Ohio State Football Suspensions: What Does It Mean for 2011 OSU Season?
Ohio State Football is the latest in a string of programs to be hit with an NCAA sanction for illegal benefits that were rewarded to athletes. It seems that five of the Buckeyes football players were given gifts and now must suffer the consequences.
10TV News is reporting that Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, Devier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas must sit out five games in 2011 and repay gifts ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. This is a big story with ramifications that will be felt long after the end of next year. Here is what this all means for Ohio State.
Congratulations, Buckeyes. The eyes of a nation are now squarely pointed in your direction. The latest NCAA sanctions will toss media buzz and the national spotlight on the program. Now amateur athletes will be forced to answer questions and be forced to perform under the microscope as early as January 4th in the Sugar Bowl.
The only thing America loves more than sport is a scandal. Now they will be glued onto the OSU locker room for any further revelations or punishments. It will be a circus.
Well, you can probably be sure that more than one of these players will bolt to the NFL now. There is just too much at stake for a player to be faced with a five game suspension. This is especially true for quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
The junior needs every second to improve his draft standing with a pro team. Facing a five game suspension makes the remaining games that much more important. Pryor will most likely forego his senior year and enter the draft.
You can bet that by losing even just a few players, it is detrimental to winning. The Ohio State Buckeyes will have to open the season without one of their receivers, their number one running back and their star QB. This will be a tough start for the program.
It seems inconceivable that these suspensions will not yield at least a couple of losses when they open against Akron and Toledo. You are forced to cringe when you see that their next games are against Miami, Colorado, and Michigan State. OSU could very well be looking at three losses right off the bat.
7. Black Eye
Like it or not, Buckeyes fans, you now have a stain to deal with on your legacy. Now even the most wayward of college football fans will relate your program in some way to a NCAA violation. Some will forget how long lasting or how in depth the violations were. All they will remember is that your program was hit with sanctions.
That is enough to put your program up there with North Carolina and USC. You can now be considered a team that pays its players. Even if those allegations are tenuous at best, it is what the casual fan will remember.
6. Joe Bauserman
Meet your starting 2011 quarterback, Buckeyes. Even if Pryor does not bolt to the NFL, Bauserman will have to take over the snaps at least for the first five games. This may not be a bad thing. Bauserman has been adequate in the little that he has done this season.
The real issue is that it is unknown if Bauserman is a big time quarterback. Every elite program has a big time arm that can get them well within the red zone. It remains to be seen if Bauserman can command an offense like Ohio State. They will have to start the season with a huge question mark at the biggest position.
5. Poor Offense
The Buckeyes may not just have Terrelle Pryor bolt to the NFL. Their three star offensive players are all eligible for the draft. The Buckeyes will at the very least be without Dan Herron, Devier Posey and Terrelle Pryor for the first five games.
That means they will not have their starting running back, wide receiver, and quarterback. How many programs can take that kind of hit on offense and still compete? The real issue is that these losses could be much longer than five games. There is no way OSU retains all three of these players when they could easily jump to the NFL and not miss any time playing.
It remains to be seen what this will do to recruiting. That process is very delicate. It must be handled with the utmost care and precision. Having a black eye on the program could hinder the Buckeyes from closing the deal on some of their most talked about recruits.
Top high school athletes usually have their pick of the litter when it comes to choosing a program. Not wanting to be associated with a potential scandal could be a driving point to go elsewhere.
3. Hot Seat
It is fairly absurd to list Jim Tressel as a coach that should be on the hot seat. But that is exactly what will happen at the beginning of next year. There is just too much to lose in this ongoing saga. The suspensions could lead to lost revenue, losses on the schedule, and losses in the stands.
This is all due to an inability to communicate a simple fact to their student athletes. Do not take money. Do not sell anything. Do not even think about money. All of this should have be shouted from the hill tops.
The players should have been advised to speak to a coach with any and all transactions. This day one talk that never occurred has just cost the program big time. Someone will have to pay.
2. NCAA Investigations
It was not hard for the NCAA to find out about the recent rewards that OSU players received. The players themselves did not hide it very well. That fact actually allows the Buckeyes to finish off the season unscathed.
Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, stated, "The players are eligible for the bowl game because the NCAA determined they did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred."
So this is a fairly lenient punishment considering the circumstances. But you can be assured that the NCAA now has the Ohio State program on their radar. The NCAA is always out to find the latest violations. Now they smell smoke and they will stick around the Buckeyes for a while in case there happens to be fire.
1. Lackluster Season
I hope you didn't have aspirations of a national title, Buckeyes fans. As we have seen lately, even one loss will oust a program from a national title. So in effect, the recent suspensions handed down also preclude the OSU program from playing in a national title game next season.
At the very least, this makes what is already extremely difficult to do that much harder. It is bad enough that the Buckeyes must play a few nationally ranked opponents; now they will have to do it with their hands behind their back.