Your regular lunch links are simmering as I type, but there has been substantial reaction to the penalties Ohio State received from the NCAA on Tuesday. You can check out all of ESPN.com's coverage here.
Here's a roundup:
Colleague Mark Schlabach: "It might not be a new day for the NCAA, but it's certainly a breath of fresh air. Even a program like Ohio State isn't immune from paying the price for its sins."
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto: "If you are an Ohio State fan, you should be angry today -- not at the NCAA, but at athletic director Gene Smith and the school's athletic administration."
The Columbus Dispatch's Bill Rabinowitz: "Whatever misfortune and obstacles the Buckeyes faced in going 6-6 this fall, they didn’t enter the season with a ceiling on their expectations. One of coach Luke Fickell's rallying cries was that despite the adversity, the Buckeyes’ goals hadn’t changed. Next year's goals must."
The Detroit Free Press' Drew Sharp: "When the klieg lights went dark, they popped champagne corks in Columbus on Tuesday night. Forget the tattoos. They got away with a questionable 10-year relationship with a rogue booster who provided players with impermissible benefits."
The New York Times' Pete Thamel: "The fact that Ohio State did not self-impose a bowl ban this season, in the wake of firing Tressel and dealing with a slew of suspensions that handicapped the team, showed the university’s confidence that the penalties would not be this significant. Smith said he arrived at the decision based on precedent and three consultants used by the university."
The News-Herald's John Kampf: "It took the Buckeyes pretty much a calendar year, but they got it right by, in essence, saying they will collectively sit down, shut up and take their proverbial medicine. Wouldn't it have been a lot easier to have done this, say, last December? Or in any month since?"
SI.com's Andy Staples: "The next football coach at the University of Akron is ... Jim Tressel. I know this sounds crazy, Tom, but hear me out. Sure, Tressel knowingly played ineligible players for an entire season and lied about it to the NCAA. Sure, cheating and lying are bad. But do you know what else he did? He won. And the Zips need to start doing some of that."
Yahoo! Sports' Matt Hinton: "Today's response was hardly a slap on the wrist. But compared to the book the committee threw at USC for lesser offenses, it is… well, it's a significantly smaller book: A one-year bowl ban as opposed to two, nine suspended scholarships as opposed to thirty. In another year or two, USC's roster will be slashed by a full third of its usual depth. Under Tressel, Ohio State consistently operated well under the NCAA's maximum scholarship caps, anyway -- from 2008 to 2010, in fact, the Buckeyes used 11 fewer scholarships on new recruits than they were allowed in those three recruiting classes, with no sanctions in sight. The double standard is obvious enough. And the reason is just as clear: The NCAA is significantly less concerned with actions that is with reactions."
CBSsports.com's Dennis Dodd: "The NCAA showed some stones a lot of us didn't know it had. The bowl ban was unexpected. Experts were predicting there would be no such penalty. This one hurts in Urban Meyer's first season. But only his first season."
The Sporting News' Matt Hayes: "They're elated in Columbus. Elated that after a year through the NCAA and public perception ringer, this is what it boils down to: The university fired a coach who was close to retiring anyway, and hired the best coach in the college game as his replacement. Now that's hitting the sweet spot."
The Los Angeles Daily News' Scott Wolf: "The Ohio State University president Gordon Gee and athletic director Gene Smith used their well-known political instincts and served up former coach Jim Tressel as the scapegoat the NCAA needed. USC offered a tone-deaf athletic director (Mike Garrett) and a sports-knowledge impaired president (Steven Sample) during a torturous investigation process."
FoxSportsOhio.com's Bruce Hooley: "The NCAA's imposition yesterday of a one-year bowl ban, additional scholarship sanctions and three years probation finally ends a scandal at Ohio State that Tressel turned from a mole hill into a mountain. All of that could have easily been avoided had Tressel come clean right away with knowledge of player misconduct that was no more than a simple secondary violation of NCAA rules."
SI.com's Stewart Mandel: "It's possible the Ohio State case will replace USC as the new baseline for those cases. Personally, I think Tuesday's ruling was perfectly reasonable. Neither a one-year bowl nor nine docked scholarships will cripple the program, but preemptively rendering Urban Meyer's first team ineligible for the Big Ten title is no slap on the wrist, either."