One of the biggest stories of the 2012 college football season has been how undefeated Ohio State is not eligible for the national title because the Buckeyes refused to self-impose a bowl ban last year, leading to the Committee on Infractions handing them a postseason ban this year. But according to Ohio State president Gordon Gee, it did not matter:
“We were caught in the tsunami of all the things that were going on and we were the big fish on the line, and the NCAA was under great pressure to impose sanctions and my strong belief is … if we would have self imposed we still would’ve had a bowl ban,” Gee told The Dispatch today while he, coach Urban Meyer, and key contributors from the Buckeyes’ 12-0 team toured the Statehouse.
Precedent is not strictly followed by the Committee on Infractions, but the trend suggests Gee is incorrect. The postseason bans imposed on North Carolina and UCF suggest that one year is the going rate for the Committee on Infractions in many cases. Because of the similarity of penalties imposed in those case and the fact that nothing jumps out as being much different in the Ohio State case, it is a huge stretch to say that a 2012 postseason ban was inevitable.
Gee’s sources for this belief could also be better:
“The point is the fact is that the three major guys who were in charge at the NCAA worked for me,” Gee said. “Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, was my assistant for five years, he worked in Colorado with me. Ed Ray who was the head of the presidents’ commission was with me for seven years at Ohio State and David Williams, who was the head of the infractions committee or the head of the appeals committee, worked for me for 15 years. So no one knows more about this than I do.”
The problem is none of the people on that list are on the actual Committee on Infractions. A lot had to go wrong for Gee to get any actual information from these three people about what the Committee on Infractions was doing. Not to mention that while Ohio State might have been caught up in the scandals of the last year or two, Penn State was demanding a lot of attention from two of Gee insiders. Ohio State by that time had been relegated to “just another NCAA violation” compared to the Sandusky scandal.
And if Ohio State’s president was sure a postsesaon ban was coming, he should have told his athletic director:
“I got the report about 7:50 this morning, opened it up, and I was stunned, really surprised,” athletic director Gene Smith said. “I went from stunned and disappointed to angry and all the emotions you can imagine. I’m just really disappointed and saddened for the players.”