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Gene Smith: More NCAA violations are pending

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

There are more NCAA violations on the horizon for Ohio State, and athletic director Gene Smith said he doesn’t know what the NCAA will make of them.

Smith told The Lantern Tuesday the athletic department has 12 pending NCAA violations, and he doesn’t know if they will be deemed primary or secondary violations.

“We’ve got 12 pending,” Smith said. “It may turn out to be secondary. It may not.”

OSU spokesman Dan Wallenberg said in a Wednesday email to The Lantern, that there were actually less than 12 pending violations. Wallenberg did confirm that the additional violations are being “processed,” although he did not “know the status of each situation” in regards to whether it was being processed by the university or the NCAA.

Smith’s mention of the additional violations to The Lantern comes less than a week after OSU released documents that revealed 46 self-reported secondary NCAA violations since May 30, 2011 – the day former Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign.

The violations made public last week were attributed to 21 of the university’s 36 varsity sports. Of the quantity and variety of violations that were made public last week, Smith told The Lantern, “For us, it’s natural.”

“On an annual basis, we have about 40 (violations),” Smith said during the Tuesday interview. “It ranges in that area we’re sitting at. In that 40 range is where we always hang.

“Our whole thing is if we have 10 (violations), I’d have a problem. I mean, I really would, because people are going to make mistakes. And that means if I only have 10 out of 350 employees (and) 1,000 athletes – something’s not right.”

Should OSU’s additional offenses be deemed secondary violations, it would add to the 46 from last week, bringing OSU closer to 60 violations since last May.

In a Tuesday email to The Lantern, Big Ten associate commissioner for compliance, Chad Hawley, credited OSU’s self-reporting processes, adding that the conference is “not concerned with the quantity of violations” OSU committed.

“Division I athletics is a highly regulated environment with a self-reporting requirement,” Hawley said in the email. “When it is clear that a violation has occurred, we expect our institutions to report the violation. Ohio State has a well-established practice of operating in this way.”

In a Wednesday email, Hawley said he did not wish to comment on OSU’s additional violations.

Smith attributed OSU’s violation’s to the athletic department’s size, saying, “We’re large.”

Teams involved with the NCAA violations included football, men’s basketball, field hockey, synchronized swimming, men’s and women’s track, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s golf, men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s gymnastics, rifle, women’s rowing, men’s swimming and diving, wrestling and women’s ice hockey.

All told, at least 11 OSU teams committed multiple violations.

OSU football compiled the most violations with nine. Buckeye football violations spanned across the coaching tenures of former coach Jim Tressel, former head coach and current defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and current head coach Urban Meyer.

Six OSU teams – field hockey, wrestling, men’s swimming and diving, women’s soccer, women’s tennis and women’s ice hockey – committed three violations. The men’s basketball, synchronized swimming, women’s lacrosse and women’s golf teams rounded out the list of teams with more than one offense.

The OSU athletics communications staff also committed one NCAA secondary violation categorized as “institutional,” which involved women’s basketball.

Smith said multiple offenses by individual teams is a concern of his, especially if the violations committed are in relation to recruiting.

“We worry … if we have one particular sport that violates recruiting rules,” Smith said. “That’s how we look at those. If you have a sport that recruits a large number of athletes, then you’re going to have more of those. If you have a smaller sport with 12 athletes, say women’s golf or men’s tennis or one of those – and they have a consistent number of recruiting violations, then we’ve got a problem.”

Smith was cited for breaking NCAA recruiting policy despite his distaste for recruiting infractions in particular.

Smith, along with two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, recorded a personal recruiting video for prospective football student-athlete Ezekiel Elliott. Smith and Griffin both missed Elliott’s unofficial visit while attending the OSU men’s basketball team’s Final Four appearance on March 31. Smith told The Lantern it was not the first time he had prepared video recruiting material, and does so when he is off campus.

“I have done videos before for recruits when I am traveling and coaches are hosting the recruits on campus,” Smith said in a Friday email to The Lantern. “But never for a specific recruit mentioning her/his name, which is where I made the mistake in the video.”

Griffin did not respond to The Lantern‘s request for comment.

Elliott, a St. Louis, Mo., native has verbally committed to OSU, according to Rivals.com.

A secondary NCAA violation is, “One that is isolated or inadvertent in nature, provides or is intended to provide only a minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantage and does not include any significant recruiting inducement or extra benefit. Most secondary cases are self-reported (either by the institution or through a conference office).”


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