Nearly one year to the day after Ohio State suspended five football players for accepting improper benefits from a local tattoo parlor, the Buckeyes finally found out their fate.
The NCAA announced Tuesday that the Buckeyes will face a one-year postseason ban, a reduction in available football scholarships and three years probation.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told the Associated Press early Tuesday that the NCAA’s committee on infractions will assess its final sanctions against the school’s athletic program today at 3 p.m. EST.
Ohio State had already self-imposed a five-scholarship reduction and a two-year ban, Smith had previously said a bowl ban would go beyond punishments handed down to other programs for similar NCAA violations.
Former longtime athletic booster Robert DiGeronimo admitted to providing a total of $2,405 in extra benefits to nine players, including $200 each to running back Jordan Hall, defensive back Corey Brown and former quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Last month, the NCAA hit Ohio State with a “failure to monitor” charge, and further allegations, causing the school to strip itself of five football scholarships over the next three years. But the NCAA decided that wasn’t good enough.
Mike Adams, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Solomon Thomas and Pryor were suspended for the first five games of the season (Pryor elected to enter the NFL’s supplemental draft and was selected by the Raiders) and head coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign after reports surfaced that players had accepted cash and tattoos from DiGeronimo.
Tressel, who currently works as a video-review coordinator with the Colts, was hit with a five-year show-cause penalty for failing to report the violations and allowing those players to compete during the season. The punishment could severely hamper his ability to get another job in the coaching ranks, as it would allow the NCAA to levy sanctions against any school that hires him.
“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,” the committee wrote in its report.
Ohio State offered to vacate its 2010 season — in which the team went 12-1 and won the Sugar Bowl — return its bowl earnings and accept minor recruiting restrictions. Today the Buckeyes will discover whether those concessions are enough to appease the NCAA, or if new head coach Urban Meyer will face more serious sanctions for his first season in Columbus.