The NCAA announced its punishment for Ohio State today. And, let’s just put it this way: Every school might as well start cheating and doing whatever it wants.
The sanctions for the school break down like this:
— A one-year bowl ban
— Loss of four more scholarships over next three years (nine total, including the five self-imposed). OSU can spread these out however it chooses, but likely it will be 82 each year, instead of the usual 85.
— An additional year of probation (on top of the two-self imposed years)
And the result of this:
— Wisconsin fans now can start booking their hotels for Indianapolis next year as OSU will not be eligible — similar to USC this year in the Pac-10.
— All the players involved in the scandals already are eligible to leave for the draft, so if they choose, they receive no punishment.
— Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor already jumped ship — both did receive some punishment, but regardless, slaps on the wrist.
— Urban Meyer continues to clean house on recruiting because the NCAA didn’t decide the scandals warranted NOT allowing the waiver which grants a new coach the freedom to recruit while the “other” head coach and staff prepares for the bowl game (and recruits, as well). OSU is not violating any rules with the current situation, but it feels wrong to allow a school receiving sanctions the same freedom as any other school.
Here is why it all irks me:
— There is a difference between one player messing up, or one booster being corrupt, and having a widespread problem in a program…Ohio State is the latter. Eight player were suspended for a total of 34 games during the 2011 season. Not one. Eight.
— USC received a two-year bowl band and 30 scholarships over three years for violations committed by one player — Reggie Bush. Understandably, his violations were of a more serious nature, but, it was a single player, and a program was punished for his actions alone. As I said above, Ohio State’s were widespread across the program and into the coaching ranks.
— The comments from Ohio State regarding the decision. (Read them here.) In short, athletic director Gene Smith is somehow surprised and disappointed. Apparently, he had been convinced that there was no postseason ban coming — which would have been a bigger sham.
— In the recruiting element, Meyer is making a joke of the whole process. He likely told recruits he didn’t think sanctions like this were coming, and likely drew them to Columbus under false pretenses. Is this fair for a coach to do to 18-year old kids? No. Is it a new thing for a coach to lie or BS a recruit? No. Does that justify Meyer’s actions? No.
When it comes down to it, the saddest thing is everyone knew that the sanctions were not severe enough for a program that was buried in bad decisions and corruption. Tressel knew what had been going on, and instead of doing his job, covered it up and told his players not to do it again. The man behind the vest acted in a self-serving and unacceptable way, while his players ran wild and breaking NCAA rules.
Congrats, Ohio State. Enjoy your top-five recruiting class and year to develop them before competing for a national championship in 2013.