Monday, November 28, 2011
Ohio State to learn NCAA fate soon
By Brian Bennett
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Nearly lost in all the hoopla surrounding Ohio State's hiring of Urban Meyer was the fact that the school expects its NCAA ruling within the next two weeks.
The NCAA informed the Buckeyes in its second notice of allegations on Nov. 3 that the school would have to reappear before the committee on infractions in early December. Ohio State, in its response, asked to have that expedited to this week via teleconference. Athletic director Gene Smith told ESPN.com Monday night that Ohio State was informed that it would not, in fact, have to state its case before the committee again, either in person or over the phone. And Smith said NCAA officials said they planned to issue a final ruling in the next 10 to 14 days.
While it's always tough to figure out what the NCAA is thinking or will do, this obviously sounds like good news for the Buckeyes. If Ohio State doesn't have to defend itself before the infractions committee again, then it sure seems like the committee is satisfied with the school's response to the second notice of allegations. And the Buckeyes must hope the committee is satisfied with the self-imposed penalties, which include the loss of five total scholarships in the next three years, vacating all wins in the 2010 season and firing coach Jim Tressel, among other actions.
Smith remains confident that a bowl ban -- which could affect this year's team but more likely would impact Meyer's first season in 2012 -- isn't coming.
"Obviously, we can't speculate on what they will do," Smith said. "All we can do is look at precedence, look at cases. We looked at cases from January 2007 that were similar to us and looked at rulings relative to those. That's actually what drove us to imposing some of the sanctions that we ultimately came up with.
"When you look at all previous cases, there's no precedences [for bowl bans]. There were a couple of those more egregious than ours. And I'm hopeful we won't have that."
Meyer said he did his own research on the case and asked several questions of Smith and Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee during the interview process. He wouldn't have taken the job if he weren't assured that the NCAA won't cripple his program with harsh sanctions.
"I have great trust and faith in our athletic director and president," he said. "At the end of the day I asked the same question you did: 'Is there anything behind Door No. 2, No. 3, No. 4? I feel very confident and have great trust that there's not. We'll have to deal with the scholarship issue, and I have great trust that we will and we'll move forward."