The Ohio State University today announced that the institution and the NCAA enforcement staff have completed their joint investigation into the remaining matters not part of the NCAA's Committee on hearing Aug. 12. As a result, the university has received a supplemental Notice of Allegations from the NCAA and has submitted its response. The filing of this response completes the university's submissions to the committee. The university is hopeful that the Committee on Infractions will review these materials and render its final decision in the near future.
The recent notice from the NCAA had two allegations. The first was related to the "extra benefits" violations discovered through a joint investigation with the NCAA and publicly announced by the university Sept. 1 and Oct. 3 involving Robert DiGeronimo, who at the time was a representative of the institution's athletics interests (also known as a "booster"). In February 2011, he arranged for cash payments of $200 each to four current or former student-athletes at an annual charity event for a nonprofit organization of which DiGeronimo was a board member. Additionally, the student-athletes attended the event without written approval from the athletics director or his designee. Further, DiGeronimo arranged for five student-athletes to be overcompensated by a total of $1,605 while they were employed by businesses owned and operated by the DiGeronimo family.
The second allegation asserts that the institution took insufficient action to monitor DiGeronimo, resulting in a "failure to monitor" allegation, primarily due to DiGeronimo's overpayment to student-athlete employees and cash payments at the Cornerstone of Hope charitable event. This allegation only concerns a booster and does not relate to any of the issues discussed at the Aug. 12 Committee on Infractions hearing.
"Over the past three months, our athletics department staff has continued to work cooperatively with the NCAA to conclude our inquiry into the remaining items related to our football program," said athletics director Gene Smith. "Throughout the entire process since we discovered possible infractions, the athletics department has consistently worked with the NCAA to investigate any allegation, take responsibility, self-report its findings to the NCAA in a transparent manner, and take necessary remediation steps. That is what we have done on this last open issue, and we accept that we should have done more to oversee Mr. DiGeronimo's activities.
"We look forward to working with the staff and the Committee on Infractions to reach a timely resolution of the case. On a personal note, I deeply regret that I did not ensure the degree of monitoring our institution deserves and demands," Smith said.
As a result of the additional allegations, the university will self-impose a reduction of five scholarships over a three-year period beginning next year. Also, the university disassociated DiGeronimo Sept. 20 and is taking further steps to enhance its education and monitoring programs. This action is in addition to the self-imposed sanctions previously identified to the Committee on Infractions Aug. 12. Those include vacating the 2010 season (including the Sugar Bowl), vacating the 2010 Big Ten football championship, imposing a two-year probation period, seeking and accepting the resignation of then head football coach Jim Tressel, and forfeiting the university's share of the Big Ten's payment for having played in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.