This afternoon, the NCAA finished their review of the appeal of the five game suspension for the student athletes at the beginning of the 2011 season.
Terelle Pryor, Dan Herron, Devier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas were sanctioned for selling gear and award merchandise in exchange for tatoos and/or money in December 2010; the were allowed by the NCAA to participate in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. The appeal was based on the possibility that the NCAA would reduce the five game sanctions to the four games that other athletes received in 2010 for similar circumstances; most notably Georgia’s A.J. Green. Ohio State’s players received an additional game due to their signing compliance documents t the beginning of the 2010 seaon that stated that they had not violated NCAA rules; this was an additional transgression.
The NCAA Division I Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement has upheld the staff decision for five football student-athletes from The Ohio State University.
According to this decision, Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas must sit out the first five games of the 2011 season for selling awards, gifts and university apparel, as well as receiving improper benefits in 2009. These student-athletes must also repay money and benefits ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.
“While we are disappointed that our appeal request was denied, we respect the NCAA and accept its ruling,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State associate vice president and athletics director. “The players are sorry for the disappointment they have caused, will learn from their mistakes, and will strive to earn the confidence and support of everyone associated with the university through their future conduct.”
“The university remains steadfast in its commitment to continually improve the compliance education process,” said Dr. John Bruno, faculty athletics representative to the Big Ten and NCAA and Ohio State professor of psychology. “We believe that we do a good job in educating our more than 900 student-athletes, but we strive to do better to help them make good decisions.”
The reinstatement committee is the final appeal opportunity. The independent committee is composed of representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic conferences. It can reduce or remove the conditions, but cannot increase the conditions imposed by the staff.
Reinstatement decisions are made based on the collective facts of the case, withholding guidelines developed by the reinstatement committee, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the university.
In response, Coach Jim Tressel has asked that his suspension for not reporting this through appropriate channels be extended from two games to five, to match the amount that his student athletes have been given. In a statement from the University, Jim Tressel said,
Throughout this entire situation my players and I have committed ourselves to facing our mistakes and growing from them; we can only successfully do that together. I spoke with Athletics Director Smith, and our student‐athletes involved, and told them that my mistakes need to share the same game sanctions. Like my players, I am very sorry for the mistakes I made. I request of the university that my sanctions now include five games so that the players and I can handle this adversity together.
These sanctions have been handed out by the University, hence the verbiage within. AD Smith responded,
Coach Tressel has requested that he sit out the first five games of the 2011 season. I have accepted his request and we are taking action to notify the NCAA. Until the NCAA has completed its investigation, we will not be publicly discussing the details of this case.
There has not been a timeline announced for the NCAA’s review of this matter, although many imagine that it may come this summer.
It has been noted that this event (the NCAA’s ruling on the appeal) was the planned time that the University was to announce the situation with Coach Tressel (the one it’s been investigating since January, and that the Yahoo report accelerated). Given this, it may be appropriate to speculate that the plan all along was for Coach Tressel to be suspended at the same amount as his players, but that the earlier announcement led to an estimate of appropriate sanctions.
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.