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OSU vacates 12 wins; separates itself from Tressel

Lauren Hallow / Lantern photographer

Ohio State will vacate its 12 wins from the 2010-11 football season including the Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas as part of self-imposed penalties for violating NCAA rules. The penalty, which came in a 66-page response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations, did not recommend a post-season ban or a reduction of scholarships.

Ohio State also suggested it be put on probation for two years beginning on Friday.

The document puts most of the blame for the program’s NCAA troubles on Jim Tressel. The former coach was made aware that some of his players, including former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, had received improper benefits by selling team memorabilia and receiving discounts on tattoos, but failed to report the violations to the university or the NCAA.

In the document, OSU said it was “embarrassed by the actions of Tressel” and made clear he was the only coach or university official who was aware of the violation.

“While an institution is always responsible for the actions of its current and former employees,” the document said, “in this case, institutional responsibility is minimal, because, but for the knowledge of a former employee, the institution had no knowledge that a possible violation occurred.”

This point was restated later in the document: “The university emphasizes the distinction between the information available only to Tressel and the knowledge of other institutional officials regarding this matter.” 

OSU also “sought and received” Tressel’s resignation, although university officials previously said the coach known as The Vest and The Senator was not forced out. 

OSU agreed with the NCAA’s assertion that it was a repeat offender, saying “the university agrees that it is subject to the repeat violator legislation.” However, OSU contends that “repeat violator penalties are inappropriate” because the current violations aren’t similar to the previous infractions and all wrongdoing was isolated to the football program. 

The only new violation listed in the report is an additional unnamed player has been ruled ineligible for receiving discounts on tattoos. OSU has asked the NCAA to reinstate this player.

To prevent future violations, OSU pledged corrective measures to ensure integrity in the program. The university will increase the number of full-time workers on the compliance staff, distribute “rivalry” or championship apparel “upon completion of the student’s eligibility,” and have at least one member of the compliance staff accompany the team on road games. 

The team will also be prohibited from entering Fine Line Ink, the tattoo parlor where many OSU players received improper benefits, and having any association with the parlor’s former owner, Eddie Rife.

Rife pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges on June 28. 

All current players must show proof of championship rings, watches or any other memorabilia won because of their association with OSU.

The report will be reviewed and evaluated by the NCAA. If the NCAA deems the self-imposed penalties too soft, OSU could receive harsher penalties such a post-season ban or a reduction of scholarships after a hearing in front of the NCAA’s committee of infractions Aug. 12 in Indianapolis.

OSU starts its season on Sept. 3 against Akron. The Buckeyes will be led by new head coach, Luke Fickell.

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