Bloomberg News

Ohio State Football Banned From Postseason in 2012 by NCAA

December 20, 2011

(Updates with Ohio State saying it won’t appeal beginning in second paragraph.)

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Ohio State University’s football teamed received a one-year postseason ban following violations that cost coach Jim Tressel his job and the school a season’s worth of victories.

The Buckeyes will serve the ban, which includes the Big Ten Conference championship game, after the 2012 campaign, the National Collegiate Athletic Association said in a statement. Ohio State said it wouldn’t appeal.

The decision came almost a year after players including quarterback Terrelle Pryor were suspended for selling or trading uniforms and other memorabilia to the owner of a tattoo parlor. Tressel, 59, quit almost six months later following revelations that he knew about the infractions and kept it secret.

“Of great concern to the committee was the fact that the former head coach became aware of these violations and decided not to report the violations to institution officials, the Big Ten Conference or the NCAA,” the association’s Committee on Infractions, led by Dennis Thomas, the commissioner of the Mid- Eastern Athletic Conference, said in its findings.

Ohio State also was put on probation for three years through Dec. 19, 2014, and had scholarships reduced to 82 from 85 for the next three seasons, ending with the 2014-15 academic year. The school had proposed the loss of five scholarships over the three-year period.

“We are surprised and disappointed with the NCAA’s decision,” Gene Smith, Ohio State’s athletic director, said in a statement on the school’s website. “However, we have decided not to appeal the decision because we need to move forward as an institution.”

Future Limits

Tressel was found to have “engaged in unethical conduct” for failing to report the violations. He received a five-year “show-cause” order, which puts limits on his future hiring at NCAA member schools.

Tressel, who was hired by the Indianapolis Colts as a game- day adviser in September, would be suspended for his first five games if he returns to college football coaching. He’d also be banned from his first postseason and the school that hires him would have to file a plan with the NCAA detailing how it would monitor him as well as reports every six months.

Ohio State previously vacated all 12 of its victories from the 2010 season, including the Sugar Bowl. The school announced its self-imposed action on the 2010 season in July.

Eight players received more than $14,000 in cash and preferential treatment from the Columbus, Ohio, tattoo parlor, according to the NCAA.

Players Paid

Following a hearing on Aug. 12, the NCAA found additional violations that centered on a booster who gave nine football players more than $2,400 for work not performed.

“Ohio State conceded it could have done more to monitor the booster by taking additional steps that would have reduced the likelihood of these violations occurring,” the NCAA said.

Five players were suspended for five games by Ohio State, which also forfeited $338,811 -- the amount it received from the Big Ten as a part of the conference’s revenue-sharing plan.

Tressel led the Buckeyes to the national championship after the 2002 season. He originally was suspended by the school in March for two games the following season, then increased that ban himself to five games before saying he was leaving as coach.

After interim coach Luke Fickell led the Buckeyes to a 6-6 record this season, the school hired two-time national championship winner Urban Meyer as coach on Nov. 28. The Buckeyes face the University of Florida, Meyer’s old school, in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2.

The NCAA’s ruling came 18 months after the University of Southern California was stripped of victories and banned from bowl games for two years following violations within its football and men’s basketball programs.

--Editors: Larry Siddons, Jay Beberman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.


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