In looking at the NOA that the NCAA sent to Ohio State one thing stands out...
This is all about Jim Tressel and NOT the Ohio State University.
Tressel is basically being called a liar while the school is hardly accused of anything....at least for now.
While we all know the charges against Tressel there are some things that stand out that the school should be concerned about.
Compliance should be an issue....
But will it?
Ohio State has boasted one of the biggest compliance offices in all of D-1 yet one of the things that got the ball rolling on this was the compliance office admitting to not properly educating their players about the basic bylaw of not selling ones property. In the rushed, cursory investigation Ohio State Compliance missed TWELVE e-mails between Tressel and Chris Cicero, the attorney that reached out to Tressel about the tattooed five in the Spring of 2010.
So much for being complete...and the NCAA keeps the "failure to monitor" or the "lack of institutional control" charge of the table?
Isn't the role of the compliance office to monitor?
Wasn't USC's compliance office hammered for not obtaining ONE signature for Reggie Bush's car?
I realize that it is next to impossible to make comparisons between the two cases but the NCAA made a big deal about compliance USC's woefully undermanned compliance office but to this point the same NCAA has said next to nothing about the biggest compliance office in all of D-1 lack of doing the basics when educating their players.
Ohio State Compliance was tipped off by Tressel in December about him being contacted regarding the players violations, yet Tressel stated it was by someone he couldn't recall?
Seems to me that the first logical place you would dig is in someones email or cellphone records. That is the first place I would look and yet they missed not one, not two or even three e-mails...no, they missed TWELVE.
That is pretty weak for one of the countries biggest compliance departments, especially one that has "self-reported" over 350 secondary violations under Jim Tressel.
Todd McNair was issued a show cause order because he didn't report (or should have known) Reggie Bush's relationship with Lloyd Lake. McNair didn't find out about this information until AFTER Reggie's last game at USC. McNair didn't lie, he just didn't report it. Tressel at first didn't report the violations of the tattooed five when contacted by Cicero but he then lied about it when he signed the NCAA's compliance form about not knowing about any violations.
Tressel's 10.1 violation is far worse than anything McNair was ever accused of, let alone cited for. Tressel had the ability to prevent ineligible players from participating, and never stopped it. Ohio State was able to then go on and win the Big Ten, and then play for a huge BCS payout, all because of his lies and obfuscation.
In other words, no ineligible player was purposefully allowed to play because of McNair's inaction. Tressel willfully hid the truth to let his star player(s) play through the season and then the school in concert with the Big 10 conference double-dealed the NCAA to delay their 5-game suspension in order to let them play in the Sugar Bowl.
And Ohio State will get to keep the money for that game.
Oh sure, the possibility of repeat offender status is still on the table but if they don't play that card then it is clear that NCAA is nothing more than a good ol' boy network that allows certain schools to skirt the rules. The NCAA clearly misinterpreted its own rules thus deferring the suspension to allow the tattooed five to play in a bowl game...I believe the term used was "unique opportunities".
Remeber what I said above about this not being about Ohio State but more about Tressel? The NCAA supposedly imputes the actions of the coach on to the University. If Ohio State is allowed to avoid the bulk of the consequences for Tressel's actions, then the NCAA needs to immediately change their own bylaws, which claims the coach IS the University in their eyes.
For what it is worth, here is Bruce Feldman's take...
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The term often applied to all these cases of late is "apples and oranges". In the long view that is probably true. USC was hit on multiple fronts (bogus or not) and it was clear the NCAA sent a message because they didn't like our perceived arrogance.
To this point this is only a football issue at Ohio State...we had the Mayo mess, the Papdakis dinners, the extra coach on the payroll, the extra phone calls etc. The NCAA clearly looked for anything it could to pile up the charges against USC. But even with all that not one single person at USC did anything close to what Tressel is accused of doing.
How the Terrell Pryor relationship with Sarniak plays out will be another interesting thing to keep an eye on...I think there is more there that could come out.
The NCAA has already shown what they think about being lied to so it is hard to believe that they won't look at what Tressel did in the same light as a Dez Bryant or Bruce Pearl.
Most important to me is this (as I mentioned above)...if the NCAA sees the coach as an extension of the school then I have a hard time seeing how they COULD NOT level and LOIC charge against Ohio State, especially if they are in repeat offender territory. The head coach of the football team is the head compliance officer!
But I am not optimistic...
I actually think this bad for USC. Even though it looks like they fast tracked the Tressel charges, The NCAA will rule on our appeal before they hear Ohio State's case in August. I see the NCAA doing nothing to give USC relief (not that I thought they would to begin with) and then address Tressel's mess on its own "merits" giving Ohio State an out. You can see it being set up that way.
The missing LOIC charge does it for me. And there are rumors that Tressel is falling on his sword to protect the higher ups...take that for what it is worth.
Tressel is a dead man walking, but without an LOIC charge the institution will emerge virtually unscathed. And that is part of the crime...a lot of things happened on Tressel's watch (the Troy Smith issue and claims made by Maurice Clarett) and the basketball issues that could put Ohio State in a possible repeat offender status will probably be ignored, resulting in the same cronyism that we have seen time and again of the past six to eight months.
Once again the NCAA has no standards and remains unchecked...