Frankly it was too much. Here’s why.
The players involved were all punished, yes all. Including Terrelle Pryor, who ran away from trouble the NCAA imposed. Pryor circumvented the NFL rules to enter the league, but he sat out the first 5 games. This was the same penalty he would have received at Ohio State.
Dan Heron, Devier Posey and Marcus Hall each paid their price of flesh to the NCAA. Posey and Heron TWICE! The first time the NCAA knew what happened and allowed the trio to play in the Sugar Bowl because the loss of those players may have cost the “governing body” money. The second wasn’t as apparent.
OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith, who will be gone within 6 months, laid down and allowed the NCAA to roll over him. He allowed a booster in Bob DeGeronimo, who had worked with Earle Bruce, John Cooper and Jim Tressell without an incident, to be vilified by the NCAA. They accused DeGeronimo of overpaying Posey and Heron on a summer job over three years. An attorney in Cleveland, Larry James, submitted proof the payments were legitimate to Posey and Heron. The NCAA refused to acknowledge the evidence and re-interviewed the players without ANY representation.
As DeGeronimo once said during an interview with a Cleveland radio station, even if you used the numbers the NCAA admitted into evidence the ruling was uncalled for. These players were supposedly overpaid over a three year period for a total of $85 per year. Plus all the NCAA had on Posey was cell phone records, something the attorney explained yet the NCAA wouldn’t admit. This travesty was followed by Heron being suspended one more game, and Posey 5 more.
This type of “Gestapo” arrangement with the University Presidents is not only un-American but in violation of the Constitution. Yes, it can be said. The NCAA rules with an Iron fist and no concern of proper rights every person has in this country.
What is amazing is the comparison of the Ohio State case to the USC debacle. There is nothing even close in the two incidents. As stated in other articles, Ohio State did not buy a house for anyone, or a car, or pay anyone to come to Ohio State. These are all infractions USC committed and they are fraught with breaking the rules the NCAA was built upon.
In essence, Reggie Bush received over $750,000 in money and benefits, plus a Heisman Trophy. The five players COMBINED at Ohio State received around $2500 total. That amount pales to what Bush did. USC was cited for the “Failure of Institutional Control”, yet coach Pete Carroll was not named at all. Tressell cannot coach in college football for 5 years. USC had to disassociate themselves from Bush, OSU wants to keep Pryor off campus. Those are the true comparisons.
Many advocated OSU self impose a bowl ban this season. But Gene Smith again made the wrong decision and will allow the Buckeyes to face off with Florida. Smith has made so many mistakes during this incident, an argument could be made Tressell made the right call not informing him of the infamous email. Smith has proven to be a bumbling mistake happy man just thrilled to still have his job.
The Ohio State penalty was a joke for the amounts and what happened. Tressell lost his job, Smith will soon lose his, and the players responsible already accepted and paid their penance. This penalty only serves as an imposition on current and future players who had nothing to do with a situation everyone, including the NCAA (see 2011 Sugar Bowl), played a part in.
It will be interesting to see what the NCAA does to Miami of Florida and the massive amounts of money that were passed onto the players and school. Also what they will do to Penn State, which is entirely on the administration. The classic example of Failure of Institutional Control. And we have seen the NCAA do nothing to Notre Dame in the case of a student falling to his death because nobody could admit filming a practice was more important than the existing weather.
The players are gone, the situation is over. Ohio State has a new head coach in Urban Meyer and the school will come out on the other side as a winner. The NCAA is another story.