Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BUCKEYES RECEIVE SANCTIONS, INCLUDING A ONE-YEAR BOWL BAN

COLUMBUS — After a year of investigations surrounding the Ohio State football team, the NCAA finally handed down punishment to the Buckeyes on Tuesday afternoon, sanctions which include a one-year bowl ban effective the coming season.

The NCAA also put the university on an additional one-year probation and imposed a nine-scholarship penalty that will span over the next three years. The punishments were handed down because of the university's lack of institutional control regarding improper benefits.

OSU director of athletics, Gene Smith, conveyed disappointment in the NCAA's decision Tuesday but said they would not appeal the ruling.

"We are surprised and disappointed with the NCAA's decision," Smith said. "However, we have decided not to appeal the decision because we need to move forward as an institution. We recognize that this is a challenging time in intercollegiate athletics. Institutions of higher education must move to higher ground, and Ohio State embraces its leadership responsibilities and affirms its long-standing commitment to excellence in education and integrity in all it does."

Smith said they are going to turn this negative into a positive.

"My primary concern, as always, is for our students, and this decision punishes future students for the actions of others in the past," Smith stated. "Knowing our student-athletes, however, I have no doubt in their capacity to turn this into something positive — for themselves and for the institution."

The bowl ban is the punishment the university had feared the most, especially after the hiring of new head coach Urban Meyer, who said when he took the job that he didn't think the school would face major sanctions.

The new Buckeyes' boss said Tuesday, however, that the NCAA's ruling will not change the way he plans to conduct business moving forward.

"It is still my goal to hire excellent coaches, recruit great student-athletes who want to be part of this program and to win on and off the field," Meyer said. "The NCAA penalties will serve as a reminder that the college experience does not include the behavior that led to these penalties.

"I expect all of us to work hard to teach and develop young student-athletes to grow responsibly and to become productive citizens in their communities upon graduation."

The Buckeyes are still scheduled to play the University of Florida on Jan. 2 in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville (Fla.).