After months of trepidation and speculation about the ongoing investigation of tattoos, non-disclosures, and lack of institutional control in the Ohio State University football program, the NCAA dropped the hammer today.
The sanctions were more severe than was expected. The NCAA deprived the football program of scholarships, put the Buckeyes on probation for five years, and — most important to Ohio State fans — imposed a one-year bowl ban to take effect in 2012. The ban means that Ohio State won’t be able to play in next year’s Big Ten championship game even if, as fans fervently hope, the Buckeyes bounce back from this year’s disappointing season with a strong performance in 2012. Ohio State has decided not to appeal the ruling, because the institution has decided — correctly, I think — that we need to put this whole sorry episode behind us.
I don’t think Ohio State fans should be arguing about whether the NCAA sanctions were consistent with past sanctions and whether the media has it in for the Buckeyes. That kind of pathetic excuse-making and eel-wriggling is beneath our flagship state university. Instead, Ohio State alums and supporters should feel angry and embarrassed that our fine institution has had its reputation sullied by the thoughtless actions of a few players in the football program, and we should insist that the University do whatever it takes to make sure that it never happens again.