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Ohio State strips itself of five scholarships; facing failure to monitor charge

Gene Smith AP

After appearing in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to answer allegations concerning players receiving impermissible benefits and Jim Tressel‘s cover-up, Ohio State uncovered further violations involving a booster paying players cash at a charity event as well as overpaying them for a job he provided.

The school announced Thursday that their joint investigation with the NCAA into the latest violations is complete and they have issued their response to a supplemental Notice of Allegations from the NCAA.  That supplemental notice contains two allegations not covered in the original NOA:

The first was related to the “extra benefits” violations discovered through a joint investigation with the NCAA and publicly announced by the university Sept. 1 and Oct. 3 involving Robert DiGeronimo, who at the time was a representative of the institution’s athletics interests (also known as a “booster”).  In February 2011, he arranged for cash payments of $200 each to four current or former student-athletes at an annual charity event for a nonprofit organization of which DiGeronimo was a board member. Additionally, the student-athletes attended the event without written approval from the athletics director or his designee. Further, DiGeronimo arranged for five student-athletes to be overcompensated by a total of $1,605 while they were employed by businesses owned and operated by the DiGeronimo family.

The second allegation asserts that the institution took insufficient action to monitor DiGeronimo, resulting in a “failure to monitor” allegation, primarily due to DiGeronimo’s overpayment to student-athlete employees and cash payments at the Cornerstone of Hope charitable event. This allegation only concerns a booster and does not relate to any of the issues discussed at the Aug. 12 Committee on Infractions hearing.

The “failure to monitor” charge is one step below the dreaded “lack of institutional control”, but serious in its own right and could lead to stiff sanctions for the football program.  One month ago, OSU president E. Gordon Gee remarked that the situation at the school does not represent “a systematic failure of compliance” and that they are “the poster child for compliance.”

Athletic director Gene Smith expressed deep regret that he didn’t “ensure the degree of monitoring our institution deserves and demands.”

“Over the past three months, our athletics department staff has continued to work cooperatively with the NCAA to conclude our inquiry into the remaining items related to our football program,” Smith said in a statement. “Throughout the entire process since we discovered possible infractions, the athletics department has consistently worked with the NCAA to investigate any allegation, take responsibility, self-report its findings to the NCAA in a transparent manner, and take necessary remediation steps. That is what we have done on this last open issue, and we accept that we should have done more to oversee Mr. DiGeronimo’s activities.

“We look forward to working with the staff and the Committee on Infractions to reach a timely resolution of the case. On a personal note, I deeply regret that I did not ensure the degree of monitoring our institution deserves and demands.”

As a result of these latest allegations, the Buckeyes have self-imposed a reduction in scholarships by a total of five over the next three years, commencing in 2012.  The NCAA can either agree with those sanctions or add to them.

OSU said in its release it “is hopeful that the Committee on Infractions will review these materials and render its final decision in the near future.”  The original timeline for a response from the NCAA was anywhere from 8-12 weeks from the mid-August hearing.  Obviously, the latest investigation pushed back that time frame.

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18 Responses to “Ohio State strips itself of five scholarships; facing failure to monitor charge”
  1. hooptie says: Nov 10, 2011 5:06 PM

    Gene Smith needs to go, although not directly responsible for the extra benefits enough is enough. Send a message to the entire athletic department.

  2. dkhhuey says: Nov 10, 2011 5:07 PM

    Is that 5 per year for three years, or just 5 total over the three years?

  3. cfbfaninbadnfltown says: Nov 10, 2011 5:11 PM

    Am I the only one that thinks Tressel will be back someday on the sidelines?

  4. rolltide510 says: Nov 10, 2011 5:11 PM

    Oh no John, you seem to have reported this in error. The crazy buckeye fans who post 1000 comments on every story related to OSU’s infractions made it crystal clear there would be no failure to monitor.

  5. deadeye says: Nov 10, 2011 5:12 PM

    Now is the time to let this info out. All eyes are squarely fixed on PSU, and this story will go away in a relatively quiet manner.

  6. Ben Kercheval says: Nov 10, 2011 5:20 PM

    dkhuey,

    Five total scholarships over the three years.

  7. hooptie says: Nov 10, 2011 5:20 PM

    @rolltide510

    When Bama got the failure to monitor penalty for the textbook issue did they lose scholarships? If so probably could have used one on a better place kicker….lol

  8. thekatman says: Nov 10, 2011 5:21 PM

    The statement is 5 schollies over 3 years. That’s nothing. Gee’s and Smith’s comments are so outsaide the realm of sanity to say that “… the school does not represent “a systematic failure of compliance” and that they are “the poster child for compliance.”…” is absurd. This university has been the poster chiled for non-compliance, a failure to monitor and lack of institutional control ever since the Jim Tressell and the Buckeye 5 came to light. It’s a continuing problem and to me smells of a “systemic outbtreak” of NCAA infractions issues.

    If any school is to be sanctioned to me maximum to day, it would be OSU. We’ll have to wait until the investigations are completed before judging Auburn, Miami and Oregon, to name a few…. PSU? Well that goes without saying at this point.

  9. dkhhuey says: Nov 10, 2011 5:25 PM

    Thanks Ben!!!

  10. blitz4848 says: Nov 10, 2011 5:29 PM

    Hello—anybody home?

    Ohio State needs to do what Penn State is doing,
    clean house.

    The Prez Gee and AD Smith need to go quickly and use that same broom to rid the program of the past and bring in fresh faces and move into the future……..

  11. polegojim says: Nov 10, 2011 5:52 PM

    So…. the University punishes itself by NOT providing a qualifying kid with a scholarship.

    I wish I had thought of this when I was a kid…..”Yes mom, I did it… SPANK my brother”

  12. 99straws says: Nov 10, 2011 5:57 PM

    People just want to see OSU get hammered. This is a cover-up of kids getting tattoos and a whole $2,400 given to nine kids (like $250 per kid).

    Kids are getting caught doing drugs and get one game, but people think OSU should be killed for this. It’s a joke.

    Don’t let your hatred of OSU talk you into thinking this is some sort huge crime.

  13. 99straws says: Nov 10, 2011 5:59 PM

    And this in no way compares to PSU blitz4848. They are so far apart on the severity scale it’s laughable to connect them in any way.

  14. medtxpack says: Nov 10, 2011 6:25 PM

    not really 99 straws….
    the severity of the crimes are not comparable, correct, but the way its been handled…..lots of alike stuff.
    OSU is lucky PSU scnadal is coming out, takes light off them, they need to clean house. that program has been corrupt for years jsut like so many others.

  15. dkhhuey says: Nov 10, 2011 8:19 PM

    @medtx – Bullshit! There is a HUGE difference in finding out something happened while jointly investigating with the NCAA and acting accordingly as opposed to white-washing a massive child abuse scandal for 10 years, turning your head and letting a known child molester run rampant on your campus until a parent and a high school actually file formal charges against this pedophile that you should have done 10 years prior. MASSIVE DIFFERENCE IN EVERY SINGLE FACET!!!

  16. 99straws says: Nov 10, 2011 10:20 PM

    @medtx

    They can’t be compared. And if you’ve somehow convinced yourself that they are it is simply because you dislike OSU.

    People enjoy when the mighty fall. But what happened at PSU goes far beyond football.

  17. cbass59 says: Nov 10, 2011 10:54 PM

    After the incidents in Pervy Valley, I mean Ped State, OSU should be allowed to hire Tressel back. Covering up selling the player own property for tattoos doesn’t seem so bad now.

  18. southyank7 says: Nov 11, 2011 1:03 AM

    wow 5 scholarships over 3 yrs thats so harsh
    (extreme sarcasm) NCAA = joke
    Ohio State = cheaters-liars-full of themselves

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