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Commentary: Ohio State compliance becoming more effective in monitoring violations

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

The story of NCAA rule violations happening within Ohio State athletics has not come to an end.
Forty-six secondary violations have been self-reported to the NCAA by the OSU athletic department since May 30, 2011, the day that former football coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign. However, the OSU Athletic Compliance Office has done a much more effective job in that time frame of monitoring violations by their athletic teams.
The violations vary in nature from current OSU football coach Urban Meyer speaking to then-prospective student-athlete Noah Spence prior to a high school playoff game, to men’s basketball video coordinator Greg Paulus acting as a coach during games. That said, the violations were far from being limited to revenue-generating sports. Violations were reported from 21 total OSU teams.
Some of the reported violations make the NCAA’s rule book look ridiculous, such as running backs coach Stan Drayton’s violation for incidentally sending a text message to a recruit instead of an email, or the women’s volleyball team violation for each player receiving $10 in “snack money” during a road trip. However, OSU’s reporting of even such minor violations shows that they have finally started to take adhering to NCAA rules seriously.
In recent history, OSU has faced serious consequences for major NCAA violations.
As a result of the 2010 scandal where five football players were suspended five games for selling memorabilia for tattoos, OSU football also received a one-year postseason ban which will take effect in the 2012 season, lost a total of nine scholarships over three years and vacated their complete results from the 2010 season.
In 2004, men’s basketball coach Jim O’Brien was fired as a result of covering up a $6,000 loan given to prospective student-athlete Aleksandar Radojevic. This sparked an investigation which turned up improper benefits received by another former basketball player, Boban Savovic. As a result, the team was placed on three years’ probation and the team was required to vacate all of its results from 1999-2002.
From the outside looking into the OSU athletic department, it appears that honesty has become the new policy. While it is quite possible that further violations have been committed since May 30, 2011, but have gone unreported, the fact that OSU coaches and athletic staff members have been forthright in reporting even minor violations shows that the team is not trying to take any chances with being punished seriously by the NCAA again.
Most of these violations did not come with any serious consequences for OSU, but one violation that did stand out were the payments that five football players received from booster Bobby DiGeronimo for uncompleted work. As a result of those improper benefits, wide receiver DeVier Posey received a five-game suspension last season, while running back Daniel “Boom” Herron and offensive lineman Marcus Hall also received one-game suspensions. If OSU was trying to skirt the law of the NCAA, they would not have come forward with violations that carried significant consequences in their aftermath.
The stain that has appeared prominently upon the reputation of OSU athletics will take time to fade, and self-reporting 46 violations in less than a full year’s time does not help. However, mistakes are frequently made in NCAA athletic programs across the nation. The good news for OSU is that their athletic compliance office, who was heavily criticized for failing to crack down on athlete violations in the past, has done its job over the past year to report further mistakes that have been made.

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