Postseason Ban Shocks Buckeyes

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Last updated: 12/20/2011 5:33 PM

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NCAA Shocks Buckeyes with Postseason Ban for 2012
By Brandon Castel

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gene Smith sounded confident when he assured new head coach Urban Meyer that there was no precedent for a postseason ban for the violations committed by Ohio State under former head coach Jim Tressel.

The NCAA showed Tuesday they care not for precedent.

In what came as a shocking decision to those at Ohio State, the NCAA Committee on Infractions handed down a postseason ban for the 2012 season, which includes a potential appearance in the Big Ten championship game.

The institution's football team shall end its 2012 season with the playing of its last regularly scheduled, in-season contest and shall not be eligible to participate in any postseason competition or take advantage of any of the exemptions provided in Bylaw, to include an end-of-season conference championship game.

The NCAA also increased Ohio State’s self-imposed reduction in scholarships from five to nine over the course of the next three seasons (an average of three per year) and added an additional year of probation for the Buckeyes.

The ruling came as a complete surprise to the Ohio State players, who found out mostly via Twitter that they would not be able to participate in a bowl game next season, but also to the Ohio State brass, who had cooperated with the NCAA since finding out about Jim Tressel’s involvement.

For that, Tressel received a 5-year “show-cause” penalty from the NCAA, but it is new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer who will have to worry about the consequences of Tressel’s actions, and those of his players.

“On my own, I did a little bit of research,” Meyer said during his introductory press conference.

“But at the end of the day I asked the same question you did:  Is there anything behind Door No. 2, 3, 4, and I feel very confident and have great trust that there's not.”

That is because OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith told Meyer that there was no precedent for a bowl ban, even after the NCAA hit Ohio State with ‘Failure to Monitor” charges stemming from players involvement with now-dissociated booster Bobby DiGeronimo.

“I think that's where the faith and trust has to come in,” Meyer added.

“I have great trust and faith in our athletic director and president, Dr. Gee and Gene (Smith) here, that that conversation was had. We'll have to deal with the scholarship issue, and I have great trust that we will and we'll move forward.”

It was Smith who opted not to self-impose a bowl ban for Ohio State for the 2011 season, even after the Buckeyes went 6-6 during the regular season. The University accepted an invitation to face Florida in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2.

Smith was obviously disappointed with the NCAA’s decision, but Ohio State will not appeal their punishments.

“We are surprised and disappointed with the NCAA’s decision,” Smith said in a statement.

“However, we have decided not to appeal the decision because we need to move forward as an institution. We recognize that this is a challenging time in intercollegiate athletics.  Institutions of higher education must move to higher ground, and Ohio State embraces its leadership responsibilities and affirms its long-standing commitment to excellence in education and integrity in all it does.”

With that, the matter is now closed and Ohio State will finally be able to move forward from the scandal that has rocked Columbus and the rest of the country for the past year.

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