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NCAA Hammers OSU
December 21, 2011 - Al Stephenson
The NCAA finally handed down a decision for Ohio State's football program and it was not what Buckeye fans wanted or school officials expected. In addition to penalties that OSU self imposed, the NCAA added a bowl ban for next season and further reduction of scholarships. It was the bowl ban that has some fans howling, as athletic director Gene Smith kept assuring everyone that a ban was nothing more than a remote possibility.
Reactions to the punishment range from outrage for the severity to outrage for the leniency shown to Buckeye Nation. Just depends on who you talk to.
For my part (keep in mind that I am a Buckeye fan) I have no problem with the NCAA's decision. Though one could argue that the violations committed by OSU players were minor in nature (discounted tatoos, selling of memorabilia, etc.) and happen at most major colleges in the country, the fact that former coach Jim Tressel chose to sit on knowledge of the transgressions made this a major problem.
I simply have trouble accepting Tressel's excuse that he did not report the violations because he feared for the safety of his players. If I was the coach and the safety and welfare of my athletes was in question, the last thing I would do is remain silent.
I also have trouble with the handling of the whole affair by Smith and University President Gordon Gee. The "I hope he doesn't fire me" line still makes me cringe.
The view from my seat suggests that Ohio State was guilty. It's now time to accept the punishment and move forward - with or without the current A.D. and President.
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