In the end, Ohio State comes out OK

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For players breaking rules and having its coach conceal those infractions, Ohio State ended up with a one-year bowl ban, the loss of nine scholarships over three years and a new coach with two national championship rings.

“I feel closure, yes,” Ohio State President Gordon Gee said Tuesday night, hours after the NCAA announced it sanctions against Ohio State. “I feel very much closure. I’m disappointed on the one hand but on the other hand I’m very relieved because I feel closure. I think we can now move forward.”

All things considered, it seems the Buckeyes made out OK.

Whether or not the NCAA’s sanctions against Ohio State were fair is all about perspective.

Many Buckeyes fans, still basking in the hiring earlier this month of Urban Meyer, are feeling persecuted. Plenty of other college football fans believe Ohio State got off easy. Southern California fans are downright enraged _ yet again _ by seeing another program they believe committed worse crimes than the Trojans receive lesser penalties.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden, for one, is ready to stop talking about the past.

“My job is to move on,” he told the AP in a brief phone interview. “I’m not going to compare it.”

Other would like to, so here goes.

Last year, USC received a two-year postseason ban and the loss of 30 scholarships over three years by the NCAA for violations mostly committed by Reggie Bush and his family. The NCAA said the former Trojans star received thousands of dollars in impermissible benefits from a fledging marketing agent. The NCAA also said a former USC assistant, Todd McNair, knew about the violations and did not report them.

USC’s men’s basketball program also got into trouble with the NCAA, and the school was charged with lack of institutional control.

“That is one of the heaviest findings that can be levied against an institution,” said Greg Sankey, associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and a member of the committee on infractions.

Ohio State’s troubles started with players trading memorabilia _ such as championship rings and jerseys _ for tattoos and cash. It got worse when it was discovered that former coach Jim Tressel knew about the violations and never told anyone.

And just when it seemed that was the end of it, Ohio State found more players had taken cash from a booster when they attended a charity event.

The most severe charge against Ohio State was failure to monitor, which isn’t quite as serious as lack of institutional control.

The NCAA hit Tressel, who was pushed out at Ohio State in May, with an unethical conduct charge _ as it did McNair _ and slapped the national championship-winning coach with a five-year show cause order that will make it virtually impossible for him to get another college job during that time.

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