Friday Skull Session

By Jeremy Birmingham on December 30, 2011 at 6:00a

Good Friday morning friends and readers, and welcome to your final Skull Session of 2011.

Most would agree that this has been one of the wildest years in the storied history of Ohio State athletics. We were witnesses to some of the saddest Buckeye moments in my lifetime, but we've also seen an athletic department that has become more than "just football" in a school once known simply for its exploits on the gridiron.

In basketball, head coaches Thad Matta and Jim Foster have taken the hoops programs to heights rarely achieved in Columbus, and have a combined 26-1 record. The Buckeye hockey team, at 13-4-1, would have the #1 seed nationally if the postseason began today. The scarlet and gray wrestling team is 6th in the country. It's a good time to be a Buckeye.

Of course, we are also at the precipice of a new and exciting era in Buckeye football as well.

On Monday, the Ohio State football team will play in a bowl game against Florida in Jacksonville. A game that would most certainly be a "marquee" matchup in most years, this year's version finds two of the game's most recognizable programs in a battle to avoid a sub .500 finish for the season. You're likely to see two young, talented and frustrating teams hampered by inexperience on the field and on the sidelines.

What happens in those 60 minutes is anyone's guess, but what we do know as Buckeye fans is that when the clock shows four zeroes, the Urban Meyer era begins officially.

 HEA-HEA-HEA, GOODBYE. With the Meyer era beginning, the Jim Tressel era officially ends, and with that comes to end of Jim Heacock's run at Ohio State, and what a run it has been. Heacock was initially hired by John Cooper in 1996 and worked as the defensive line coach at Ohio State from 1996-2004. 

The Alliance, Ohio native has been a career assistant head coach, save for one stint as the head coach at Illinois State from 1988-1995. He took a chance on a graduate assistant from Ohio State named Urban Meyer, giving him his first "real" job as a college coach.

Heacock was one of three assistants of the Cooper years retained when Jim Tressel took the reins at OSU in 2001, and his contribution to the current state of Ohio State football should not be overlooked. The Buckeyes have produced 25 NFL defensive linemen in the 15 years that Heacock has been in Columbus, and have regularly been regarded as one of the country's best defensive units.

The "silver bullets" of Fred Pagac and Jon Tenuta in the mid-90's took on many different forms, as Mark Snyder and Mark Dantonio each handled things their own way, but Heacock's versions never skipped a beat. There's no doubt that this year's defense has been the most frustrating of his tenure as the DC, but it doesn't, or shouldn't, change his legacy with Buckeye fans. 

In 2007, Jim was named Frank Broyles National Assistant Coach of the Year, leading the Buckeyes to a national title game shot against LSU in what many considered to be a "reloading" year for Ohio State. Even famed Buckeye disparager Dennis Dodd of CBS could not help but be impressed by what Heacock was able to accomplish that year.

Heacock had many chances to move elsewhere, but was always at home in Ohio, and we as Buckeye fans should remember to give him his well-deserved final applause on Monday afternoon.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO. Few of the "mid-tier" college bowl games produce the annual excitement and drama that the Valero Alamo Bowl does. If by some chance you didn't get to watch this year's edition last night, boy oh boy did you miss out as Washington and #12 Baylor put on an offensive show for the ages. The final score? Baylor 67, Washington 56. Who needs #MACtion?

The lack of defense in this game was not surprising, but the guys turning heads for the offenses might have been, at least a little. 

Recently crowned Heisman Trophy Robert Griffin III was solid for the Bears, but the whacko's from Waco showed that they were more than just one Superman and a bunch of Jimmy Olsens. Terrance Ganaway, a 6'0, 240 running back was the star of the night for Baylor, amassing 200 yards and 5 TDs, but the Bears had two other 100-yard rushers as well. When it all ended, Baylor had run over, through, and around the Huskies defense for 777 total yards, 482 on the ground.

Washington had their own superhero despite the loss, and the country might have gotten their first glimpse at one of 2012's Heisman dark-horses: Washington sophomore QB Keith Price. Price erupted for 438 yards through the air and four passing touchdowns, and also accounted for 3 scores on the ground, out-dueling RGIII for much of the game.

No one defended (in) the Alamo from kick-off to final gun, and we the viewer made out like bandits, while Chris Spielman attempted to keep his lunch down as a result of the defensive misdeeds that were perpetrated again and again by Baylor and Washington in San Antonio.

Sibert elevated his game against Northwestern

BUCKEYE ROAD SHOW. Maybe it's because the game is on New Year's Eve, maybe it's because it's smack-dab in the middle of bowl season and the final push for the NFL play-offs. Maybe it's a combination of all those things, but it seems to me that Saturday's basketball game at #15 Indiana isn't getting enough attention.

The 13-1 and #2 ranked Buckeyes will travel to Bloomington for their third road-trip of the season, and their first with what seems to be a fully functioning and healthy Jared Sullinger. Sully missed the Kansas game with a lame back and left the game at South Carolina game after only a few moments with a bruised foot that had Buckeye nation holding their collective breath. 

After the systematic dismantling of a pretty good Northwestern team on Wednesday night, the Buckeyes should get a much better test in Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are 12-1, and are playing the game Saturday coming off their first defeat of the season, as Michigan State "upset" IU 80-65 two nights ago. 

Against Northwestern, Ohio State played its most complete game since the Duke blow-out, and were dominant on both sides of the ball, holding the Wildcats to 32% from the floor. The Buckeyes will face a much better team in IU, and will have their perimeter defense tested early and often. The Hoosiers are shooting 45% from beyond the arc, and freshman stud Cody Zeller gives them an inside presence that will keep the Bucks honest. 

Wednesday night the Buckeyes got unexpected contributions from Jordan Sibert and freshman PG Shannon Scott, who played 20 and 18 minutes respectively. Those minutes were a result of two unique circumstances: Matta going to the reserves early (Sibert) and foul trouble for Craft (Scott). Those minutes could be very important as the Buckeyes look to extend their bench moving forward, beginning Saturday night.

OH YEAH, THERE'S A FOOTBALL GAME MONDAY. Has there ever been a Buckeye football game that most have felt so "meh", about? It's not just that we're all sort of "over" this season, but the lack of consistency on the field from the Buckeyes and Gators has left a vacuum in the ol' expectations department for Monday. The Buckeyes could play well, they could play like crap, or they could do both in alternating quarters. 

Florida's front-seven could dominate the Buckeye offensive line, or they could care less; it's really hard to tell what we will see Monday. 

What do you expect out of the Buckeyes and Gators?

QUICK SLANTS. It's happening again, more OSU violations... I so wanna do this to someone... These "Awkward Family Photos" never get old... If only he could help Oregon from choking in big games... You're welcome, America... Penn State AD addresses the coaching search and moving forward



Comments Show All Comments

BuckeyeEd's picture

Jim Heacock is a class act and a big reason for our success in this last decade. He should be further recognized and applauded for his efforts and dedication. The reason we won so many was with-out a doubt our defenses. Defense wins Championships....Tressel Knew. Thank You Mr. James Heacock.

rkylet83's picture

I second that.  He was a great guy and put together some amazing defenses over the last 10 years.  Is he retiring?  

Maestro's picture

Not going to be part of Urban's staff.  Don't know if he will coach elsewhere.

vacuuming sucks

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I wholeheartedly agree. Heacock was an outstanding teacher, coordinator and a good man. Thank you, Coach Heacock.  

thorvath22's picture

Defense also losses championship ie. 41-14 & 38-24

luckynewman13's picture

against Florida...

offense's fault. Ur defense can't help out much when the QB gets sacked every other play.

thorvath22's picture

They could help by making a stop? They allowed 34 points in the first half, they played well in the second half by only allowing 7 points I believe that was also Meyer pulling back a bit. In no way is ever allowing all them points on that big of a stage acceptable no matter how bad your offense is.

flipbuckeye's picture

Heacock will certainly be missed. I'm sure a new look defense is more than welcome for most of us, but no one can deny what he accomplished for us during his tenure here.

Menexenus's picture

Best wishes, Jim Heacock!  Thanks for a job well done!

(I didn't know he was from Alliance!  Some of my family is from there!  Small world...)

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Carolina Buckeye's picture

Would have liked to see Heacock stay for a year or two if Meyer wasn't getting his top picks fo the D staff.

That being said, thanks for all the hard work Jim! Having you on staff has been a bridge to some not some great times and some really good times but knowing there was a staple in the program was refreshing

dubjayfootball90's picture

Listening to Spielman last night was amazing. He truly sounding sick and disgusted from the defenses of Baylor and Washington. He summed it up pretty well after a 14-yd curl that Washington ran netted an extra 10-12 yards until finally being touched (Not verbatim):

"The defense has no idea what they are doing out there. No one should even be that open when the defense is running zone"

I lost it when he said that.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

That is awesome! I stopped watching the silly game at halftime, so I missed it. Still, we should nominate Spiels for some kind of broadcasting award for that epic rant. 

I wonder if I'll be able to watch/listen to that particular segment from some source (You Tube?) a few weeks from now.  

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I remember a game a few years back Spielman did with Pam Ward, I think it was Iowa playing a  MAC school or something. He went off on this DB for not looking at what he was hitting and not wrapping up. I nearly lost it. Not an exact quote, but close..." what is that, I don't understand why you wouldn't want to see what you hit! YOU DROP YOU HIPS... SQUARE UP YOUR SHOULDERS....AND RUN THROUGH THE BALL CARRIER.... YOU PUT THOSE FACEMASK SCREWS INTO HIS CHEST AND DRIVE HIM INTO THE GROUND!!!"   I wish I could find this rant, probably one of the funniest I've ever heard in a football game. I think he scared Pam Ward. He was seriously pissed off.

I went to tOSU football camp my senior year, and heard his dad tell stories about Chris as a kid. Priceless. He'd tackle family members at dinners, use the couch as a sled or tackling dummy. Good stuff.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

Buckeye in Athens's picture

Any word from the offense/defense bowl last night? I hope Dunn and Ball ran wild.

Alex's picture

just put up a post....Dunn was solid, not outstanding, but Ball was better and scored

Run_Fido_Run's picture

The Ohio State v. Indy game is not getting much attention due to the need to protect the Bloomington public from possible carnage. Even if the game isn't hyped up, if the Buckeyes manage to win there this Saturday, there is a good chance that Tom Crean's head will explode. As a precaution, the public authorities have insisted that this game be flown under the radar.   

baddogmaine's picture

Has anyone noticed how Miami did in their bowl game this year? Trick question - the school chose to not let its 6-6 squad go bowling in the hope that by self-punishing thesanctions to come will not affect a better team next year. What a concept! I agree completeply with Andy Staples of SI who has as one of his stories of 2012:

10. If he's still employed in Columbus, Gene Smith is going to really, really regret not pulling Ohio State from bowl consideration this season. Because while Ohio State might not notch double-digit wins in Urban Meyer's first season, the Buckeyes have the players to come close. Having 15 extra practices to develop a still relatively young team would give Meyer and his staff a huge boost going into 2013. But Smith gambled that the NCAA's Committee on Infractions wouldn't issue a postseason ban. He lost. Now, the Buckeyes will put away their helmets two days after Thanksgiving and won't put them back on until March. All those cards in Smith's mailbox this week? They're thank-you notes from the rest of the Big Ten.

When the fan base feels meh about the 2011 team bowling and next year's team looks highly promising the bowl to skip is now. The AD who did not understand that should not still be employed in Columbus next year.


Run_Fido_Run's picture

This is a fair point, but we ought not assume to know - as if it were a fact, or even a likelihood - that the NCAA infractions committee would necessarily have been satisfied with Ohio State skipping a bowl game this year. After all, it's the absurd, corrupt NCAA we're talking about.

One explanation for the severity of the sanctions is that the NCAA wanted to send a message. If that's true and the NCAA announced that, because Ohio State had decided on its own to decline a bowl invite this year, then no additional bowl ban(s) is necessary, how would that have been perceived by the haters? 

The haters would have whined that Ohio State had tanked the season and then "penalized" itself by skipping the Motor City Bowl, allowing Urban Meyer to become the full-time coach in December, with the entire coaching staff free to hit the recruiting trail, etc. The screetching and moaning would be deafening.

cronimi's picture

It isn't about the haters, though. The only constituency that matters in this regard is the NCAA. If OSU had self-imposed a bowl ban for this season, it is possible (though I don't think likely) that the NCAA would have added an extra year -- in which case we'd be in the same boat we are now (given that this year's bowl is irrelevant).

The fact of the matter is Gene failed to review all relevant precedent to see that a bowl ban was possible/probable and continually taunted the NCAA by repeatedly telling the press that there would be no bowl ban. And now he tries to spin it that the current team (which, btw, includes all but one of the players that got the program into hot water in the first place) deserves this, while ignoring the fact that next year's team will deserve it even more (b/c the offending players will have moved on).

And for that, among many other reasons, is why Gene Smith needs to resign/retire/be fired by January 3rd. Gee should give him the news immediately after the winning coach of the Gator Bowl (hopefully Fickell) is doused with sports drink. And if Gee doesn't know cutting Smith loose is not only the right thing to do, but the necessary thing to do ... well then, he needs to go too.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

You wrote:

. . . it is possible (though I don't think likely) that the NCAA would have added an extra year

On what basis did you conclude that it was unlikely the NCAA would have added an extra year? My key point was that no one has made a compelling case supporting that assumption. Without making a strong case that an additional year would have been unlikely (preferably very unlikely), the argument for skipping the 2012 Gator Bowl becomes very weak.

cronimi's picture

It's all speculation, on both sides of the argument. But my speculation is based on the fact that the NCAA imposed a 1-year bowl ban. While it would have been within the power of the NCAA to add a year to a self-imposed 1-year bowl ban, I don't think the NCAA equated OSU's transgressions with USC's. So one must think the NCAA either (1) is completely capricious with its decision-making (I do not), (2) will just add on to whatever punishment is self-imposed, no matter how draconian (I do not), or (3) will ensure that the punishment meted out is appropriate to the charges (I do). I think most Buckeye fans -- and CFB fans in general -- acknowledge that a 1-year bowl ban is appropriate and warranted based on precedent.

As to the Gator Bowl, IMHO the argument in favor of going -- especially with sanctions on the horizon -- is rather weak. This is a 6-6 team, which could end up with a losing season; not exactly "deserving" of a bowl bid -- our name and traveling strength is what got us to JAX on Jan. 2 (NW and Ill were also 6-6 and ended up in the Meineke Texas and Fight Hunger bowls, respectively). The coaching staff and system will be overhauled immediately afterwards, so there may be little benefit to the extra practices, especially on the offensive side of the ball. If a bowl ban is a possibility, it seems to me you take your lumps in the "lost" year and give your new head coach the chance to take his team bowling in his first year.

buckz4evr's picture

I feel we were given a 2 year bowl ban because we vacated our bowl game from last year.  Seems pretty harsh to me

Run_Fido_Run's picture

You wrote:

 So one must think the NCAA either (1) is completely capricious with its decision-making (I do not), (2) will just add on to whatever punishment is self-imposed, no matter how draconian (I do not), or (3) will ensure that the punishment meted out is appropriate to the charges (I do). 

(1). No, one must not assume that the NCAA is necessarily "capricious with its decisionmaking." The penalties dished out by the NCAA might reflect rational or even calcluated examples of preferential/discriminatory treatment.

(2). Has the NCAA ever not added on to a self-imposed penalty?

(3). Is a self-imposed decision to skip a lower-tier bowl, made just prior to a coaching staff transition, effectively the same penalty as would be a bowl ban imposed on the following season with the program/NCAA not knowing whether the penalty might keep a team from competing in the BT CG, BCS bowl, or even NCG? Might not some members of the infractions committee see the latitude to allow such an option as involving a certain degree of arbitrariness, itself - that a potentially painful penalty might be effectively mediated by skipping this year's Motor City Bowl during an uncharacteristic "rebuilding year"?

If you believe the punishment was appropriate to the infractions (the charges are irrelevant until/unless "proven"), then logically you also believe that it's appropriate for Ohio State to be have been banned from having the opportunity to participate in the BT CG and a spot in a BCS Bowl, etc. (I think the penalty is ridiculous under any circumstances). Think about it: if NCAA punishments are supposed to be consistent (as you seem to believe), then it shouldn't matter when they're dished out; it was only a quirk of the calendar that Ohio State was in a position to know that the 2011 team had not reached the BT CG and was headed for a lower-tier bowl. If the NCAA had meted out the penalty in the summer of 2011, a bowl ban for this year would have been effectively more severe.          

baddogmaine's picture

After the WIS game we had the B1G game in our grasp. Had we self-punished then there would have been no argument that we tanked. Even had we self-punished when we were no longer in the running for the B1G game the idea that an OSU team would "tank"; that Fickellk, who was still harboring hopes for the permanent job would have let the team tank is beyond preposterous. Bowl game or no no Buckeye squad would ever let Purdue finish ahead of us in the standings, or be the first Buckeye team in nearly a decade to lose to scUM. Bowl or no this team would have played as hard as it could.

If the NCAA had meted out the penalty in the summer of 2011, a bowl ban for this year would have been effectively more severe.      

That's a particularly bizarre comment. This team was playing for a prestigious bowl and could do no better than 6-6. How would an NCAA sanction on a 6-6 team that included the players that helpeed bring about the sanctions be more severe than a ban on Meyer's first team?

There are two ways of looking at the NCAA. One is that is exists, essentially, to make OSU's life miserable. We know that isn't true, or we would have gotten at least USC-type penalties. The reality is that while the NCAA is grossly inconsistent it does operate within a framework that is roughly predictible. Smith apparently was the only one integrily involved in D1 football to not recognize that our record would almost certainly result in a bowl ban. To the NCAA a bowl ban almost certainly  is a bowl ban, and had OSU denied thr 2011 team a post-season the NCAA would have noticed. Would they have added a second year? Maybe. But we never gave them that chance. We rewarded a 6-6 team, making it almost 100% likely that next year's team would get the bomb. And it did.  

To put it another way a predator only eats till it is full. It may have the opportunity to eat a whole body but if all it wants is a leg that's what it takes. OSU had a low-value limb it could have offered the NCAA. Smith tried to give nothing and ended up losing a valuable body part. In this situation not giving up what can be most easily lost is just plain stupid.

We can not really compare OSU wioth Miami. But if Miami gets no additional bowl ban the folks defending Smith are going to run out of ground to stand on.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Maybe I should have been clearer, but you missed the point. Prior to the 2011 season, some of us (especially hopeless optimists like me) believed that Ohio State was still the odds on favorite to win the BT and had a decent shot at a BCS bowl. At that time, a bowl ban would have seemed a tough blow.

On the other hand, if two days after losing to PSU, Gene Smith had announced that Ohio State was "penalizing" itself by foregoing any bowl invites this year, Ohio State might have been seen as effectively back-dooring the punishment. If you know for certain that your team is out of the conference race and has no chance at a BCS bowl, obviously it's a lot more palatable to apply a bowl ban, then, right? Isn't that one of the same reasons you believe Gene Smith/Ohio State mishandled the situation - that a "bowl ban" this year was better for the program than one next year - i.e., it would have less negative impact on the program? Self-imposing a penalty at the exact moment when it will have a relatively minimal impact, ten or twelve games into a season, is not the same thing, is it, than a future penalty? With that distinction in mind, can we really be that confident that the NCAA infractions commitee would have been satisifed that Ohio State's self imposed ban from something like the Motor City Bowl would be a satisfactory punishment in lieu of a 2012 bowl ban?

Remember that the burden of proof is on those who claim that foregoing a bowl this year would have forestalled a 2012 bowl ban. You're making an assumption, not me. I'm not sure how the NCAA would have responded in such a case.

baddogmaine's picture

I don't have or care about a burden of proof. And neither does Gene Smith. His job is to a) know the facts, b) know your opponent, and c) make an educated guess as to how the opponent might view the facts. In this light it was a near certainty that OSU was facing a bowl ban. At any point in the season we could have self-imposed. Based on play on the field it was clear as early as the Toledo game that this team might have major issues, and whatever remaining optimism there had been was dashed by the Miami game. That was early enough that it almost certainly would have counted as a reasonable punishment.

But you might be right, that the time to self-penalize was before the season started. That was the time to do it. Your optimism was never warranted. We went into the season with five starters suspended for five games, with big losses on defense, and with Joe Bauserman as starting QB, with Braxton Miler a great hope but completely unproven. By 2012 the defense would be stronger, the subs game-tested, and Miller, if he was to be our QB of the future, also game tested. We also went into 2011 with Luke Fickell as interim coach, a position he really was not likely to hold if anyone with experience was available. And whatever happened the coach in 2012 was going to be more experienced than the coach in 2011. So look at what OSU had going into 2011 and what it was likely to look like going into 2012. Of course nothing is guaranteed, but there is no burden of proof, there is just weighing odds. So look at these two years, and tell me which bowl game is the "safest" to give up?

It's not a tough call for me. It should not have been for Smith.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

You finally stepped into my trap! To your credit, you skirted it for quite a while, but I finally wore you down. You wrote:

as early as the Toledo game that this team might have major issues, and whatever remaining optimism there had been was dashed by the Miami game. That was early enough that it almost certainly would have counted as a reasonable punishment. 

Contrary to your earlier position, you're now admitting that not all "bowl bans" (self-imposed or NCAA-imposed) are necessarily equal; therefore, the NCAA might not conclude that a bowl ban = a bowl ban. Once that point is established, then it's question of how different scenarios would be perceived relative to the circumstances. 

For example, you agree that Gene Smith announcing a bowl ban two days after the PSU loss might not have impressed the NCAA.

Yet, you were also pretty sure before this season that the Buckeyes would struggle and that I was silly to believe otherwise - and obviously you were right! Okay, but if it was that obvious, what's to say that the NCAA would have been impressed by Gene Smith, in retrospect (the NCAA ruled in December), announcing a self-imposed "bowl ban," in say August 2011 (i.e., prior to this season)? As you know, hindsight is 20/20. People who are skeptical about Ohio State would have said, after Ohio State went 6-6, that it had been patently obvious all along that Ohio State would struggle this year and therefore the university imposing a bowl ban on itself, at such a convenient time (although not as convenient as it would have been in November) was a means of back-dooring the pending punishment.

I'm not saying that the NCAA wouldn't have bought it, but it's a bold assumption to declare that they necessarily would have.

baddogmaine's picture

Because the NCAA doesn't follow teams and game results the way fans do. The NCAA studies rosters only as the Rules apply to rosters - they don't study rosters to evaluate how good a team might be.  We knew going into the season that this might be a grind, the NCAA didn't. We could see pretty early that it likely would be a grind, the NCAA didn't. Once you're officially out of the running for anything glittery the NCAA *might* not consider it a serious enough penalty (I do not concede that not all bowl bans are the same, I condider that as a possibility. IMHO the NCAA would have given credit whenever we did it. Ask other HCs and ADs what their opinion is) but had we done it early, if one bowl loss was enough - and it appears that it was - that would have done it.

The point is still that burden of proof is something for lawyers to argue about. I'm also not saying that the NCAA *would* have bought it, I'm saying there is a good chance they would have. An AD rsponsible for protecting his program has to know what is possible and what is likely, and do his best at effective damage control. Smith instead was either arrogant or stupid and gambled. It was a bad bad move on his part.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

This has been a good discussion. Like, I'm now cool with what you wrote this morning (most recent comment above), even though we still disagree on certain aspects.

In the final two sentences, though, you go a bit off the rails again: based on your (now more) nuanced position, it's not reasonable to take a hard-line position against Gene Smith based on this one risk/reward decision (whether to self-impose a bowl ban before or very early in the 2011 season). If you're saying that this was just one possible mistep of many and that Gene Smith has demonstrated a pattern of ineffectiveness, that'd be different. To say that Smith was "either arrogant or stupid or gambled," and that was clearly "a bad move on his part," when we both agree we do not really know what the NCAA would have done is taking an unfair line.

Otherwise, it's all good . . . 

baddogmaine's picture

In my opinion this was not Smith's first misstep. From the beginning of Tatgate he failed to assess the real risks tOSU was facing. His comments, his self-assessed penalties all described an AD who failed to understand that new violations by a school already on probation would not be lightly regarded by the NCAA. It was an ongoing serious of blunders.  By poo-pooing the whole thing he increased the likelihood of things coming down we would not like. I readily concede that Wikipedia is not the greatest source for info, but it is generally pretty reliable. Look at

In 2004, The Ohio State University fired men's basketball coach Jim O'Brien for recruiting violations and self-imposed a one year penalty, including a ban on post-season play and reduction of scholarships. In light of these University self-imposed penalties, the NCAA Division I Committee on infractions merely placed The Ohio State University on three years probation for the violations, and gave heavier penalties to Coach O'Brien and a former assistant coach.[3][dead link] The lightness of this judgment was seen as encouragement for schools to be proactive in responding to violations.


Proactive. Not smug.

But even if this were his first error how bad a blunder does it need to be to count? If someone's first crime is armed robbery should the guy get off with just a warning? By failing to minimize risks Smith did a grave mis-service to the University. And to this day he seems to not understand this.

As for Gee he, apparently, is a gret university president who should stay out of atheletics. It was he who said that he hoped Tressell would not fire him. His support for Smith seems like more gross lack of understanding. Granted, the NCAA will not penalize OSU for keeping an inept AD (if Smith is inept), and Geee will have a big say in whether Smith stays or goes. But in reviewing Gee's evaluation of Smith we need to keep in mind his evaluation of JT in deciding whether the guy who turned OSU into a top-level academic and research institution is thereby qualified to evaluate its atheltic department. If Gee likes Smith Smith probably stays. But that doesn't mean it's the right move.


Run_Fido_Run's picture spoke with Gee:

The OSU president re-affirmed his support for Director of Athletics Gene Smith, who's come under heavy criticism for not self-imposing a bowl ban this season.

"I think if we had self imposed a bowl ban, the NCAA still would have imposed a ban for next year because they wanted to impose their will on this issue... I think by not appealing and by doing what we're doing right now, just moving foward was the right decision," Gee said.

buckeyedude's picture

I'm not OSU alumni, and I don't live in C-bus, but from my perspective, I believe Gee has been a complete embarrassment to the university, and think he should step down as well. Just my opinion. I know Gee has his defenders and has done tOSU good, but I think a clean slate would be best. The buck stops with Gee, IMHO.



William's picture

I completely disagree. Gee made a single foolish remark about Tressel during the press conference. He IS the best university president in the nation, and people want him gone over an athletics issue? How would this look to other universities around the country? The AAU would drop us from their membership for doing something so stupid. Gee is taking this university to greater heights every year. We're already tied with Texas as the 13th best public university in the nation, and will be Top 10, and possibly Top 5 by the time Gee retires. His goal is to have OSU on level with UVA and UC-Berkeley, and so far he's on track.

Then again I am a student, so of course my view is heavily biased.

Poison nuts's picture


"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

ArTbkward's picture

I completely agree with William.  Gee may have made a couple of dumb remarks but he is a huge asset to the university.  Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe he is the highest paid university president in the country.   I think he is deserving of that, his goal is to make OSU the best public university in the country and he has already made huge strides in that direction. Someone pointed out recently that athletics is about 2.9% (or so...?) of his total budget. 

I just hope he is also good at choosing competent AD's.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

PattiJones's picture

This is OSU's current budget (about halfway down):   Football is about 1.6% of the total operating budget (per an ESPN article).  Also, Gee is the highest paid PUBLIC university president.  Many private university presidents make more but the schools do not have to release their salaries.  

I agree with you and others-Gee, while goofy, is an absolute asset to the university.  



buckeyechad's picture

You dont fire one of the best presidents in the country over football.

faux_maestro's picture

I wrote an email to Dr. Gee stating basically the same, that the man in charge of the athletic department showed such a lack of competence in this entire situation, we should have taken the bowl ban this year, he only went back 5 years to research punishments when if he had gone back 10 years he would have found examples yada yada. The of my email said that if he (Dr. Gee) didn't feel we needed new leadership then I believe that the university needs new leadership. I actually got a response, probably a form response "I appreciate your thoughts on this matter blah blah blah".

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

Maestro's picture

Mike Brewster says you can kiss his ass BDM

vacuuming sucks

BuckeyeCash22's picture

Sure it stings to not have anything to look forward to come New Years 2013...but let's be realistic. Staples says we have the players to "come close" to a double digit win season in 2012...and I think he is right, but our schedule is not favorable. On the road against Penn State, Michigan State, and Wisconsin with a young team is rough. 

But look at 2013's schedule...we don't have MSU or Nebraska, and if we can solve the mysterious Ross-Ade stadium curse our toughest match-up could be the final Saturday in November...Now, throw in the fact that Urbs will have a Jr. Braxton Miller, a stable of sophomore studs on the DL to surround Big Hank who will be a SR. If Urbs finds a couple speedy weapons to put on the outside that team could be as good as any Buckeye team we've seen in the BCS era...

Not being able to play in a bowl game next year, as much as it sucks, might actually help quell some of the premature, unrealistic expectations that many of us have. Now, Urbs can develop his QB, add talent, and install his system and not have to worry about the crazed expectations of him winning 7 national titles...

Besides...Tress had a pretty good second year at the healm...

Buckeyejason's picture

Gettin ahead of ourselves alittle bit. Didn't 2011 teach you not to jump ahead to seasons in the future? A lot of things can change drastically in 2 seasons...big Hank is a possible early entry into the NFL after next season.

I dont agree that we're really young next season. Everyone is pretty much returning who played most of the year. Only guy that would be Green is Bobek.

Anyways my point was, don't count your chickens until they hatch. Ive learned that very lesson this past season.


baddogmaine's picture

Not really any silver lining in not going bowling next year, If nothing else teams that bowl get extra practices, which would make us that much better prepared in 2013. USC had no bowl to look forward to and kicked Oregon's butt. A team that wants to win, with a coach that knows how to win, wins, and lets the sport writers and voters decide what to do with the mess. Pete Rose is the baseball hit leader whether he is in Cooperstown or not. tOSU 2012 will try to win a national title whether they will get crowned or not. The team might not be able to go 14-0, but its expectation is that it will go 12-0, and a bowl ban will not change that expectation.

BuckeyeNation's picture

"It's happening again, more OSU violations"...

That was dirty Jeremy! Coffee came out my nose when i first read that... Rotflmao!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Although I agree about Gene Smith totally screwing the pooch on his handling of the entire affair - I will play the devil's advocate on whether we should have self imposed a bowl ban this year:

1 - The NCAA was under very intense pressure to hammer OSU.  Had we banned ourself from a bowl game this year - I believe the NCAA would have just added to it for next year as well.

2 - The amount of press, most of it positive, surrounding this game and Urban Meyer is astounding!   These stories aren't about Tats and Tressel, they are about how Urban is kicking ass, future championships, excitment, and Big Ten domination.  All of this does nothing but help recruiting.

3 - Urban and the Buckeye exposure down in Florida can only help our recruiting efforts down in that area.

4 - Braxton and the boys get 15 more practices this year!

5 - Next year, we have no expectations and no pressure to go to the title game and Urban can get his system up and running with no down side what-so-ever.   His first recruiting class can gain valuable experience (or be redshrited) and be ready to destroy people in 2013.

6 - We get to go undefeated and crush everybody else's season and that will do nothing but benefit Urban's much expected monster recruiting class of 2012!

7 - At the end of 2012 when we've gone undefeated - the amount of press around OSU will be stunning about how they should have been in the conference title game and worthy of a BCS shot and how the 2013 will be in the national title hunt.  All that positive buzz will only benefit the Buckeyes!!!

So don't look at this with such gloom and doom - look at it on the positive side!!!  It's 7:59am here in Phoenix and Ann Arbor Community College still SUCKS!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

NW Buckeye's picture

I do concur with your assessment.  I really believe that the NCAA was going to add to whatever we self imposed because Emmert wanted to make an example out of OSU.  There are no hard facts either way.  However, because we were at the mercy of Emmert's NCAA I just didn't believe that self imposed sanctions regardless of how severe they were would not be added to by the infractions committee.  It is easy to have hind sight and say that we should have self imposed a bowl ban this year, but that was no guarantee that there would not be one for 2012.  The best reference I can cite for this is that the NCAA increased the scholly reduction even though OSU self imposed a very reasonable reduction - heck, they almost doubled it. 

I almost feel that if OSU had not self imposed any sanctions that the NCAA would have levied exactly what OSU started off with.  No facts to support that, just a gut feeling. 



baddogmaine's picture

1. We did not get hammered. We got fewer scholarships taken away, fewer bowls taken away than USC. We did not get hammered.

2. OSU does not need help in the press for recruiting. The other OSUs might but we have a brand that sells itself. And a coach that sells the school better than ESPN ever would.

3. If we look good. If we look bad it hurts. The reality is that Urban already has cred in FL, and we already have Sunshine State boys to talk to their homies. Don't need the game to get 5 star recruits - who are more likely to be troubled by a ban next year than impressed by a win against a 6-6 team.

4. That's better than getting them next year? to better prepare them to make a title run in 2013? If you believe that a ban this year would still have gotten us banned next year then it makles sense to save what you can. I do not believe that, and have not read anyone I respect (subjective, but isn't everything?) who does believe it.

5. UUggh. You start with no goal and you have nothing to aim for. Purdue's goal is to finish .500. I'm sorry to hear that is enough of a goal for tOSU 2012. My goal for the team is to finish undefeated, as it is every year.

6. Care to explain how that fits with your point #5? That we could go undefeated is exactly why we wanted to preserve the chance of a really, really nice post-season for the 2012 team. Instead of watching scUM represent.

7. That buzz is happening right here right now. And part of my buzz is that the incompetent AD who made sure the 2012 team would not be in the NC should be out of a job. We refused to face the obvious with JT for far too long. We are now in a situation where it is almost impossible to defend our AD. This decision needs to be made a lot quicker.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Again, we have no compelling reason to believe that a 2012 bowl ban was avoidable (btw, I have not read anyone I respect who claims to know, with any degree of confidence, how the NCAA would have responded in such a case).

Therefore, the program must strive to make the most out of next season, for what it is. The goal is to go 12-0.

Hey, if you don't want to watch the Gator Bowl, that's your prerogative. As an alternative, MSU v. UGA should be a decent game.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

1 - we got hammered!  Vacated the entire 2010 season.  Vacated 2010 BCS Bowl game and cash.  Three years probabtion which is crucial if something happens in the next three years.   Lost a ton of players to suspensions which pretty much crushed our season.  Lost Tressel, which was the final blow to our season.  Lost 9 scholarships and a bowl ban for the upcoming season - regardless what the whiner media and bloggers are saying, since nothing short of the death penalty will do, those aren't all that light.  Could it have been worse - absolutely, but they are certainly no slap on the wrist.

2 - Bullshit - OSU was taking a huge beating in the press and internet blogs on an hourly basis over the last 12 months.  Our brand was covered in feces and the massive bad coverage caused several commits to jump ship and probably several that crossed OSU off their list to visit.  The second rumors of Urban began to surface, the coverage of the scandals started to fade and the brand a bit more polished again.  Once it was confirmed, pretty much all bad press went away and the OSU brand was now back on top and in good hands.  You are sadly mistaken if you think OSU could have sold itself at that point in the scandal to big star recruits.  Had Urban not been hired, we would STILL be ranked somewhere in the 25th range for this year's recruiting class and not much better next year.

3 - Yes, if we get blown away again, it will hurt.. but other than that, any exposure from this game could/might sway a recruit our way.

4 - Toss up - granted, but since we are installing a new system next year, might as well have the practices now to help out for next year. 

5 - I never said they would not have a goal next year.  I said the expectations and pressure would be gone regarding the chase of a Big Ten and BCS Title.  That does not equate to added losses or lack of will to perform.  What I am saying is these kids do not have to have the pressure that a fumble or bad play will cost their team title implications - especially when they are learning a new system.  It is amazingly liberating to play without that pressure, especially when you are playing against a team that is tense for those reasons.

6 - Again - I never equated a lack of expectatins with losing - quite the opposite.  

7 - I am certainly not defending our AD, what I am saying is that I an not going to get all gloomy about next year just because we got a bowl ban.  My point here is that if we totally kick ass in 2012, the buzz will not be about Wisc or MSU earnling the title but around OSU was actually the better team - again, the more positive coverage the better. 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

baddogmaine's picture

1. You don't understand the rules, Arizona. We vacated 2010 because for the entire year we used players who the HC knew were ineligible. That was where the penalties started. The question was whwere they would end. USC also vacated wins and titles AND got much more than we did. We did not get hammered compared to what could have been.

2. The recruits don't care about press. They care about being seen on TV, but in the worst years of bad press but no sanctions strong players kept going to Miami and VaTech, to name but two. Bad-ass is not a problem if a player sees a multi-million dollar contract at the end.


3. C'mon. If we lose to or even struggle against a 6-6 team what does that say about our program? It says that the guys who will be there next year might not be very good.

4. ??? This bowl season will be coached by Fickell. Next year will be run by Meyers. What is the benefit of Meyers' players getting extra practices with Fickell - and an offensive coaching staff that is out the door?

5. You talked about bad press hurting recruits. You try selling ultra-competitive kids on the virtues of moral victories.

7. This is not about gloomy. It's about fixing what is broken so we have a better chance of the gloom stopping here. If we don't fix what is broken we're just drunk on hoe. I prefer hope mixed with reaism. If you think Smith handled this situation well then so be it. I think he needs to go, and I think that is more likely the more fans and contributors join the chorus.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

It is obvious that I do understand why we vacated the entire season - all of this was about Tatgate and Tresselgate - you cannot separate the two!  We self imposed those penalties based on what we thought the NCAA would impose anyway.  That still does not make it any less of a penalty.

The recruits absolutely watch ESPN and read/follow just about every other reputable media outlet regarding their lives, their future choices, and their college careers.  For you to say that is just plain naive.  The constant stream of bad press about OSU has absolutely influenced the general public, including these kids and their parents.  

I'm not sure why you're continuing to argue on this point since I agree with you.  It will be bad if we get blown out or have a bad performance but positive any other way.

Given the fact that I am and have been in and around marketing, sales, and the branding based business for my entire career - image does matter, press does matter, good exposure does influence a bit, but bad press is a toxic killer!  Don't believe me?  You only have to look as far as Joe Paterno to understand that!  Top of the heap on Saturday when he won 409 - 5 days later, fired, a villian, and ANYBODY coming to his support were ripped to shreads.  You also have just about every political campaign over the last 50 years to realize how effective negative press is around killing your opponents chances of winning.  Every single coach and/or recruiter is absolutely feeding on any and all negative snippets in attempts to lure away prized recruits.

Let's just agree that we disagree and move on.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

baddogmaine's picture

We did not self-impose based on what we thought the NCAA would take. No intelligent AD could ever have believed for a second that suspending JT for two games would get the wolves off our throats. At all times we self-imposed what we hoped we could get away with. That may be fine when bargaining with someone with no more power than you have, but it is folly when dealing with an entity that holds all the power. Reasonable penalties might have been enough; what OSU did was rarely reasonable.

Large numbers of 11W readers think ESPN is not really "responsible" press. Are you one who thinks they are, or are you just saying that because it is now helpful to say that? Probably how most recruits feel about the press is fluid. They care about swagger, they care about winning, and they care about getting prepped to shine in an NFL combine. And because of these things they care whether a team will be getting sanctions that mght affect the ability to win and their exposure to folks they want to impress. ESPN can rant all it wants about illegal tatoos and pay for no work - take away the sanctions and TP, Boom and the rest are heroes to recruits.

The PSU situation is entirely different. Child abuse is different from illegal tats. Religious recruits might not want to play for Child Molester U.  Also, PSU now has no coach, and it's not clear that anyone *good* wants the job. Also, ESPN might dump on OSU but it's still going to televise the games - it's not clear that advertisers will want to be associated with PSU now, and having no TV WILL scare away recruits. Our recruiting took a dip when the sanctions were unknown. We were able to offer reasonable guesses about what might happen (though in fact did not - what we were telling recruits ws wrong, which is why when the real sanctions came out we had reason to fear commits decommitting) - the potential sanctions for PSU are completely unknown. That scares recruits.

For a comparison look at Syracuse basketball. Winning, televised, damage pretty well controlled.

Elections are decided by fickle uninformed voters. Football games are decided by the teams on the field. The press can slam USC all it wants (and it has and it will) - going 10-2 and keeping team unity puts them in next year's Top 5 and will keep the 5 Stars begging to be Trojans.

Poison nuts's picture

Agreed - good points all.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Sunday night in FL, gotta get your game clothes ready:

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

timdogdad's picture

isn't  ironed jorts sort of an oxymoron?  i can see ironed khakis.  why whould you need to iron  your jorts?-going the the trailer park xmas party?   another oxymoron is having short hair on top and long hair in the back.   oh wait, people who wear jorts have hair like that too.   OMG another oxymoron.  "i'm gonna hit that dang old trailer park party as a dang old double oxymoron".   the gainsville man= jorts and a mullett 

BuckeyeSki's picture

If he is wearing jorts and going to a trailer park party, then he will probably think oxymoron is a yankee spoken insult

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

BrewstersMillions's picture

"To hell with you fancy boys and your long words and short, confusing words". Then again this is a fanbase who names their children after coaches....

Buckeyejason's picture

I'm sure a lot of Ohioans named their kids after Paul Brown, Woody Hayes and Jim Tressel


BrewstersMillions's picture

Then they are embarrassments as well.

timdogdad's picture

oxymoron ain't the dang old right word. if someone is stupid, ya'll just call him a moron. now get me another dag gum beer.  them jorts better be clean too woman, i'm going the double wide party tonight.  and don't iron them, who in the hell wears ironed jorts dag dum it !!   

Denny's picture

His jorts have pleats.


buckeyedude's picture

Maybe I missed it, but does anyone know how old Heacock is and if he has other employment options under consideration? I assume he's too young to retire?

And count in in the minority, but I am excited to watch the Gator Bowl. Not jump up and down excited, but looking forward to it. The future is NOW, and many of the Buckeyes playing in the Gator Bowl are going to be playing for Meyer next year when we kick most everyone's ass(if not all opponents).



Poison nuts's picture

Also excited for Gator Bowl. Never been to an tOSU bowl game...until now so I'm pretty excited to see them play UF again.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

RBuck's picture

OT but is anyone else having problems with their cursor disappearing on and off? Only does it on the 11W home page.

Long live the southend.

Menexenus's picture

My cursor disappears a lot when I am typing a post.  But once I start typing again, it reappears.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

Ian_InsideTheShoe's picture

Has there ever been a Buckeye football game that most have felt so "meh", about?

I know the feeling. This game just doesn't perk the interest as much. The season has been disappointing overall. A few bright spots though, (landing Meyer, progressing of Braxton) and hopefully will be a showcase for what we can expect to see from Miller next year as he drives towards a Rose Bowl or better. Damn you Gene.