Just when Ohio State thought it was beginning to get a handle on the NCAA mess created under former coach Jim Tressel, the school gets hit with a “failure to monitor” by college athletics’ governing body.
The latest charges come after allegations were made that a Cleveland-area booster provided extra benefits to players, according to reports. Ohio State announced that it is taking away five football scholarships over the next three years in response to the latest violations.
This comes as the Buckeyes await the decision from their Aug. 12 appearance in front of the NCAA committee on infractions for the now infamous tattoo-for-memorabilia scandal that eventually led to the departure of quarterback Terrell Pryor and the forced resignation of Tressel.
Now school officials are scheduled to appear before the NCAA infractions committee again Dec. 10 to answer the latest alleged rules violations tied to booster Robert DiGeronimo providing extra benefits totalling $2,406 to nine players, mostly tied to work they did not perform or were overpaid for.
Ohio State has already vacated its 2010 season, instituted a two-year probationary period, forfeited proceeds from the 2011 Sugar Bowl in hopes of preventing a harsher penalty by the NCAA for the tattoo scandal. Now the hope is the reduction in scholarships will satisfy the latest violations.
DiGeronimo’s actions led to the “failure to monitor” charge, which is among the most serious allegations the NCAA can bring against a school. From the sounds of it, the school knew DiGeronimo was a rogue booster and had taken steps to distance itself from him, but did not do enough to discourage student athletes from working for him or taking part in his charity events.
This is just another strike against OSU athletic director Gene Smith, who has been under scrutiny the last several months for how he handled the tattoo scandal and the issues with Tressel. Smith acknowledged his administration should have done more to monitor DiGeronimo and his interactions with the student athletes.
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