The NCAA announced sanctions against Ohio State's football program on Tuesday for violations stemming back to 2008 in which student-athletes received cash in exchange for memorabilia. The penalties include a one-year bowl ban, a reduction in football scholarships from 85 to 82 through the 2014-15 academic year and a three-year probation ending in December 2014. The university had previously volunteered to undergo a two-year probation and to cut five scholarships, as well as vacate their 2010 season and bowl earnings.
Though the university had expected to avoid a bowl ban and was surprised by the NCAA's decision, athletics director and associate vice president Gene Smith said that the school would not appeal the ruling. "We recognize that this is a challenging time in intercollegiate athletics," he said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "Institutions of higher education must move to higher ground, and Ohio State embraces its leadership responsibilities and affirms its long-standing commitment to excellence in education and integrity in all it does.
"My primary concern, as always, is for our students, and this decision punishes future students for the actions of others in the past. Knowing our student-athletes, however, I have no doubt in their capacity to turn this into something positive - for themselves and for the institution. I am grateful to our entire Buckeye community for their continued support."
New head coach Urban Meyer also affirmed his commitment to the school and athletic program, though the tougher-than-expected penalties could have an effect on recruiting efforts.
The NCAA also issued sanctions against former head coach Jim Tressel, citing his failure to report violations as well as his decision to allow ineligible players to compete during the 2010 season. For his involvement, Tressel received a five-year show-cause penalty, during which time any school interested in hiring him must present a case showing need to hire him and imposing severe penalties for any further violations. Further, he must sit out the first five games and any postseason games during the first year of his next coaching engagement at an NCAA school.
The full findings of the NCAA report can be found here.