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COI hearing over, OSU releases letters and returns BcS money

Jim Tressell

As expected, Ohio State’s appearance in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions produced nothing in the way of hard news regarding the allegations and potential sanctions the Buckeyes are facing.  It did, however, produce a couple of interesting tidbits that were released around the time the hearing took place.

First, however, the mundane.  OSU officials, including athletic director Gene Smith and former head coach Jim Tressel, were questioned by members of the committee for, by most accounts, nearly four hours in Indianapolis Friday morning and into early afternoon.  No decisions were made on the sanctions OSU self-imposed earlier this year; that’s expected to come in 6-12 weeks.

Following the hearing, no one from the Ohio State side would speak to the media, although Tressel released a statement talking around his appearance and apologizing once again to Buckeye Nation.

“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. Again, I would like to apologize to the Buckeye nation, most especially to the players, staff and fans who remain so dear to me.”

Now, on to news containing a little more meat than that particular bone.

Earlier this week, Pat Forde of ESPN.com caused a mini-maelstrom by reporting that Ohio State had received a letter from the NCAA stating that the investigation into the football program was still ongoing.  The school responded by releasing a statement denying there were any new allegations.  Based on the release of two letters by the university today, they both appear to be technically correct.  Somewhat.

The first letter, addressed to OSU president E. Gordon Gee, contained “an updated list of documents comprising the record of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions.”  There was no specific mention of an ongoing investigation in that letter.  However, that letter did reference a document titled “Letter from Director of Enforcement Stephanie Hannah regarding the status of the investigation” and was dated July 14, 2011.  That was the second letter, and it was also released by the university today.

In that letter, Hannah writes that, after a previous email on the situation had been sent, ” an amended notice of allegations containing one additional violation related to the first allegation was issued to the involved parties” — the involved parties being OSU and Tressel, among others, as the unspecified new “violation” likely pertained in some way to the former coach; that assumption’s gleaned from Hannah writing that the coach’s attorney “understood that the continuing investigation could potentially lead to additional allegations involving Mr. Tressel.”

Hannah goes on to write that it is still possible to move forward with the Aug. 12 hearing despite the one additional violation, although she notes that “additional review is necessary” and that “the investigation remains open.”  As the investigation remains open per the NCAA, Hannah advised OSU what could happen if further allegations are proven.

The institution understands and agrees that additional allegations may result from the ongoing inquiry and that the violations set forth in the current notice of allegations may form the partial basis for a failure to monitor of lack of institutional control when viewed in light of any additional violations. The institution also understands that if new violations are discovered, a second hearing may be necessary.

In addition to the release of the two previously unseen letters, the school also announced that they would be returning their share of the BcS money they received for playing in the Sugar Bowl.  As any money received from BcS bowl games is split in the Big Ten, OSU will be returning roughly $338,000.  We’re assuming that means they will be returning it to the conference, although that’s unclear right now.

So, thus far, Tressel’s decision to launch a one-man cover-up and lie about knowledge of potential violations has cost the university more than $1.1 million — $300K-plus in BcS money, more than $800K for the NCAA investigation — and that total doesn’t even include the immeasurable harm to the university’s reputation.

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6 Responses to “COI hearing over, OSU releases letters and returns BcS money”
  1. savocabol1 says: Aug 12, 2011 2:42 PM

    If Tressel ever wanted to coach in the NCAA again, would he have to be signed to a universtity first, then serve some sort of suspension? Or does the fact that he was canned mean no suspension would incurr?

  2. 1buckeye76 says: Aug 12, 2011 2:43 PM

    I don’t even care anymore, I just want to watch the team play some ball.

  3. angelheartsbuckeyes says: Aug 12, 2011 3:25 PM

    Word out now is that the additional stuff relates to Dorian Bell and his memorabilia. He is no longer with the team and these are issues already known by all parties.

    You never know what these things mean until the very end, so I’ll keep doing what I have been doing for the last eight months – waiting patiently until we can get back to the actual game of football.

  4. dkhhuey says: Aug 12, 2011 4:39 PM

    “Pat Forde of ESPN.com caused a mini-maelstrom”

    The only maelstrom this hack created was when he was sitting on the toilet pushing out his latest piece!

  5. rjsjr says: Aug 13, 2011 12:25 AM

    Add the 300,000 to 400,000 the school paid for scandal advice to that monetary total. I believe the AP had an article about that.

  6. cincybengalsdude says: Aug 16, 2011 1:04 AM

    On a side note, if I were the other Big10 schools, I would be worried about losing the money train that OSU is for the conference should they not be allowed to compete in Bowl/BCS games in the near future.

    It would be interesting to see just how much more OSU has “split” with the Big10 compared to the other teams over the past 10 years or so. I can’t imagine any other school being even remotely close to the Bucks contributions. There’s not a team in the country that travels the way OSU does. Not even Notre Dame (like it or not).

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