NCAA finds no new violations by Ohio State

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel claps after a play during their NCAA football game against Indiana in Columbus, Ohio, October 9, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Ohio State got great news today, as the NCAA informed the school in writing that it found no new violations other than those that were reported by the school, and that the Buckeyes would not be hit with a failure to monitor charge. This makes it far less likely that Ohio State will get hammered with new sanctions.

The NCAA has notified Ohio State University that it will not face charges of failing to appropriately monitor its football team as part of a memorabilia-sales scandal that brought down former Coach Jim Tressel.

The NCAA has not uncovered any new, unreported violations during its investigation and agrees with Ohio State that Tressel was the only university official aware of violations by his players and that he failed to report them.

“Other than (two redacted player names) and (Ted) Sarniak, there is no indication that Tressel provided or discussed the information he received … with anyone else, particularly athletics administrators,” the NCAA reported in an enforcement staff case summary.

In the summary that was delivered to Ohio State yesterday and released today, the NCAA again stresses that Tressel failed in his duty to report the violations and knowingly fielded at least two ineligible players.

The NCAA will not hammer Ohio State with its worst-possible findings of loss of institutional control or failure to monitor, which would bring significant punishment.

“Considering the institution’s rules education and monitoring efforts, the enforcement staff did not believe a failure to monitor charge was appropriate in this case,” the NCAA informed Ohio State.

The NCAA also reported that it investigated a Sports Illustrated report that identified nine additional players as selling OSU memorabilia to tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife and interviewed the athletes, but confirmed only one as dealing with the man who is soon to be sentenced on marijuana-trafficking charges.

Will SI apologize to Ohio State and the eight students who were named in their story but ultimately cleared by the NCAA? I doubt it. SI reported the story today with a brief AP report.

As stated above, this is big news for the Ohio State program and it might just let them get a fresh start in 2012 without more sanctions. At the very least they should avoid crippling sanctions like those imposed on USC.

This changes nothing with respect to the mess in college football. We’ve seen a top coach lose his job and a premiere player run off to the the NFL over a bunch of tattoos, while an entire season was vacated, erasing the hard work of all the other players. The entire episode is absurd.

It’s also a warning sign that people shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Other programs clearly have problems as well, and some of them will be hit hard, but we have to wait and see how investigations play out.

The NCAA needs to do some soul searching and reconsider its outdated rules and the absurd notion of having schools vacate wins.

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