COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University trustees will spend up to six weeks reviewing the athletic program after the scandal that led to the suspension of five players and the forced resignation of football coach Jim Tressel.
“We want to assure ourselves that there are no new issues in any existing athletics matters that have not been dealt with,” said Robert Schottenstein on Thursday during the trustees’ audit committee meeting. “And I will say today that we believe that is the case.”
In the first public comments from a member of the board of decision-makers that oversees the university, Schottenstein added that the school reported every alleged football team violation it was aware of to the NCAA.
“The process and decision-making to date by the university has in our judgment been fundamentally sound,” said Schottenstein, chairman of the audit committee. “For the most part, we believe our compliance protocols in athletics are good.”
Schottenstein, who did not directly address Tressel’s resignation, promised additional comment from trustees when the full board meets Friday.
Tressel’s successful, 10-year Ohio State coaching career ended in disgrace when he stepped down after failing to tell his superiors that players were getting improper benefits under NCAA rules.
The coach knew players received cash and tattoos for autographs, championship rings and equipment and did not tell anyone at Ohio State or the NCAA for more than nine months. NCAA rules and Tressel’s contract specify that he must disclose any and all information about possible violations.
“When our university discovered anything that appeared to be an NCAA violation, it was timely reviewed and timely reported to the NCAA,” Schottenstein said. “There has never been any attempt to act with concealment or with indifference toward the NCAA.”
In addition to the Tressel situation, the NCAA also is looking into player car deals and other possible violations.
Five players were suspended for the first five games of the upcoming season, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who announced this month he was leaving the university. He hopes to make himself available for the NFL’s supplemental draft.
In a brief meeting with reporters after the audit committee meeting, Schottenstein said trustees have determined that the university’s own investigation of the memorabilia scandal “was complete, sound and very thorough.”
Schottenstein also repeated that the university is not aware of any other athletic department problems.
“Not that we know of at this point,” he said. “But we’re not done.”