Ohio State still under scrutiny
INDIANAPOLIS -- As Ohio State heads into its Friday meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions, it appears the university's dealings with the NCAA over problems within its football program will not end there.
The NCAA notified Ohio State by letter last week that it is still investigating other issues involving the program.
The result could be a second notice of allegations and a second trip through the NCAA justice system.
OSU spokesman Jim Lynch said president Gordon Gee got a letter from the NCAA on July 13 (ESPN.com had originally reported the date as Aug. 3, but that was a different letter related to the Aug. 12 hearing before the Committee on Infractions) but that it said "absolutely nothing about additional allegations."
"The university has not received any additional allegations from the NCAA." Lynch said. "As a member institution, we are committed to working together with the NCAA to examine any information concerning potential violations of NCAA legislation. We do not anticipate discussing any additional allegations with the Committee on Infractions on Friday other than those self reported in March, 2011."
In its July 21 official case summary, the NCAA enforcement staff notified Ohio State that it was not charging the school with the serious "failure to monitor" charge at its hearing Friday as a result of violations related to memorabilia sold to a local tattoo parlor owner. The staff concluded that the charge, which can bring heavy penalties, was "unwarranted" due to the athletic department's efforts in educating players and coaches about NCAA rules about extra benefits. However, NCAA protocol does allow for the Committee on Infractions to add penalties if it sees fit. The July 21 case summary also addressed only the allegations related to the tattoo parlor -- no statement was made in the NCAA's 17-page report about the status of any the other allegations that have come forth since scandal erupted.
There have been multiple media reports that came out after the school received its notice of allegations April 25. That notice alleged that then-Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel committed ethical misconduct, among other charges.
Among the reports since then: an ESPN "Outside The Lines" story alleging that former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was paid thousands of dollars in exchange for signed gear by local memorabilia collector, photographer and Buckeyes fan Dennis Talbott; an "OTL" report about Pryor and other Buckeyes playing free rounds of golf with Talbott at a Columbus-area country club; and a Columbus Dispatch report that scrutinized dozens of automobile sales to Ohio State athletes and family members from a pair of Columbus-area dealerships.
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ESPN.com college football reporter Pat Forde says the NCAA is continuing its investigation of Ohio State and talks about the potential of a second round of allegations and penalties.
If any of those reports are verified by NCAA investigators, they could result in additional major allegations against the school.
In the wake of those media reports, there was speculation that the Committee on Infractions might postpone Ohio State's scheduled hearing. That did not happen, but it does not signal an end to the process.
When Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch was questioned last week specifically about Talbott by ESPN's Tom Farrey, his response indicated that the investigation of the football program is ongoing.
"... We will not be able to discuss details of our active investigation with the NCAA until the matter has been resolved," Lynch wrote in an email to Farrey.
Also Wednesday, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told The Associated Press in an email that the NCAA investigation has cost the school's athletic department about $800,000. The AP reported that Smith declined to discuss the investigation other than to confirm the cost, which he said was about $800,000 "at this point."
Pat Forde is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN's Tom Farrey and The Associated Press is included in this report.
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