What we know: The Allegations

Written June 29th, 2011 by Eric

Yea, this picture pretty well sums up the last 6 months.

UPDATE- We’ve put all of this information into a table for those who prefer getting their information that way (and read USA Today). Check it out here, or under the Media Table at the top right of the site.

We’ll also work to update it as necessary, should more evidence emerge either supporting or refuting these concerns.

Update 2 – It has come to our attention that not all of the information presented was sourced properly.  The article has been modified to be more clear.

It’s been a hectic couple of months to be a Buckeye fan.  The first half of the year has felt like every media organization in the nation, including our own home base news sources, have been giving our favorite university the third degree.

One constant in these media investigations is that the national news sources never return to the scene of the crime to report on what they got right and what they got wrong.  To be honest, who really cares?  People love dirty laundry, after all.

So we here at the BBC have decided to compile a list of every allegation leveled at Ohio State University and its Football Program in the last couple months.  Of course, this idea may seem familiar to you.  Admittedly, the Ozone (and seemingly everyone else) beat us to the punch, but we thought we could be more thorough.

We are going to do a blow by blow account of everything anyone said or suggested about OSU, as a resource for you when these things take on a life of their own. We’ll also give you the information regarding which of these have been refuted, so you can refer back as you’re bringing truth to the water-coolers around the country.

The time frames reference when we learned about the accusation, not when the violation (or accused violation) occurred.  Also, anything after “Effect” on each point is writers opinion only, and not to be taken as fact unless linked as such. Read More

Buckeye Football Ready For Prime Time

Written May 12th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

The night time must be the right time, as Ohio State has announced two 8:00 pm EST games for the 2011 season, in addition to the game at Miami on September 17th.

The Buckeyes will travel to Lincoln Nebraska for their third ever meeting with the Cornhuskers, and the first as members of the newly configured B1G Ten Conference.  This game will be the first of the season for the five players suspended, and may also be the first with Jim Tressel on the sidelines. Across the field will be Nebraska head coach and former Buckeye captain Bo Pelini. tBBC will be bringing you exclusive coverage from Lincoln for this epic match up.

Three weeks later, Ohio State returns home to Columbus to face Wisconsin in an 8:00 pm start time. This will be the first night home game on the road for the Badgers against a conference opponent in recent memory- the good folks in Madison seem to prefer to only play under the lights at home or against west coast opposition. You can imagine that the Buckeyes will have greater motivation for this matchup, as last year’s upset by the Badgers may have cost them a chance to play for the National title.

All games mentioned above will be broadcast on ABC/ESPN.  It will be interesting to see how Kirk Herbstreit is received on his return to Columbus on October 29th, assuming that he’s assigned to be in the booth for this prime time game.  You’ve got to wonder if the upcoming Halloween holiday might have an impact on fans’ response… but since they are the “Best Damn Fans In The Land“, it’s probably unlikely.

Barbarians At The Gate: Decline and Fall?

Written May 10th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

Look to the past and remember no empire rises that sooner or later won’t fall.- Al Stewart

"The Sack of Rome by the Visigoths on August 24, 410" by J.N. Sylvestre

This is the summer of our discontent- the dreaded “off season” that brings with it a lack of coverage for stories about life on the field, and instead finds the 24 hour news cycle filled with rumor, speculation, innuendo rather than stats or previews of upcoming contests. When it’s good, it’s good (see last year’s expansion excitement) and when it’s bad, it’s awful… mostly because it seems to be ever present.

Before we get any further, I need to clarify that yes, there is a question mark in this post’s title.  I am not suggesting that Buckeye Nation has ended; as loudly as those in the media and other fan bases and even some of those on campus are calling for scorched earth along the Olentangy, THE Ohio State University has and will survive whatever will come from the current trials and investigations.

However, it would also be naive to believe that the state of things is not going to change. The Buckeyes have enjoyed a lengthy period of success, have weathered more than a few storms (Clarett saga, 2006, ’07 Bowl games; basketball issues in the 90′s), and currently find themselves at the top of the heap, both in the Conference and nationally. Ohio State fans have enjoyed almost unprecedented success over our arch rival; enough that we are able to overlook some of the struggles against big game opposition. Even without the things that I hope to address, it’s unlikely that this would continue forever- there’s a season for everything, and all that.

Just look at the landscape of college sports- Army used to be a national football power. Indiana and UCLA were at one time the pinnacles of college basketball.  The programs that I grew up seeing on the cover of Sports Illustrated (Miami, Florida State, UNLV, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma) have all gone through (or are going through) falls from the grace and glory that they once held. Heck, even the mighty Longhorns just went from a National Title berth to their worst record in memory. Nothing gold can stay.

Some of this is a sign of the times- once you’re at the top of the heap, there are those who revel in bringing you down.  And, it’s quite possible that their zenith was due to false foundations; that it was only a moment in time before the house of cards crumbled (think UNLV basketball). However, it’s also possible that we live in a time where it’s more “newsworthy” to see something destroyed than it is to see something established and tended- look no further than every teen pop “idol” that is force fed to us by the very media that then devotes time to covering (creating?) their collapse.

In college football, the current teams under investigation, probation, or allegations reads like a “who’s who” of the BCS: Ohio State, USC, Alabama, Auburn, Oregon, LSU, Boise State, Michigan, Texas A&M. If you include other programs making “news” for the wrong reasons, then the list grows to include Florida, Penn State, and Notre Dame.

For some fans, this is indicative of the entire system being broken.  Honestly, there are times that I fall firmly in this camp, particularly from the standpoint of “how does this all fit into a culture that’s supposed to be about academic excellence and education?” For others, this is nothing more than “outsiders” and people who just don’t “get it”. And another group of people has learned to deal with the fact that this comes with the territory- It is what it is, so just roll with it. Celebrate your favorite squadron’s successes, mock others’ failures, and pray that it doesn’t happen too close to you.

I believe, though, that there are a multiplicity of factors that may be signaling that the change we dread is on the way sooner rather than later, and I believe that it’s as important to think about those as it is to follow the “future” of the program while they’re still playing high school sports.  So over the next few posts, I want to look at three of the things that I believe will change the place and status of  “The Empire”, beginning with the most obvious one. Read More

Buckeye Suspension Update: Five Across The Board

Written March 17th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

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 response reads as follows:

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.

Tat-Gate Revisited: What Did Ohio State Know, And When?

Written March 8th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

UPDATE- The University has scheduled a press conference for this evening (3.8.11) at 7:00 pm. Coach Tressel, AD Gene Smith, and President E. Gordon Gee will be speaking, according to the press release.

As I’m sure you’ve probably heard, Yahoo (no, I’m not going to do the exclamation point) Sports released a story on Monday regarding December’s “Tat-5″ situation. As you remember, Ohio State players were found responsible for selling or exchanging gear or memorabilia, which is in violation of NCAA rules regarding improper benefits for student athletes.

More questions to be answered

At the time, Athletic Director Gene Smith stated that the University became aware of the matter on December 8, and responded with a swift investigation that resulted in the players being eventually suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. One of the factors stated was that the student athletes were initially unaware that their actions would have been a violation, and when they were educated of this matter they chose to remain silent.

In the press conference, the statements from Coach Tressel and AD Smith resonated a theme of responsibility, of owning up to a mistake once it was made. In fact, Coach Tressel said that the responsibility fell on the shoulders of he and his staff-

Ultimately as coaches we feel that the buck stops here. We’re the ones that need to make things ever more crystal clear. . . . There’s a gut-wrenching feeling when you lose a game and you could have done better, and then there’s one that goes beyond, when you don’t feel you did what you should do as people.

Today’s report indicated that Tressel may have not done as he should have; that he was informed by a “concerned party” in April of 2010 regarding this situation and that he did not respond or investigate appropriately,

Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source.

According to a source, a concerned party reached out to Tressel last April, alerting the coach that memorabilia transactions had taken place between Rife and a handful of Buckeyes players, including Pryor. The selling of items violates NCAA eligibility rules. The source said Tressel was troubled by the information, and the coach indicated that he would investigate the matter and take appropriate action

Read More