Buckeyes Avoid New Allegations but Investigation Still Ongoing
By Brandon Castel
Jim Tressel left Friday’s meeting with the NCAA without speaking to reporters gathered in the hallway.
The ousted Ohio State head coach had his attorney on hand for the official Aug. 12 hearing with the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Neither he nor OSU President E. Gordon Gee spoke about the proceedings, which took place behind closed doors, but each did release a statement.
“I had an open and constructive exchange with the Committee on Infractions. They were well prepared and will now go about their work in deliberations,” Tressel said in his statement.
“Again, I would like to apologize to the Buckeye nation, most especially to the players, staff and fans who remain so dear to me. I have no further statement at this time.”
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith was the lone representative who spoke with the media following the 3.5-hour hearing in Indianapolis, but he simply read his prepared statement from the podium.
“The university was pleased to present to the Committee on Infractions our perspectives on the two violations that were covered in our self-report on March 8, 2011,” Smith said.
“As expected, the committee had numerous relevant questions about the issues in the case, which I believe the institution answered thoroughly and thoughtfully. We also had the opportunity to summarize information detailed in the university’s response and the institution’s reasons for its self-imposed corrective and punitive actions.”
The only new punishment to come from the hearing, which will not release its findings for eight to 12 weeks, was the fact Ohio State will return all monies garnered from the school’s Sugar Bowl appearance back in January.
“Consistent with vacating the 2011 Sugar Bowl, and in addition to our previously announced corrective and punitive actions, we also shared with the committee our decision to forfeit our share of the Big Ten’s payment for having played in that game,” Smith said.
That total comes to $338,811 in revenue generated from the bowl appearance. That cost comes in addition to the $800,000 Ohio State has already spent on the NCAA investigation into the school’s football program.
Despite the conclusion of Friday’s hearing before the Committee on Infractions, that investigation remains open. The director of the committee, Shep Cooper received a letter back on July 13 from the NCAA’s Director of Enforcement stating that investigators were looking into one additional violation related to the first allegation issued to Ohio State back on July 8.
“We are aware of a letter that the NCAA enforcement staff sent to the Committee on Infractions nearly a month ago detailing the status of this case,” Smith said in his statement.
“The NCAA staff concluded that the evidence at this time does not warrant additional allegations and that our joint review of any remaining items did not necessitate a delay to today’s hearing. We now look forward to working together so that we can conclude this follow-up work as quickly as possible.”
In that letter, the NCAA states that a second hearing could be necessary if new violations are discovered during the ongoing investigation. At that time, Ohio State could face charges of failure to monitor or lack of institutional control, depending on the severity of any further violations.
It would appear from the wording in the letter that the additional violation pertaining to the first allegation would revolve around the one additional “Player H” included in Ohio State’s Response to the NCAA Notice of Allegations back on July 8.
That player, believed to be linebacker Dorian Bell, has not been appropriately punished by the NCAA for selling memorabilia to Edward Rife, although Ohio State did self-report the violation.
If no further evidence is found to support more severe allegations, the Buckeyes should expect an official report from the committee in eight to 12 weeks.
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