NCAA Could Consider Ohio State 'Repeat Violator'

UPDATED: Friday March 25, 2011 4:09 PM

Previous NCAA rules violations could impact the severity of the penalties faced by football coach Jim Tressel and the team, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the National Collegiate Athletics Association upheld penalties against five players for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits, but it has not yet determined what punishment Tressel will face.

Earlier this month, Tressel was suspended by the university for the first two games next season and fined $250,000 for failing to notify the school about information he received last April involving two players and questionable activities involving the sale of memorabilia. 

The NCAA could levy additional penalties on him.

After the school was sanctioned for violations in its basketball program, Ohio State was supposed to stay out trouble for at least five years.

SPECIAL SECTIONS:   Ohio State Investigation  | Ohio State Football  | VIDEO EXTRAS: Tattoo Shop Investigation Tressel, Smith Discuss Player Reaction   | SLIDESHOW: Ohio State Players Sanctioned By NCAA | WEB EXTRA: NCAA Requires Loss Of Contests For Six Ohio State Football Student-Athletes (PDF)

The basketball penalty started on March 10, 2006.

The basketball team had some of its brightest moments erased from history after former coach Jim O'Brien broke some rules. The NCAA imposed sanctions that included stripping the school of post season victories and pulling down championship banners as though OSU had never won.

10 Investigates has learned those problems could mean the university, and its football team, could be considered a "repeat violator."

The NCAA bylaws state that "an institution shall be considered a repeat violator if a major violation has occurred within five years of the starting date of a major penalty."

Tressel's failure to disclose is considered a major violation, Aker reported.

Bylaws state that in addition to normal penalties, a school given repeat violator status could lose up to two full seasons of play, scholarships for athletes, and recruiting privileges for two years.

Ohio State officials would not comment on whether the university expects to be considered a repeat violator.

The NCAA said serious sanctions can apply to repeat violators, but are not automatic.

Sports attorney and agent Brett Adams said OSU clearly qualifies as a "repeat violator," but questioned whether the NCAA would actually carry out its most serious penalties.

"I don't think there's any question from a technical standpoint they fall under a repeat violator status," Adams said. "I don't think there's any chance that will happen no matter what additional facts come out because Ohio State is a huge business."

Adams said that while OSU is likely to be spared the NCAA's harshest penalties, it will likely face serious punishment.

The NCAA upheld suspensions for Mike Adams, Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas. The players were previously handed five-game suspensions for selling awards, gifts and university apparel, as well as receiving improper benefits in 2009.

Ohio State appealed the suspensions in the hopes that it would reduce the number of games players would miss, but an NCAA committee on student-athlete reinstatement upheld the punishments.
The players must also repay money and benefits ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.

After the NCAA upheld the player's suspensions, Tressel asked to also sit out the first five games of the 2011 season and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith accepted his request.

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Previous Stories:

March 17, 2011: NCAA Upholds Ohio State Suspensions; Tressel To Sit Out 5 Games In '11
March 14, 2011: Tressel Gets Standing Ovation At Canton Speaking Engagement
March 12, 2011: OSU AD Smith Asked About Tressel On CBS Broadcast
March 11, 2011: Attorney: Tattoo Shop Owner Didn't Tip Off Ohio State
March 10, 2011: Gee: No 'Smoking Gun' In Ohio State Rules Violation Investigation
March 9, 2011: Ex-Ohio State Football Player Says He Told Tressel About Player Investigation
March 9, 2011:  Tressel's Rules Violation Could Impact Ohio State Recruiting
March 8, 2011:   Ohio State Suspends Coach Jim Tressel For 2 Games
March 7, 2011:   Report: Tressel Knew About Violations Last April
December 30, 2010:  NCAA Rebuts Critics Of Ruling On Ohio State Violations
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