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OSU To Avoid 'Failure To Monitor'

It has been an interesting Friday afternoon in Columbus – aside from the fact we have near record-breaking temperatures in the mid-90s.

Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor

At about 2:30 p.m. today, WBNS 10-TV came out with this report on its web site saying that former OSU coach Jim Tressel had told at least two OSU officials about his players’ wrongdoing.

Within an hour, Ohio State came out with a statement categorically denying the claims made in the 10-TV report. Here is that statement:

"The university’s filings to the NCAA; Coach Tressel’s formal, written response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations on July 8; and the NCAA’s own Case Summary received yesterday on July 21 all make clear that when Coach Tressel was interviewed by a number of people within the institution on December 9 and December 16, he did not share his knowledge about the NCAA violation.

"As we have previously stated to the public and the NCAA in our filings, Coach Tressel only sought advice from the University in January 2011 -- after the university had discovered e-mails that showed that he had knowledge of the matter and in contradiction to his statements to the University the previous December. That sequence of events is summarized clearly by the NCAA in its Case Summary.

"The University categorically denies anything to the contrary, and such allegations are inconsistent with the conclusions of the NCAA and the University.

"Any attempt to characterize events differently would be unnecessarily damaging, inaccurate and entirely misleading."

Less than 90 minutes later, The Columbus Dispatch came out with this report on its web site saying that the NCAA had found no new violations and that the school would not face the onerous “failure to monitor” charge.

It’s unknown if this will mean that Ohio State will escape this episode without facing the worst possible penalties, including scholarship reductions and a one- or two-year postseason ban. The school has already vacated its 2010 season and taken steps to revamp its compliance operation. Tressel resigned from his OSU post on May 30.

Tressel and school officials will testify before the NCAA’s Committee On Infractions on Aug. 12 in Indianapolis.

Here is Matt Barnes’ report on today’s developments on NBC4i.com:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The NCAA has notified the Ohio State University that it has found no new violations in the case involving the football program and memorabilia sales, which led to the resignation of then-head coach Jim Tressel.

In the enforcement staff case summary, the NCAA wrote they are in "substantial agreement" with the institution and Tressel on the facts of the allegations and say there are "no remaining issues."

The NCAA agrees with Ohio State that much of the blame belongs to Tressel, citing he was the only university official had knowledge of any of the rules violations. Because of that, the NCAA will not charge Ohio State with "failure to monitor" or "lack of institutional control" charges, which carry harsher punishments.

"Considering the institution's rules education and monitoring efforts, the enforcement staff did not believe a failure to monitor charge was appropriate in this case," the NCAA informed Ohio State.

In its report, the NCAA details a conversation Tressel held with one football student-athlete after a spring practice or lifitng session. Tressel states the meeting was short and the conversation was vague, never mentioning tattoo-shop owner Edward Rife, the tattoo parlor, the sale of memorabilia or NCAA violations.

The player, whose name was redacted, stated in his interview that Tressel mentioned "a tattoo-shop" owner and told him, "Whatever you guys did, I don't want to know, but when it comes back up, just make sure you tell the truth."

Tressel said in his interview with the NCAA that he may have said, "I don't know what you're doing," but said did not say he, "Didn't want to know."

The NCAA investigated other matters, including the Sports Illustrated report identifying nine other student athletes who may have been involved with Rife. After interviewing all nine players, the enforcement staff found only one acknowledged being given free tattoos.

The staff also conducted a review to see if the violations were more widespread, requiring football student-athletes to indicate whether they had been to Rife's tattoo parlor, receieved any discounts or sold any awards. Again, the NCAA found no additional violations.

Tressel will be among the Ohio State contingent that will present its case to the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis on August 12. After that meeting, the NCAA will decide whether to accept the OSU self-imposed penalties or to add more.

On July 8, OSU decided to vacate the entire 2010 season and place itself on two years probation.

Click here for a link to Barnes’ report. Here are other resources linked on that site:

The case summary (from OSU.edu)

NBC4i.com’s archive of this story

Photo timeline of the OSU investigation (from NBC4i.com)

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