Just a few hours ago, the eligibility status of Ohio State running back Boom Herron and receiver DeVier Posey was in question yet again following an additional NCAA probe into jobs the two athletes held at Independence Excavating.
Following a press conference by Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, consider all doubt — and all hope — removed.
Herron, Posey and offensive lineman Marcus Hall have all been suspended for next week’s game at Nebraska for accepting wages in excess of hours worked at their summer jobs. Herron and Posey were already on the tail end of a five-game suspension for receiving impermissible benefits; Hall will be missing his first game.
According to Ohio State’s release on the violations, Herron was paid for 19.5 hours he did not work; Posey was paid for 48.5 hours he did not work; Hall was paid for 15.5 hours he did not work. The release goes on to state that the players failed to report the jobs to Ohio State compliance.
Bobby DiGeronimo, the booster whose company provided the jobs to the players, has been disassociated from OSU, joining reported bag man Terrelle Pryor.
And, yes, that does mean what you think: Herron and Posey received improper compensation — which was discovered because of an NCAA investigation into other Ohio State players who received cash from the hands of another player (Pryor, reportedly) who received impermissible benefits — while suspended for receiving improper benefits.
But the violations aren’t even the worst part. They’re not even in the same ballpark as Smith’s complete nonchalance in congruence with what really is a lack of urgency and awareness by Ohio State’s compliance department.
“These are failures of individuals, not a systemic failure of compliance,” Smith said. “It’s not 30 (players).”
Buckeyes, meet the underside of Mr. Smith’s Greyhound bus. There you’ll be reunited with your former coach, Jim Tressel.
A booster’s company provides more wages than hours worked to multiple players while the booster himself gives straight cash to three more athletes — all within a year or so of the tattoo scandal?
Sounds systematic to me, and the number 30 has nothing to do with it.
Ohio State’s compliance spidey senses needed to be on high alert even though the NCAA essentially agreed with their assessment that Tressel was the one to blame for the tattoogate scandal. They weren’t, and now Smith finds himself in front of the microphones again trying to explain the situation.
The most amazing and yet somehow predictable part of it all was that Smith didn’t even seem to care. At this point, he may not. Smith has blamed Tressel, and now he’s blamed the players.
Gene Smith is running out of scapegoats.