When Miami announced Sunday night that it would self-impose a bowl ban in response to an NCAA investigation, many soon turned their eyes to the Buckeyes of Ohio State.
Like Miami, Ohio State has been in hot water with the NCAA. And like Miami, Ohio State has a 6-5 record and isn't headed to a marquee bowl game. Miami's self-imposed penalty was widely seen as one that would go over well with the NCAA and its infractions committee. Colleague Arash Markazi pointed out on Twitter that had USC done the same thing in 2009, it would likely be playing in a BCS bowl this year rather than staying home for the postseason.
Why shouldn't Ohio State follow Miami's lead?
For starters, imposing a bowl ban would be inconsistent with Ohio State's approach to the NCAA violations. The school has been cooperative with the NCAA throughout the process -- a tactic that should help with penalties -- but it has maintained a minimize-until-forced-to-maximize strategy. Athletic director Gene Smith has been adamant that the school's issues are isolated incidents and not a systematic problem.
To suddenly announce a bowl ban would be a departure from the strategy. It would come across as a sign of fear and panic. Smith all along has said he doesn't believe the violations will merit a postseason ban. While Ohio State has been respectful and cooperative during the process, it has also placed the burden on the NCAA to prove how significant the violations are.
Also, Ohio State twice has self-imposed penalties for violations but not included a bowl ban. What has changed other than the team's loss total?
Not every NCAA infractions case is the same. The alleged violations at Miami are seen as much worse than what happened at Ohio State. While Ohio State could receive a bowl ban from the NCAA -- especially after receiving the failure to monitor charge with a second Notice of Allegations -- it's not a guarantee. A multiyear bowl ban seems highly unlikely.
While there's some risk involved in not imposing tougher penalties, Ohio State also could penalize itself more than the NCAA would have.
While some are surprised Ohio State hasn't followed Miami's lead, the real surprise would be if it did.