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Ohio State students react to athletic department’s latest NCAA issues

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

Ohio State has released information regarding 12 secondary NCAA issues being processed by the athletic department’s compliance office. The release contained information that contradicted previous statements from the athletic department, and some OSU students don’t hold athletic director Gene Smith responsible for the pending violations either.
Smith said there were 12 pending secondary violations during a Tuesday interview with The Lantern. OSU spokesman Dan Wallenberg later said in a Wednesday email that the actual number of violations was less than 12.
Wallenberg did confirm that the additional violations are being “processed,” although he said he did not “know the status of each situation” in regards to whether it was being processed by the university or the NCAA.
A Thursday release from Smith also said the OSU football program was not cited for any of the pending NCAA issues, but the most recent release lists for potential violations by the football team.
In the statement, Smith said the football team was facing no violations. However, Wallenberg clarified that Smith said there were no major violations regarding the football team.
Other teams listed as having possibly committed secondary violations include the women’s hockey, baseball, men’s tennis, field hockey and men’s gymnastics teams.
There were also two “institutional violations” listed in OSU’s Thursday afternoon release which brought the total number of pending issues to 12 – the number Smith originally said.
Smith told The Lantern Tuesday the athletic department has 12 pending NCAA violations.
“We’ve got 12 pending,” Smith said. “It may turn out to be secondary. It may not.”
Smith clarified in a Thursday morning phone call that the potential violations would either be secondary or nothing at all.
OSU’s most recent email containing details of the 12 NCAA issues also contained comment for Chad Hawley, Big Ten Conference associate commissioner for compliance, which was first obtained by The Lantern.
In a Tuesday email to The Lantern, 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.”
Student reaction to the events of the day was varied.
Matt Baird, a third-year in electrical and computer engineering, said he isn’t surprised by the revelation of additional offenses, and didn’t blame Smith alone for the offenses.
“With a big university, it’s kind of expected for a high amount of allegations,” Baird said. “It’s kind of out of Gene Smith’s hand.”
Carter Pilbeam, a fourth-year in history, agreed.h
“Do you know what is considered an offense? Some of them are really dumb, like chewing tobacco,” Pilbeam said. “A lot of it is all bulls—. I’m sure it happens everywhere.”
There also exists a faction of OSU students that said they believe too many errors have occurred on Smith’s watch.
Jason Mertens, a fourth-year in science and technology exploration, said he is concerned about the university’s image following the violations that have come to light in the last week.
“(Gene Smith’s) brought a lot of recognition for OSU, but not all of it is good recognition,” Mertens said. “So, the real question is: what do we do about our image?”
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).”
Kat Niu and Alex Warren contributed to this story. 


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