The NCAA came down on Ohio State for the “tattoos for stuff” scandal. They could have came harder, but the penalties the Buckeyes got will do fine.
OSU saw their probation period lengthened by a year, four more scholarships were taken over the next three years, and the Buckeyes are not going to a bowl game next season after five players were caught giving away their gear to an unscrupulous tattoo parlor owner.
That owner sometimes paid cash for the stuff. That also drew scrutiny from the NCAA.
Ohio State thought its self-imposed penalties would placate the NCAA. They originally put themselves under two years probation, docked themselves five scholarships over three years, vacated the entire 2010 season and suspended the affected players for five games for the infractions.
But then the Columbus Dispatch found out then-coach Jim Tressel knew about the violations before the season but hid them, lying to the NCAA about his knowledge of the incident.
OSU had thought firing Tressel would help, and the NCAA hit Tressel with the dreaded “show-cause” penalty for five years, meaning any school that wanted to hire him would have to show cause why they shouldn’t be punished also.
Before the NCAA had a chance to have their hearing, other violations came to light, pretty much putting the entire football program under a dark cloud of suspicion.
As it was, the NCAA hit OSU with extra penalties for their “failure to monitor” the program.
The penalties were enough to put the Buckeyes down for a while, but there could have been more done – especially after the other violations were discovered, like players getting too much pay for too little work.
The one thing that the NCAA should have dome but backed off of was the “lack of institutional control” penalty. That would have hit the program harder than just a bowl ban and a reduction in scholarships.
And speaking as an unbiased observer and not a Michigan fan, that penalty was warranted after all the violations continued to come to light about the program.
But like I was afraid of and had blogged about before, the NCAA couldn’t find it in them to hit one of their marquee programs hard enough. Heck, they even let two different coaching staffs work, as new coach Urban Meyer can put a staff together and recruit while interim coach Luke Fickel is allowed to coach OSU in their bowl game this year.
I’m sure all Michigan fans would have liked to see the Buckeyes get hit with an eternal bowl ban and be forced to lose to Michigan from now until Jesus’ second coming. But let’s be realistic here.
The NCAA did a good job of making sure OSU was punished for their acts of stupidity. But still, there was more warranted. It’s too bad the Buckeyes won’t see too much lasting harm in their program.