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The week the Buckeyes were supposed to get Posey, Herron, offensive lineman Mike Adams and Thomas back, Posey and Herron were suspended again _ this time along with three others for taking too much money for too little work from DiGeronimo. The NCAA determined Posey had accepted $727.50 for 48 1/2 hours of work that was not performed. Herron received $292.50 too much.

Herron was held out of another game (totaling the first six of the season), while linebacker Etienne Sabino, offensive lineman Marcus Hall and defensive lineman Melvin Fellows gave back the money they were overpaid and were allowed to return to the team. Posey was hit with an additional five-game suspension, leaving him just two games in his senior season. In addition, Ohio State banned DiGeronimo from any further contact with athletes.

While the distracted Buckeyes struggled through the season _ going 6-6 heading into the Jan. 2 Gator Bowl against Florida _ everyone was waiting for the final word from the NCAA on penalties.

The Buckeyes did give their fans reason to look ahead when they hired Meyer, an Ohio native who won two national championships at Florida, on Nov. 28. Meyer has put together a solid recruiting season and is in the process of filling out his new coaching staff.

But even he had a hard time swallowing the penalties that came down Tuesday.

“The NCAA penalties will serve as a reminder that the college experience does not include the behavior that led to these penalties,” he said in a statement.

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Rusty Miller can be reached at http://twitter.com/rustymillerap