Remember that 12-1 season that the Buckeyes just enjoyed, including their Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas? No you don’t, because Ohio State just said that it never happened. THE university announced earlier today that the football program is vacating its 2010 season as part of a self-imposed punishment. The program will also start a two-year probationary period today.
The powers that be in Columbus is hoping that firing Jim Tressel and forfeiting an entire season would be enough to dodge the NCAA’s wrath. While that remains to be seen, the glaring oddities of Ohio State’s self-flagellation included (a) no deduction in scholarships, and (b) no ban on postseason appearances. What gives, yo?
The university argues that Tressel’s “integrity and proven history of promoting rules compliance,” combined with his team’s improving academic performance and other factors, should mitigate the severity of any NCAA sanctions.[..]
The fallout from the scandal has included the resignation of Tressel, the partial-season suspension of six players, and quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s decision to skip his senior season and turn pro.
We’ve mentioned before that this makes Ohio State a repeat violator and eligible for the NCAA’s death penalty, a measure that Gene Smith and the athletic department are obviously desperate to avoid. The more of “Tat-Gate” that can be pinned on Tressel, the less culpability the school has for lack of institutional control, which would figure to be a key ingredient if the NCAA were to deem Ohio State’s probation insufficient.
Which they probably will.
It’s worth pointing out again that Ohio State is being punished because their players decided to sell and trade stuff that was legally theirs. NCAA violation or no, college football’s governing body is running out of time to drop the guise of “amateurism” on its own terms. Schools can’t sign billion-dollar TV deals and then cry about how money shouldn’t be an issue with compensating student-athletes. Letting players cash in on their own likenesses would be a start to that. Usually when someone cites “the greater good,” it’s just another way of saying that some guy’s about to get screwed. Again.