The Great Butthurt Symphony of 2011

By Jason Priestas on July 11, 2011 at 1:00p
Gene Smith hopes he hit the sweet spotThis time, Smith hopes he really hit the sweet spot.

[Ed: Wish we could take the credit for the title of this one, but that must go to Tom Orr.]

We've had a couple of days to process Ohio State's response to the NCAA and as one might expect with a self-punishment that did not include the loss of scholarships or a postseason ban, Buckeye fans are ecstatic, while just about everyone else is incredulous.

The football program was alleged to have violated several NCAA Bylaws, including, 14.11.1, 16.1.4 and 16.11.16, in addition to a 10.1 charge levied against former head coach Jim Tressel. In turn, the university's response boiled down to the following:

  • Suspending five players for the first five games of next season (with a sixth, Jordan Whiting suspended for the opener and a seventh, unnamed player, suspended for the entire 2011 season pending appeal1)
  • Accepting Jim Tressel's resignation
  • Vacating the football program's wins in the 2010 season, including the Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas2
  • Self-imposing a two-year NCAA probation
  • Implementing additional measures "to enhance the university's already extensive monitoring, educational and compliance programs"

The school painted Tressel as a good man that made a grave mistake, hoping to avoid any type of institutional culpability:

The University believes that little institutional responsibility exists for the preferential treatment violations in Allegation #1. While the University recognizes that the institution must take responsibility for its employee’s actions with respect to Allegation #2, the responsibility is upon Tressel. No other institutional personnel were aware of the preferential treatment violations, and Tressel had an obligation to report the potential violation to the appropriate institutional officials.

And that's it.

Beyond the annoying thought of returning to 0-fer territory in bowl games against the SEC and having a streak of six Big Ten championships snapped, if the NCAA agrees with Ohio State's response, we'll be a state full of happy campers. The same cannot be said for certain members of the media who have a hard time separating sensationalist allegations with the facts on the ground.

Noted Buckeye troll3 Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports had the following take:

If the Buckeyes were this inept on the field, they never would have won the past six Big Ten Conference titles. Oh wait, that last title will be vacated. Big freakin' deal. Correction: It's only five Big Ten titles in the past six years.

ESPN's Brian Bennett:

Instead, Ohio State has tried to half-step it, again, just as it did in its 10-day sham investigation last December, and just as it did when it originally announced that Tressel would be suspended for only two nonconference games. The school's response, predictably, tried to lay all the blame at the feet of the departed and disgraced coach.

In columns everywhere (and especially on Twitter), the reaction was more of the same: Utter shock that the Buckeyes could have the chutzpah to avoid scholarship reductions or a postseason ban in their self-punishment.


But you know what? The response matched the allegations.

Despite breathless accounts of rigged raffles and feigned outrage over perfectly legal and entirely permissible car sales, the NCAA has yet to amend their original Notice of Allegations. The university has worked with NCAA and continues to do so to "review information concerning potential violations, including issues publicly raised subsequent to the university's self-reporting", but nothing has surfaced and you have to think that if there was anything close to surfacing, the NCAA would have told Ohio State to hold off on their response.

The penalties, might seem light to outsiders, but when you consider the fact that USC didn't even impose any penalties on their football program4 -- hoping to toss the hoops program out as a sacrificial lamb instead -- they make perfect sense. SI's Stewart Mandel gets it:

There was no Lack of Institutional Control charge (as USC received) or Failure to Monitor charge (as North Carolina recently received). No school employees besides Tressel were implicated of any wrongdoing. The school has no incentive to impose heavier penalties than it issued Friday because the NCAA itself has not indicated anyone other than Tressel and the suspended players should be punished.


While I don't expect the NCAA to amend their notice of allegations or push the hearing back beyond the originally announced date of August 12th, it's only reasonable to think the organization will add another year of probation or revoke scholarships. However, a postseason ban, as so many outside the program have hoped for, is likely not in the cards.

Even if the NCAA adds to Ohio State's penalty, it won't invalidate the university's response. When is the last time the organization has told a member institution to take it easier on itself? You do not want to amputate your leg when all that's needed is a cast.

So there you have it. For the first time in many months, there's optimism in Buckeyeland. We're not out of the woods just yet, but we're inching closer, much to the chagrin of outside observers.

  • 1 This player, alleged to have received several hundred dollars worth of free tattoos, is more than likely Dorian Bell.
  • 2 Ohio State is actually vacating the entire season, including the lone loss to Wisconsin. One casualty of this is the school's all-time winning percentage, which is now .716, dropping the Buckeyes behind Texas and Oklahoma on the all-time list. This will also throw head-to-head records out of whack. For instance, Michigan still has a loss on the books from last November's game, but the Buckeyes will no longer have the win, meaning the Wolverines are 57-44-6 in the series, while the Buckeyes are 43-57-6.
  • 3 A, B, C
  • 4 This is particularly egregious when you consider USC violated 31 Bylaws, compared to just five for Ohio State.

Comments Show All Comments

Bucks's picture

TY Jason. Big bro hug on this one. Separate the reality of violations from media allegations.



GoBlu's picture

Yeah, thats doubtful that the NCAA will accept those self-imposed penalties...  but you can hope.


If OSU had done this in day one... then for sure the NCAA would have considered this, but honestly, I dont see how they wont take scholarships away and one, maybe two postseason bans in light of all the chicanery Tressel pulled and the pathetic attempt to quell this problem in the beginning.

BuckeyeSki's picture

....speaking of butthurt

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

what you seem to be missing is that there was a lot of wrong doing that was assumed, and some even seem fabricated. from what we've read in the NOA there's nothing that indicates a need for post season ban or scholarship reduction. it's merely wishful thinking on your and PSU and Iowa fans part.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

GoBlu's picture

Come on....  USC is going to be carefully watching the OSU penalties and you can be sure scholarships and a postseason ban is coming.   Tressel lied to the NCAA and then emailed people about it and hid it for months...    The guy cheated then he lied to the NCAA, which they really, really hate. 

There is no set standard the NCAA follows in terms of punishment, but be sure it will equal or surpass USC.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

different allegations from the NCAA. nice try though.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

GoBlu's picture

Yeah, but since when has the NCAA been consistent? 

If they had a shred of fairness, Cam Newton would have been suspended last year...  Just saying... look out for Aug. 12.

ih8rolltyde's picture

Go home, go f**k yourself, go eat a d**k, go to Hell. But no go blu. Not here, not ever.

****igan smells like old water that hot dogs were boiled in.  FACT

BuckeyeSki's picture

we tried to tell you that you wouldn't like him when he's angry....

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Bucks's picture

You put entirely too much stock in irrelevant perception.

There is no LOIC or FTM. There is a 10.1 that is completely isolated to JT (as far as proof or trail). tOSU compliance is one of the highest self-reporting departments in the nation, recently cited for being on par with their job. JT is gone and as such, bodes well for the university as a whole. Investigators were here & had open access, have since left.

Too many stories & not much in the way of proof.


AGAIN for those who believe the sky is falling:

- Getting a 10.1 violation without recruiting violations is an oddity

- Getting a 10.1 violation without a Failure to Monitor or a Lack of Institutional Control, is quite rare.


If any of those three above were in the picture, this entire media hype might be on the right track. None of them are though, and no matter how hard it is for the dingles to stomach ... this is going to come to a conclusion without many additions to our response.

Nappy's picture

This is correct, but OSU and USC are very different situations.  But since the NCAA is so inconsistent it's hard to tell whats going to happen.  I do think it's been a with hunt by "journalists" trying to find any type of proof of wrong doing beyond whats already been proven, and have come up empty.  If everything that has been reported (cars, golf etc) were true, we would all expect very harsh punishments. 

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Maestro's picture

There is no set standard the NCAA follows in terms of punishment, but be sure it will equal or surpass USC.

Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Oh, and August 12 is simply the date of the hearing.  There will be no punishment doled out on that day so you are going to have to keep wishing in one hand for a few more months.

vacuuming sucks

buckeyedude's picture

I hate feeding the trolls, but WTF does USC have to do with Ohio State? I'm glad they're going to be watching.  If you think the NCAA is sitting around the office saying to themselves, "you know what, we better hammer Ohio State, because you KNOW USC is watching!", then you're awfully gullible, blu.



BuckeyeSki's picture

USC will def. be watching.....our bowl game this year

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Nappy's picture


I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

biggy84's picture

Great article! Much appreciated!

btalbert25's picture

Good write up.  That's the thing the talking heads never seem to acknowledge.  I don't think the personalities on the radio who keep screaming about the self imposed penalties actually understand what Ohio State is being accused of.  They talk about the cars and the SI article, but they don't seem to realize that neither of those stories have a damn thing to do with the NCAA investigation.  Ratings play into it too though. When they carry on non stop about it, they get twitter hits, phone calls, and emails by outraged Buckeye fans and Kudos from haters like GoBlu. No one will respond if they are tearing up UNC or Oregon on TV, print, or the radio.

Bucksfan's picture

The outrage we're experiencing in the wake of Ohio State's response is simply due to the overreaction by the media in the months that followed the initial findings that Tressel lied to the NCAA.  The pundits at ESPN not only mentioned it every day on SportsCenter, but you had opinion-holders going on their network at all hours of the day saying that what Ohio State did was WORSE than USC.  Writers are still saying it.  Pete Fiutak at CFN wrote a scathing diatribe about how Ohio State's self-imposed sanctions are a joke, and placed all blame of the scandal squarely on the shoulders of the institution:

"No, THE Ohio State University, this isn’t Jim Tressel’s fault. This isn’t Terrelle Pryor’s fault. This is THE Ohio State University’s fault."

He goes on to say, "USC actually did try to change things up and it really did make the effort to be better, starting with the hiring of Pat Haden as the athletic director, and it amounted to a fat load of jack squat when it came to the appeal process."

USC's appeal process was the embodiment of washing their hands of any responsibility whatsoever.  USC did not employ a complaince department, and their appeal was a symbol that they don't think they need one.  CFN started making use of reader-written blogs a few years ago, and I asked Fiu why there are so many SEC blogs showcased.  He wrote me back saying that their fans write 5 times more blogs than anyone else.  So, I'm not surprised that CFN is going the way as ESPN - that they need to keep their readership up with who's reading it more.

This backlash is character assassination.  ESPN lost a lot of money when the conference launched the BTN.  Now that their main college revenue is coming from the overall smaller SEC market, it is obvious that they're trying to crush their competitor network.  And since ESPN is really the chief sports-only network, the vast majority of people are going to just accept whatever they say as fact simply because they're the loudest voice in the room, DESPITE the glaring conflict of interests.

Just as it is with FOX News...just because you say something loudly over and over again doesn't make it true.  And ESPN is as guilty.  Stewart Mandel at SI is a two-faced jackass.  His measured article last Friday was too-little-too-late after his first articles SLAMMED Tressel and the University, and subsequently fanned the flames.

People need to realize that Ohio State was honest, Jim Tressel wasn't.  USC didn't cooperate, neither did their coaches.  Those things matter when it comes to placing blame.

buckeyedude's picture

You're right. The dick that broke the story, Dan Wetzel, blogged that he thought Ohio State's infractions were worse than USC. Read it on Yahoo!



biggy84's picture

The only thing Wetzel broke was infroming the public through leaks from the ncaa. OSU had already informed the ncaa of the info far earlier. Wetzel didn't break anything.

Kyle's picture

This is what I hear in my head every time some doucher ESPN anchor, columnists (they all seem to deal more in opinion than fact anyway), sportswriter (both of the Pulitzer prize winning variety and not), bloggers (not from 11W or Our Honor Defend and a couple others of course) and the unwashed and uniformed masses of trolls posting ignorance and venom on comment sections and message boards.


krenzelmoni's picture

While true that OSU was not hit with the LOIC or FTM charge, the Notice of Allegations state that the NCAA may treat OSU as a "repeat offender" stemming from incidents involving Troy Smith and Jim O'Brien. The "repeat offender" charge allows for both a schollie reduction and a post season ban.

Smart money is the NCAA does not amend the Notice of Allegations so as to include a LOIC or FTM charge, but does treat OSU as a "repeat offender" and impose a penalty less than what USC got (10-15 schollies/1-2 year post season ban). However, OSU should be concerned that the NCAA COULD use the "repeat offender" violation to hit OSU as hard, if not harder, than USC. Regardless of past precedent, the plain fact is that after what has recently happened with Auburn, OSU and now Oregon, the NCAA has a credibility issue with which it must deal.

Maestro's picture

The Smith stuff doesn't fall within the statute of limitations.

vacuuming sucks

krenzelmoni's picture

Sorry. That said, as long as the O'Brien actions do, then the point remains.

biggy84's picture

It is not just the football program that is adapting the "us against the world" mentality, the OSU fanbase is in the same boat. I am amazed at the lemmings that believe whatever the media says and hate they have for OSU. I'm a proud buckeye fan and the others can kiss my ass.

iam416's picture

Another good write-up.  Coupled with the work done by Gerd at another site, Ohio State's position is consistent with past NCAA violators in a similar situation.  It's far more reasoned and objective than various commentators and fans at certain 4th grade blogs that conclude that it "feels like" [FILL IN DRACONIAN MEASURES].

The unfortunate thing is that no one is really willing to deal with this issue on the facts.  The NCAA, I think, has to.  So, while the general public accepts as biblical truth the worst allegations, they're not fact, but rather quite the opposite.  In fact, I'm quite sure I could list far more allegations that have been PROVEN false than those that have been PROVEN true.  And, of course, there's still a smattering that lie in between.

The only hook the NCAA has, at the moment, to actually levy significantly harsher penalties against Ohio State is the repeat offender issue.  But, as noted in another article, those penalties are generally reserved for repeat infractions in the same sport.  Troy Smith's $300 handshake seems a thin reed to bring down the hammer with.  But, perhaps they will.  The NCAA is, if nothing else, arbitrary.

Finally, I haven't a clue why folks continually point to how OSU "handled" the situations -- press conference, 2 game suspension, 5 game suspension, firing, etc.  I wasn't aware that PR bungling amounted to an NCAA violation, though, to hear some on 4th grade blogs, it apparently will really enhance the penalties. 

I look forward to November when the NCAA issues its ruling. 

Oakland Buckeye's picture

The real reason for the douchy media frenzy is the man himself, not the University.  Sure, we have always had our haters like Douchmond Howard & Mark May, but the media has salivated over the "hypocrisy" of Tress & have tried to make HIS mistakes seem bigger; whereas Bruce Pearl, Lame Kiffin, or perfect hair Pete never wrote a book on integrity. These dirtbags are rejoicing because another conservative turned out to be the opposite of his image.  I dont share that opinion of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, my son could play for him anyday - but in this case 1 MISTAKE was all it took to dethrone JT. Butch Davis has never been a chiorboy & therefore is still employed. I think the university recognized this, & thus JT is the full scapegoat for the entire scandal...& the media will eventually go away...

Doc's picture

Am I the only one to think Gene Smith has lost his affectiveness.  I think it is time for him to hit the bricks.  He has fumbled and bumbled his way threw this entire nightmare.  I can not fathom Andy Geiger being this inept.


The vacated season is bull crap.  We all know they went 12-1.  The university should be refunding my season ticket money and Buckeye Club dues from last year too.  Sanzo and the rest of the Seniors got the bone, and it seems the university is ok with throwing them under the bus.  I'm more pissed off now than I have ever been throughout this entire ordeal.  Fuck You Gene Smith!



CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

NYC Buckeye's picture

I'm starting to buy into the optimism of no bowl ban... sounds so good its easy to jump on the bandwagon!  Loss of scholarships is clearly coming though...

get ready for the backlash, unless we get a TV ban (no way in the world this happens), make us take away the "The" in our name, and burn down our stadium, everyone will say we got off easy and be all pissed off...  

wow, how things have changed from when I was in school... seems like only yesterday it was January 3rd 2003, and all of America was rooting for

Bucks's picture

Side Note:


Since I see cameras in the presser photos, obviously the Vrabel introduction was recorded. Was this limited to a small grouping? Anyone have a link to video from this? State secret?


Jason Priestas's picture

We were invited as were other media outlets, but for the first time in a long time, we were all booked and couldn't attend. I'm sure the Ozone will have something up soon.

pioneer92's picture

Anyone else get the feeling ESPN squeezed out the fantastic Adam Rittenberg and replaced him with another Mark May? Haven't seen Bennet saying anything positive about OSU yet.

Bucks's picture

It is kinda funny to me as there have been some pretty heated comments directed at Adam. I have for the most part, felt he kept a balanced view. I def don't agree with him on everything or even a majority, but never feel he is vindictive/malicious in his writing.

This Bennett kid, is a pos.


I can see the appeal of a Lou vs Mark, copied & pasted into the conference.

pioneer92's picture

Yeah when I say fantastic it wasn't because he blindly supported anyone, but because he always seemmed unbiased, fair, and reported facts.

Denny's picture



*Good post, sir.


vtbuckeye's picture

If we were to get a bowl ban, could we invite another team to have an exhibition game?  What would the NCAA do to tOSU if say OSU and USC met at a neutral field and played a game (that doesn't count for is just an exhibition).  And lets say that they did this on New Years day... or whenever the national championship game is being played.  They could sell the rights to televise the game.... Just skip the traditional bowl games. 


Just an idea