Gene Smith, Jim Tressel

Ohio State hit with ‘notice of allegations’ by NCAA


The saga that is the Ohio State football program continues Monday morning, with word that the NCAA has sent a “notice of allegations” to president E. Gordon Gee.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the NCAA sent the notice Friday, and in it charges that head coach Jim Tressel is “guilty of ethical misconduct when he knowingly provided false information to the NCAA in certifying that he knew of no potential violations by his players and failed to inform OSU officials.”  That charge stems from Tressel signing an NCAA Certificate of Compliance form last September, which states that he had reported any known violations; the previous April, Tressel had been informed via email that at least two of his players had likely received impermissible benefits.

Tressel did not disclose that information to the university, and did not acknowledge knowing of the potential violations until confronted with emails discovered this past January.

“It was reported that Jim Tressel, head football coach, failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics and violated ethical-conduct legislation,” the notice read.

As for what type of punishment the school could be facing, the paper writes that Ohio State “is potentially facing the most severe NCAA penalties to its storied football program”.  Those sanctions could include loss of scholarships, a bowl ban and/or stripping of all 2010 wins.  The latter penalty would be for using ineligible players for the entire regular season.  The Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas would likely stand, however, as the NCAA had already restored the eligibility of the five players it had found guilty of receiving impermissible benefits.

The Buckeye Five, which includes quarterback Terrelle Pryor, will be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season, and there will be no additional sanctions against the players, the NCAA wrote in their notice to the school.

While OSU was not cited for “failure to monitor” or “failure of institutional control”, the NCAA warned in the notice of allegations that they may consider Ohio State a repeat offender.  That finding would be based on former OSU quarterback Troy Smith taking $500 from a booster as well as former men’s basketball head coach Jim O’Brien giving $6,000 to a recruit.

In addition to the bowl ban and scholarship loss, the Dispatch reports that the entire coaching staff could be suspended if OSU is found to be repeat offenders.

Ohio State is scheduled to appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions Aug. 12, and the final decision on what sanctions, if any, above Tressel’s five-game suspension and $250,000 fine will be levied will likely come down somewhere around the midpoint of the 2011 season.

Hokies QB Brewer a gametime decision, but RB Williams out for the year

Michael Brewer
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Virginia Tech has been playing just about the whole season without starting quarterback Michael Brewer after the Hokies signal-caller broke his collarbone in the first game of the season. Now, Brewer is on his way back to the field. Brewer has been medically cleared to return to practice in Blacksburg. It may still be another few weeks until he gets back in a game for Virginia Tech.

Brewer broke his collarbone in Virginia Tech’s season-opening loss to Ohio State. Once he left the game, it seemed the Hokies were unable to give the defending national champions much of a fight for a second straight season. He was originally expected to miss eight to 10 weeks of action, which would have meant a return for a Halloween game against Boston College as the earliest likely date. Virginia Tech has a bye week after the Boston College game, meaning Brewer could then be available for a Thursday night division game against Georgia Tech on November 12. Considering all of that, the chance Brewer might be available to play this Friday night against N.C. State is quite a pleasant surprise for a Virginia Tech team in need of some help after dropping to 2-3 after a second straight loss last weekend. Andy Bitter of The Roanoke Times says Brewer could be a gametime decision for Frank Beamer.

The outlook is not quite as possible for Hokies running back Marshawn Williams. Williams will be out for the rest of the season after reinjuring his left knee in practice in late September. It is the same knee that was surgically repaired last December. Williams can use this season as his redshirt season as he has not played in a game this season. He will still have three years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the team next fall.

Mike Leach discusses presidential candidates, political correctness, pizza and says WSU has better facilities than Oregon

Mike Leach

wherever and whenever Washington State head coach Mike Leach opens his mouth, we will be listening. In a recent radio interview with John Canzano, Leach shared his thoughts on the presidential races heating up, the need to remove political correctness and the superior athletics facilities at Washington State compared to what is offered at Oregon.

Leach offered his take on the current status of the GOP race, saying if Donald Trump continues to rise that some other candidates will soon back out and others will “kiss the ring and hope for cabinet positions.”

I think honestly the single biggest issue in this election and country for quite some time is you have to eradicate political correctness. Unless it’s eradicated, you know, we can’t move forward.”

On the topic of football, Leach was asked what has held Washington State back from becoming a winning program. Leach reflected on the steps the program has taken to improve the program, which has seen improvements with facilities that have helped through recruiting, although Leach said it’s been tough because acquiring the talent has been a slow process. He was quite proud of Washington State’s facilities though.

“We have the best facilities in America, certainly within the conference, including Oregon,” Leach said. “We’ve had those for a year that helped accelerate the recruiting effort.”

Given a chance to back peddle from that statement, Leach, as you might expect, did not rescind or amend his previous comments.

You can listen to the full interview here. It is a good listen. He also wants to know where the best pizza place in Portland, Oregon is. You will learn he likes New York style pizza.