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Published: Thursday, 6/23/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Ohio State considers oversight transfer

Athletics department would lose authority

BY RANDY LUDLOW AND JENNIFER SMITH RICHARDS
COLUMBUS DISPATCH

COLUMBUS -- A committee of Ohio State University trustees expects to issue a report in 30 to 45 days in light of an athletics department scandal that could lead to major NCAA penalties.

Trustee Robert H. Schottenstein said the university ultimately might move its oversight of athletes and coaches out of the athletics department.

"The current thinking ... is to perhaps consider moving toward a more centralized function for compliance," said Schottenstein, the chairman of the trustees' Audit and Compliance Committee.

He said Ohio State could ultimately create a universitywide office that would also oversee compliance in the Medical Center and research office. Any recommendation on that idea could be six to nine months away, he said.

Schottenstein spoke during a committee meeting as Ohio State continues to confront potential major NCAA violations. He took no questions, and the committee immediately went into a closed-door session after Schottenstein spoke.

OSU is preparing its response to NCAA findings that former football coach Jim Tressel, who resigned May 30, knowingly lied -- and allowed ineligible players to compete -- when he declared that he knew of no potential violations involving his players.

The NCAA's "notice of allegations" also says six football players improperly sold memorabilia to Columbus tattoo parlor owner Edward Rife.

Tressel had gotten a tip related to the players' conduct months before he professed to knowing of no violations. Columbus lawyer Christopher Cicero sent emails warning the coach that his players were selling items to Rife.

The fallout included Tressel's ouster and the departure of quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who is turning pro.

President E. Gordon Gee, athletics director Gene Smith, and compliance director Doug Archie did not attend the audit committee meeting.

Gee has said previously that university officials were "taking a look at our failures" in the compliance department entrusted with keeping sports programs and athletes in line with NCAA regulations. He also has questioned whether the front-line officials in the athletics department were asking tough questions to monitor whether rules are being followed.

Archie also has defended his department.

Schottenstein said, "There has never been any attempt to act with concealment or indifference" about NCAA violations. He said the university "reported almost instantly" when potential violations were discovered.

He said of the committee's work in the next 30 to 45 days: "We want to assure ourselves there are no other issues ... and as of today, we believe that is the case."

READ MORE of this story at dispatch.com.



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