A painful lesson
The penalty is harsh — no Big Ten or national championship in 2012 — but it could have been a whole lot worse. Just ask USC fans who had to suffer through back-to-back seasons without postseason play.
While Ohio State is no USC, it did drop the ball when it came to compliance.
With schools such as Miami and North Carolina still under investigation, the NCAA wanted to make an example. It's a painful lesson for the Buckeyes.
Yes, compared with USC
Ohio State probably got an appropriate penalty for the violations that occurred under Jim Tressel's watch. The problem is that, compared with USC, the Buckeyes got off easy.
USC's football program was hit with a two-year bowl ban and lost an unprecedented 30 scholarships, largely for the actions of one player. Ohio State gets a one-year bowl ban and loses nine scholarships for the actions of multiple players, boosters and Tressel, who covered up violations.
USC's mishandling of its case provided a template of what not to do. Ohio State and others have learned that admitting to some violations, self-sanctioning and cooperating with the NCAA helps ease the pain.
Pays to cooperate
Ohio State's punishment is proof that it pays to cooperate when the NCAA starts sniffing around your program.
By all accounts, USC wasn't so helpful when the NCAA investigated its program. That might have added to the mammoth penalty levied against the Trojans — 30 scholarships lost and a two-year bowl ban.
Ohio State apparently was contrite and cooperative, so the program wound up with a one-year bowl ban, three years of probation and the loss of nine scholarships.
The penalty is about right. Give Ohio State credit for handling the investigation well and cleaning up its mess. It's a lesson for the next school that falls under the NCAA's spotlight.
Should have been harsher
The bowl ban is appropriate and will cast an embarrassing light on Ohio State for the next 12 months. Jim Tressel's show-cause penalty is valid. The five years the Buckeyes have to disassociate with Terrelle Pryor? They should have asked for 10.
But where the NCAA failed is by revoking only nine scholarships — from 85 to 82 for the next three seasons. Why bother with a number so small? So a few walk-ons won't get rewarded?
This penalty does nothing to deter coaches from cheating and will not affect the Buckeyes after next season. The NCAA should have yanked at least twice as many scholarships and cut Ohio State's contact period on the recruiting calendar in half.