Ohio State Football: Gene Smith and Self-Imposed NCAA Sanctions Are a Joke

Bill NCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2011

 Today Ohio State responded to the April 25 NCAA Notice of Allegations and decided that vacating all 2010 wins was sufficient to prevent further sanctions.

Ohio State allowed their head football coach Jim Tressel to retire with $52,000 pay and no fines as previously announced because he lied to the NCAA and covered up the fact that there were at least five ineligible Buckeyes who played the entire 2010 season.

Several media sources have identified potential additional Ohio State violations that were not included in the NOA.  These include:

Sports Illustrated on May 30: Eight-year pattern of violations under Tressel and identifies additional OSU football players who have sold or traded their memorabilia.

ESPN on June 7: Terrelle Pryor may have made up to $40,000 signing memorabilia.

Sports by Brooks on June 7: Checks Pryor has cashed for the signed memorabilia from local memorabilia dealer, Dennis Talbott.

ESPN on June 10: Pryor free golf outings with memorabilia dealer.

ESPN on June 12: Dennis Talbott ties to Ohio State.

Sports by Brooks on June 13: Delaney’s failure to monitor exposes OSU cover-up.

If some of the above allegations are correct, then Ohio State has been playing with ineligible players for many years, and there clearly is a loss of institutional control.

Athletic Director Gene Smith strongly believes that the NCAA should not give Ohio State any additional sanctions.  He said:

I'll be shocked and disappointed and on the offensive. Unless something new arises from where we are today, it'll be behavior (from me) you haven't witnessed.

But the other things, I'll have a hard time with. I'd have a hard time with scholarship losses. Justify that. Bowl ban? Same thing. Justify it.

But yes, we are under the repeat violator piece of legislation and that opens it up to any penalties scholarships and things of that nature. But they still have to justifiable.

Apparently he hasn’t heard that the NCAA doesn’t have to justify anything.  They passed a rule to that effect in April 2011 just before denying the USC Todd McNair and university appeals.

This is the same Smith who misled the NCAA about the OSU compliance department in order to pull off the Sugar Bowl hoax and allow five ineligible and top OSU football players to participate.

As ridiculous as Smith’s statements and Ohio State’s relying on only vacating 2010 wins to appease the NCAA, nothing is surprising when it comes to the inconsistency of NCAA decisions. 

Smith has both blamed (only when self-serving) and praised the OSU compliance department but the growing list of OSU violations over recent years does not reflect an outstanding organization and the NCAA is complicit also by looking the other way during this time.

The only thing that is clear about the NCAA is that its amateurism rules are a joke, and the university presidents do not want to do anything about it so they can continue to take advantage of the college football players who generate billions in revenue.

The Ohio State violations reflect the absurdity of these rules, and Smith could be right about the NCAA sanctions for no other reason than he has been pretty good so far at playing the NCAA game.

P.S. Pete Fiutak of CollegeFootballNews.com makes a very good case for why Ohio State has to take ownership of its football problems.