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Self-imposed slap on the wrist

Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The story in Columbus has been playing out for months now and instead of sitting idly by and waiting for the NCAA's hammer to be dropped, Ohio State decided to levy its own sanctions. Those sanctions, however, seem more like a hollow gesture than any real act of contrition.

The fallout at Ohio State is well documented at this point. The NCAA's Notice of Allegations, which was received on April 21, was formally responded to last week.

OSU has decided to suspend five players for the first five games next season, accept Jim Tressel's "resignation/retirement," vacate all its wins during the 2010 season, including the 2011 Sugar Bowl victory, place itself on a two-year probationary period and enhance its monitoring of educational and compliance programs.

In addition, a deal was struck between the university and Tressel, changing his resignation to retirement, eliminating what could have turned into an ugly litigation process. Tressel will now receive $54,000 (one month's pay) to walk away and the school in turn will not make him pay the $250,000 fine that was originally assessed to him.

A deal was struck between Ohio State and Jim Tressel, changing his resignation to retirement.
Athletics Director Gene Smith addressed OSU's response to the NCAA.

"We are fully cooperating with the NCAA, and we look forward to working together to bring a resolution to these current matters. Throughout the entire process since we discovered possible infractions, Ohio State has consistently acted to investigate any allegation, self-report its findings to the NCAA, communicate transparently about its findings, and take necessary remediation steps. Now, consistent with the direction set by our Board of Trustees, we are taking a very hard look on our own at all aspects of our athletic programs to identify and implement improvements designed to ensure that we uphold the highest ideals of honor and integrity."

Apologizing for transgressions is only part of the process. Accepting the consequences for one's actions and coming out better for it, is the rest of the equation.

Smith can toe the company line all he wants, but the fact that the school failed to distance itself from Tressel at the outset, taints everything else after that.

Ohio State failed to address three key areas that will undoubtedly rub people the wrong way -- especially those that have felt the heavy hand of the NCAA in the recent past like USC and Alabama.

While the self-imposed sanctions represent a step in the right direction, it is only a baby step.

The school did not give itself a postseason ban and while it vacated its Sugar Bowl appearance, it has yet to send any money earned from the BCS Bowl appearance back, Thirdly, there was no mention of lost scholarships among the sanctions.

Of course, it is easy to see why Ohio State would fail to address these areas.

All three would "actually" hurt the football program and the school.

It may not really matter though, as the NCAA may just bring the pain shortly. August 12 is the date that OSU will meet with the infractions committee and formally appeal. Expect the NCAA to have its ruling about eight weeks after that.

However, a viewed lack of remorse by Ohio State may just put the NCAA in a corner. We all know how a cornered animal often responds.

Those in Knoxville and Chapel Hill are certainly keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings.

Tennessee is awaiting the NCAA's findings regarding the Bruce Pearl/Lane Kiffin double whammy. The Volunteers face a dozen major rules violations spanning the football and men's basketball programs.

There is no reason to believe Butch Davis and North Carolina will find the going any easier. They are just starting the process and will have to face the music as well in due time.

Ohio State however, is the BCS' poster child

Everyone is watching this one and anything short of a postseason ban and loss of scholarships could result in FBS anarchy.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Scott Haynes at shaynes@sportsnetwork.com.

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