Dennis Thomas, chairman of the powerful NCAA infractions committee, has stepped down citing personal reasons.
The commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference cited "unforeseen personal reasons" in leaving the committee after five years.
The infractions committee is responsible for hearing cases of wrongdoing handed over from the enforcement department. The nine-person committee then decides penalties. Thomas had been criticized lately for his knowledge of the cases and being evasive during media conference calls regarding recent cases.
For the first time in recent memory last month, that traditional media conference call was split up between two committee members. Thomas was assisted by committee vice-chair Britton Banowsky during the call to announce the Tennessee penalties in late August.
Banowsky will now take over as interim chair and is assumed to be in charge when the Ohio State penalties are announced, possibly later this year. Thomas, 58, had overseen the high profile USC and Florida State cases among others.
During his nine years with the MEAC two of Thomas' schools were slapped with major football violations within three months of each other in 2006.
Banowsky, 51, has been Conference USA commissioner since 2002. He has a law degree from Oklahoma. His father was president of Pepperdine and Oklahoma.