Thomas Bradley/ Campus Editor
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith has prepared videos for visiting recruits before, but the video he made for prospective football student-athlete Ezekiel Elliott was one he might like to take back. Smith’s video resulted in one of 46 violations that the athletic department self-reported to the NCAA since May 30, 2011.
OSU released documents this week detailing the violations that have occurred since the day former Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign from his job. The violations, including the video Smith prepared with two-time Heisman Trophy winner and university alumni association president Archie Griffin, were attributed to 21 of the department’s 36 teams.
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 an 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 was not immediately available to respond to The Lantern‘s request for comment.
Elliott, a St. Louis, Mo., native has verbally committed to OSU, according to Rivals.com.
First-year OSU football coach Urban Meyer was hit with a secondary violation while recruiting when he said “good luck” to Noah Spence, then a prospective OSU student-athlete, prior to a Dec. 16 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association playoff game.
The documents released by OSU, first reported on by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, included a print-out of a Harrisburg Patriot-News story that featured a photo of Meyer speaking with a fully-padded Spence on the sidelines.
Smith, Griffin and Meyer weren’t alone in their missteps – teams that committed violations included football, men’s basketball, women’s hockey, rifle, men’s lacrosse, women’s rowing, field hockey, women’s lacrosse, women’s volleyball, wrestling, men’s gymnastics, men’s soccer and men’s track and field.
Athletic department spokesman Dan Wallenberg said the department has “consistently” led the Big Ten in self-reported violations as part of an effort to administer an athletics program consistent with the NCAA and the university.
“Ohio State has 36 varsity sports, while the average number of sports offered by the remaining 11 Big Ten institutions is 22,” Wallenberg said in an email. “In addition, athletics staff and coaches at Ohio State have embraced the culture of identifying (as required under NCAA rules) even the smallest violation, investigating the matter and educating those involved.
“The records released today are consistent with the size of Ohio State’s program, the NCAA rules and the culture within the Department of Athletics to look aggressively for any actions that may have violated NCAA policy.”