COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State players broke the rules and got to play in the Sugar Bowl anyway. Jim Tressel knew about infractions and let it all happen.
Now the Buckeyes and new coach Urban Meyer will pay.
The NCAA hit Ohio State with a one-year bowl ban and additional penalties Tuesday for violations that started with eight players taking a total of $14,000 in cash and tattoos in exchange for Buckeyes memorabilia.
Tressel was tipped to the violations in April 2010 but didn’t tell anyone – even after the athletes got caught last December but were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas if they served suspensions to start the 2011 season. Among those in the group: starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor and leading rusher Daniel “Boom” Herron.
Tressel’s silence damaged Ohio State in the eyes of the NCAA and the result is that the Buckeyes, with a plum 2012 schedule and perhaps college football’s best coach in Meyer, will watch next year’s bowl games on TV.
Forced out in May and now on the staff of the Indianapolis Colts, Tressel was called out by the NCAA for unethical conduct and will have a hard time coaching at the college level again.
Under a show-cause order, any school that hired Tressel would have to present its case for why it needed to employ him, and would risk severe penalties if he were to commit any further infractions after that.
The NCAA also issued a public reprimand and censure, put the Buckeyes on probation through Dec. 19, 2014, and reduced football scholarships from 85 to 82 through the 2014-15 academic year.