Ohio State self-reported 47 minor Big Ten and NCAA rules violations in 2014, including one as the result of an accidental text sent by a football coach’s 4-year-old son.
OSU wide receivers coach Zach Smith’s son picked up his father’s cell phone when a recruit called on May 27, and accidentally sent an automatic text message in return. The university sent a letter of education to the football coaches after the incident in regards to NCAA texting rules and phone security.
The NCAA did not review the case as part of its interpretations philosophy, which allows for flexibility when reviewing rule violations.
This information is the result of three separate public records requests submitted by The Lantern.
The most recent request spanned from Sept. 1 through Jan. 18. The records request showed 19 self-reported NCAA and Big Ten violations in the final four months of the year.
Of those 19 violations, only two involved the OSU football program, and none involved the men’s basketball team.
Apart from the accidental text message from Smith’s son, the only other football violation was for “impermissible on-campus contact,” submitted to the NCAA on Sept. 25. That incident involved coach Urban Meyer having “inadvertent contact with a junior college non-qualifier.” That junior college athlete was on campus without the knowledge of the OSU staff, according to the records request.
OSU declared the athlete ineligible until he was reinstated by the NCAA. The records did not specify any actions by the NCAA.
Eighteen of the final 19 violations of 2014 were for NCAA rules, and only one prompted punishment from the NCAA beyond what was handed down by the university. As reported by The Lantern on Oct. 14, the NCAA imposed two $500 fines on OSU after an ineligible men’s soccer player competed in two matches.
Apart from the soccer violation, three violations had monetary consequences.
A member of the field hockey team took part in 17 games during the 2013-14 school year even though she was ineligible. The school paid $5,000 in fines and declared the student-athlete ineligible for field hockey going forward.
One member of the OSU wrestling team inadvertently received school books during Fall Semester because his name “incorrectly appeared on the institution’s book list.” The NCAA reinstatement staff said the student-athlete must repay the value of the books before being reinstated, which was the same decision made by the university in the case.
Members of the women’s tennis team were required to repay $28 after the program provided them with impermissible per diem on two occasions.
Since Sept. 1, 12 different OSU programs self-reported violations, with football, men’s soccer, wrestling, field hockey, men’s gymnastics and women’s volleyball reporting two each. The OSU athletics communication staff also self-reported a violation of its own for “impermissible publicity of voluntary summer workouts.”
Through Jan. 18, OSU athletics had only self-reported one NCAA violation and no Big Ten violations.
The NCAA violation was for impermissible text messages and phone calls, reported by the football program on Jan. 7. The violation was the result of six accidental one-minute phone calls and five text messages over a span of 10 months. The university prevented the football coaching staff from making phone calls for one week as a punishment, and the NCAA decided not to impose any further sanctions.
The three records requests submitted by The Lantern showed eight total football violations in 2014, along with the first OSU violation of 2015.
The first request was submitted July 8 and fulfilled Aug. 11, the second was submitted Sept. 23 and fulfilled Oct. 14, and the third was submitted Jan. 18 and fulfilled Thursday evening.