Ohio State hit with ‘notice of allegations’ by NCAA

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The saga that is the Ohio State football program continues Monday morning, with word that the NCAA has sent a “notice of allegations” to president E. Gordon Gee.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the NCAA sent the notice Friday, and in it charges that head coach Jim Tressel is “guilty of ethical misconduct when he knowingly provided false information to the NCAA in certifying that he knew of no potential violations by his players and failed to inform OSU officials.”  That charge stems from Tressel signing an NCAA Certificate of Compliance form last September, which states that he had reported any known violations; the previous April, Tressel had been informed via email that at least two of his players had likely received impermissible benefits.

Tressel did not disclose that information to the university, and did not acknowledge knowing of the potential violations until confronted with emails discovered this past January.

“It was reported that Jim Tressel, head football coach, failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics and violated ethical-conduct legislation,” the notice read.

As for what type of punishment the school could be facing, the paper writes that Ohio State “is potentially facing the most severe NCAA penalties to its storied football program”.  Those sanctions could include loss of scholarships, a bowl ban and/or stripping of all 2010 wins.  The latter penalty would be for using ineligible players for the entire regular season.  The Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas would likely stand, however, as the NCAA had already restored the eligibility of the five players it had found guilty of receiving impermissible benefits.

The Buckeye Five, which includes quarterback Terrelle Pryor, will be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season, and there will be no additional sanctions against the players, the NCAA wrote in their notice to the school.

While OSU was not cited for “failure to monitor” or “failure of institutional control”, the NCAA warned in the notice of allegations that they may consider Ohio State a repeat offender.  That finding would be based on former OSU quarterback Troy Smith taking $500 from a booster as well as former men’s basketball head coach Jim O’Brien giving $6,000 to a recruit.

In addition to the bowl ban and scholarship loss, the Dispatch reports that the entire coaching staff could be suspended if OSU is found to be repeat offenders.

Ohio State is scheduled to appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions Aug. 12, and the final decision on what sanctions, if any, above Tressel’s five-game suspension and $250,000 fine will be levied Will Likely come down somewhere around the midpoint of the 2011 season.