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OSU to forfeit its share of Big Ten payment from Sugar Bowl

Jessica Shambaugh / Copy chief

INDIANAPOLIS– Ohio State announced its decision to forfeit its share of the Big Ten’s payment for playing in the 2011 Sugar Bowl, athletic director Gene Smith said after OSU’s meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

The highly-anticipated meeting, which took place in the downtown Marriott in Indianapolis Friday, lasted about four hours and let out around 12:45 p.m.

President E. Gordon Gee, athletic director Gene Smith, director of compliance Doug Archie, coach Luke Fickell, faculty athletics representative and psychology professor, Dr. John Bruno, and Chris Culley and Julie Vanatta from the university’s Office of Legal Affairs counsel attended the Friday meeting.

In addition to forfeiting its $388,811 share in the Big Ten’s payment for the Sugar Bowl, OSU has already administered self-imposed penalties, which include vacating the 2010 season and Sugar Bowl victory and a two-year NCAA probationary term.

Four OSU football players — DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Dan Herron and Solomon Thomas — are also suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season after selling Buckeye football memorabilia in exchange for improper benefits in the form of tattoos. Linebacker Jordan Whiting received a one-game ban.

Former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor had also received a five-game suspension before departing the university on June 7 to pursue a professional career.

With the ball now in the NCAA’s court, OSU students, faculty, staff and the rest of Buckeye Nation await the Committee’s ruling.

Smith made a closing statement stating that the university expects the committee’s report in eight to 12 weeks.

Smith said the committee had many questions about the case.

“As expected, the committee had numerous relevant questions about the issues in the case, which I believe the institution answered thoroughly and thoughtfully,” Smith said in the statement.

Smith also said the university plans to continue working with the NCAA until the issues surrounding OSU are resolved.

“Following this hearing, we will be working with the NCAA staff to move forward to wrap up our inquiry into any remaining issues,” Smith said. “…We now look forward to working together so that we can conclude this follow-up work as quickly as possible.”

Gee, who declined to comment after the meeting but released a statement which said he felt OSU was treated fairly and that the committee gave them “ample time to share their perspective.”

Former coach Jim Tressel, who was forced to resign due to mounting pressure after failing to self-report NCAA infractions, also attended.

Tressel also released a statement, saying the meeting was constructive. He also apologized once again to Buckeye Nation.

“Again, I would like to apologize to the Buckeye Nation, most especially to the players, staff and fans who remain so dear to me,” Tressel said in the statement.

Should the NCAA announce its final ruling during the eight to 12 week window Smith mentioned, the announcement would arrive sometime during a four-game stretch in which the Buckeyes travel to Nebraska and Illinois in consecutive weeks before hosting Wisconsin and Indiana. 

OSU opens the 2011 season on Sept. 3 at Ohio Stadium against the Akron Zips.

Stay tuned to thelantern.com for more updates.

Pat Brennan contributed to this story.

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