The NCAA on Wednesday defended recent rulings in violations cases involving The Ohio State University and Auburn, saying it does not play favorites or make decisions based on financial considerations.
The NCAA posted a statement on its Web site responding to its critics.
The statement said in part, "the notion that the NCAA is selective with its eligibility decisions and rules enforcement is another myth with no basis in fact."
Big Ten Conference will receive about $6 million from the Sugar Bowl, but that money is split among all conference schools.
The NCAA said money is not taken into consideration when issuing sanctions.
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"Money is not a motivator or factor as to why one school would get a particular decision versus another. Any insinuation that revenue from bowl games in particular would influence NCAA decisions is absurd, because schools and conferences receive that revenue, not the NCAA," the statement said.
In addition to the five-game suspensions, the five players must also repay money and benefits ranging in value from $1,000 to $2,500. The repayments will be made to charity, the NCAA said.
A sixth player, Jordan Whiting, must sit out the first game of the 2011 season and pay back $150 for receiving discounted services.
During a news conference on Thursday, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said the university will appeal the NCAA ruling in the hopes that the players' suspensions could be reduced.
On Thursday the NCAA suspended five Ohio State players for five games next season, including
quarterback Terrelle Pryor, but allowed them to play in the upcoming Sugar Bowl.
The players publicly apologized on Tuesday.
Wide receiver DeVier Posey was the only player of the five who announced that he would return for his senior season.
Posey, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, tailback Daniel "Boom" Herron, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas were suspended because they received improper benefits for selling awards, gifts and university apparel.
A sixth player, Jordan Whiting, must sit out the first game of the 2011 season and pay back $150 for receiving discounted services. He did not attend Tuesday's event that featured statements from the players.
The investigation started in early December after the U.S. Attorney's Office seized Ohio State items from an unidentified person's home and business. Investigators contacted the athletic department and it was determined that football players had sold the items
Ohio State said it will appeal the five-game suspensions.
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December 28, 2010:
Suspended Ohio State Football Players Publicly Apologize
December 23, 2010: Pryor, 5 Others, Face Sanctions For NCAA Violations
December 22, 2010: Ohio State Probing Possible NCAA Violations By Football Players