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Tressel sanctions based on past cases

One hundred twenty minutes of game time.

Two weeks of actual time.

Sept. 3, and Sept. 10.

However you look at it, Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel is suspended for the first two games of the 2011 season. How the university determined that number, along with the $250,000 fine levied against the coach, is less clear.

“We work with consultants, The Compliance Group, and we look at precedence in cases that have occurred over the years,” athletic director Gene Smith said during Tuesday’s press conference.

TCG, which OSU contacted Jan. 21, provides “compliance services to intercollegiate athletics departments and conference offices,” according to its website.

TCG counts 45 Division I schools on its client list, 12 of which are from BCS conferences and two of which — Wisconsin and Michigan — reside in the Big Ten.

“We wanted to make sure we had, at our disposal, people who had been through this type of case before,” Smith said.

That TCG and OSU based these sanctions on previous NCAA investigations, the case requires some context.

When former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez violated NCAA rules by having too many coaches on staff and by allowing his team to practice too many hours, the program was put on probation for more than a year and practice time was reduced. The coach received no direct punishments.

In Division I basketball, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun has been suspended for three Big East games — less than 10 percent of his team’s games — next season for over-contacting recruits with text messages and phone calls.

Tennessee suspended basketball coach Bruce Pearl for eight SEC games this season and fined him $1.5 million for lying about having recruits at his home. The eight games are just more than 25 percent of the Volunteers’ schedule.

It seems that OSU and TCG have determined Tressel’s violation to be less severe than those of Pearl, but more so than those of Rodriguez and Calhoun.

The two-game suspension makes up almost 17 percent of the Buckeyes’ schedule.

“We and come to kind of a sweet spot based upon this particular case. All cases aren’t exactly the same,” Smith said. “We just felt like the combination of a two-game suspension and the financial fine was kind of in line with cases that we were familiar with.”

If the NCAA agrees, Tressel will have to find a sweet spot on his couch for the first two games of next season.

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