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Web preview: Ohio State football team reaches ‘low spot’

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

The first in a series of NCAA violations by the Ohio State football team began in December 2010 when six football players were suspended for receiving improper benefits. Ten months have passed since Buckeye Nation was shaken by that scandal, though the football team’s run-ins with the NCAA have persisted.

Jim Tressel, a revered and successful figure in Buckeyes lore, was forced to resign as head coach, 10 players have been suspended and 11 have been investigated by the university and the NCAA for their involvement in three separate incidents. The most recent offense was revealed on Tuesday when athletic director Gene Smith informed the assembled media that current and past members of the team had been excessively compensated for work they did not do.

In light of the current state of the program, Buckeyes football historian Jack Park said he can’t help but wonder what is next for OSU’s embattled football team.

“I can tell you that in all the years I’ve been covering Ohio State football this is probably the low spot,” said Park, who has covered the team since the 1960s. “This doesn’t look very good, that’s for sure. I’m just disappointed that we have to be going through this.”

Park’s disappointment stems from the “Tattoo-gate” scandal that was unearthed days before OSU was set to compete in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. Former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, DeVier Posey, Dan “Boom” Herron, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas and Jordan Whiting were suspended for selling OSU football merchandise and keepsakes in exchange for improper benefits in the form of tattoos.

Then came wave after wave of embarrassing moments for the program.

Tressel’s forced resignation came in late May as a result of mounting pressure as he did not self-report the violations of the six players. Just days later on June 7, Pryor departed the university to pursue a professional career.

As the Buckeyes’ 2011 season approached and focus began to shift back toward on-field matters, three more players — Jordan Hall, Travis Howard and Corey Brown — were suspended for receiving impermissible benefits amounting to $200 each at a Cleveland charity event in February.

The season continues to progress, but the NCAA calamity has remained as Posey, Herron and Marcus Hall’s suspensions were announced by Smith on Tuesday.

Park said he didn’t understand Smith’s explanation during the Tuesday press conference.

“I didn’t understand how all of this can all be going on and it’s always on the individual,” Park said. “I just don’t have a good feel for what’s going on here.”

Michael L. Buckner, whose law firm specializes in college sports law, understands what’s been going on, and said the football team, the university and Smith should all be concerned.

For the rest of this article, read Monday’s edition of The Lantern.

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