment at Auburn, there's a good chance he'll have to deal with more questions about him in 2011 even though Newton has moved on to the NFL.

Not that Chizik plans on letting any of it be a distraction, or to let it all drag him and his team down. No, Chizik has no time for those "energy vampires."

“Whatever people want to say or whatever somebody is comfortable talking about in terms of talk radio or other places, we have absolutely no control over that,” Chizik told ESPN.com. “But here’s what we know: We are the national champions, and we were the best football team in the United States last year. There’s nothing I have to do to defend our honor for that. 

“They’re going to say what they’re going to say and discuss what they’re going to discuss, and you have absolutely no control over that. I call those energy vampires. They’re not going to suck my energy out worrying about that. That’s how we work.” 

This is where I wish I had Photoshop so I could produce a Twilight poster with Gene Chizik surrounded by Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans. Since there are werewolves in Twilight, as well, I'd have Dan Wetzel and Charles Robinson in the background in wolf form. I tried to do this in Paint, but frankly, I just don't have the talent to pull it off.

Which is a shame for all of us, really.

As for Chizik, while dealing with the energy vampires for another season may be a problem, I don't think it's going to be as big a problem as trying to replace Cam Newton.
Posted on: March 17, 2011 8:40 pm
Edited on: March 17, 2011 8:46 pm

NCAA upholds OSU suspensions, Tressel to sit too

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The chances that the Ohio State Buckeyes will be contending for a Big Ten title or a national title in 2011 have just taken a hit. The suspensions of the five Ohio State players from TattooGate, the mess that got Ohio State in all this hot water in the first place, have been upheld by the NCAA.
According to this decision, Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas must sit out the first five games of the 2011 season for selling awards, gifts and university apparel, as well as receiving improper benefits in 2009. These student-athletes must also repay money and benefits ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.
“While we are disappointed that our appeal request was denied, we respect the NCAA and accept its ruling,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State associate vice president and athletics director. “The players are sorry for the disappointment they have caused, will learn from their mistakes, and will strive to earn the confidence and support of everyone associated with the university through their future conduct.”
“The university remains steadfast in its commitment to continually improve the compliance education process,” said Dr. John Bruno, faculty athletics representative to the Big Ten and NCAA and Ohio State professor of psychology. “We believe that we do a good job in educating our more than 900 student-athletes, but we strive to do better to help them make good decisions.
There will be no further appeals from this point, and all five players will sit out the first five games of the 2011 season. And guess what?

Jim Tressel will be joining them. For all five games. From the Columbus Dispatch:
Ohio State and football coach Jim Tressel announced tonight that he would accept a five-game suspension for his role in the scandal that brought major NCAA violations to OSU's door.
The announcement came moments after the NCAA denied Ohio State's appeal to reduce the five-game suspensions of five football players for selling memorabilia and accepting discounts on tattoos, a violation of the NCAA extra benefits rule.
Tressel had been suspended for two games and fined $250,000 by the university for his own violations, which came to light last week. A source told The Dispatch that it was his decision to increase his suspension to five games; his fine will remain the same.
The five games that Tressel and his players will miss are against Akron, Toledo, Miami, Colorado and Michigan State. While I wouldn't worry much about Akron and Toledo if I were a Buckeye fan, those games against Miami and Michigan State could pose quite a problem to a team without it's starting quarterback, running back, wide receiver and head coach.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com