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Published: Saturday, 7/23/2011

NCAA finds no new violations

OSU told it will not face ‘failure to monitor’ charges

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Ohio State will not face the serious NCAA charge of failure to monitor. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Ohio State will not face the serious NCAA charge of failure to monitor.

The NCAA has notified Ohio State University that it will not face charges of failing to appropriately monitor its football team as part of a memorabilia-sales scandal that brought down former coach Jim Tressel.

The NCAA has not uncovered any new, unreported violations during its investigation and agrees with Ohio State that Tressel was the only university official aware of violations by his players and that he failed to report them.

“Other than [two redacted player names] and [Ted] Sarniak, there is no indication that Tressel provided or discussed the information he received ... with anyone else, particularly athletics administrators,” the NCAA reported in an enforcement staff case summary.

In the summary that was delivered to Ohio State Friday, the NCAA again stresses that Tressel failed to report the violations and knowingly fielded at least two ineligible players.

The NCAA will not hammer Ohio State with its worst-possible findings of loss of institutional control or failure to monitor, which would bring significant punishment.

“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.

The NCAA also reported that it investigated a Sports Illustrated report that identified nine additional players as selling OSU memorabilia to tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife and interviewed the athletes, but confirmed only one as dealing with the man who is soon to be sentenced on marijuana-trafficking charges.

Ohio State also released Friday the 139-page transcript of a 5-hour interview with Tressel on Feb. 8, in response to a public-records request by The Dispatch. The transcript was submitted to the NCAA on July 8 as part of its response to the charges.

Tressel resigned on May 30 at Athletic Director Gene Smith’s request, unable to survive a scandal that prompted the school to vacate its 12-1 record and Big Ten and Sugar Bowl championships of last season.

Tressel was interviewed by university and NCAA officials. The transcript portrays him as torn and frightened after receiving emails in April, 2010, from lawyer Christopher Cicero reporting that at least two of his players had sold memorabilia to Rife and were associating with a man investigated for drug trafficking.

For the rest of this story, go to the Columbus Dispatch's Web site.

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