COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State’s 2010 Big Ten championship, its 12-1 season, its victories over rival Michigan and in the Sugar Bowl – all gone. Coach Jim Tressel is out and so is star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Left behind: two years of self-imposed probation.
The question now is whether it will be enough to save Ohio State football from more severe penalties in an upcoming trip to see the NCAA committee on infractions.
In response to NCAA violations committed by football players who traded autographs and memorabilia for cash and tattoos – and by a coach who covered it up – Ohio State issued its official response on Friday. Athletic director Gene Smith hoped it would appease the NCAA ethics police.
The measures taken by the school included vacating all the Buckeyes’ wins from last season, a year in which Ohio State captured a record-tying sixth straight Big Ten title and won an unprecedented seventh straight game over Michigan.
“All I know is that this is significant,” Smith said. “A lot of people may not view it that way externally, but this is significant. When you think about all the other athletes who participated in those games, those records will be gone. …
“Might the NCAA do more? I just can’t speculate on that.”
Tressel found out in April 2010 that his players were taking improper benefits from a local tattoo-parlor owner. Despite contractual and NCAA obligations to report it, he didn’t tell anyone at the university or the NCAA for more than nine months.
And what was just a five-game suspension for five players suddenly blossomed into a major violation that included a coach knowingly playing ineligible players throughout the 2010 season.