OSU Charged with "Failure to Monitor"

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The NCAA accused Ohio State for the first

time of a "failure to monitor" for permitting a booster to

continue to have contact with players after he was involved in NCAA

problems earlier in the year.

Ohio State President Gordon Gee expressed disappointment

Thursday in athletic director Gene Smith for not properly

monitoring the actions of Robert DiGeronimo, who got several

Buckeyes football players into trouble with the NCAA.

The university agreed to reduce its football scholarships over

the next three years as the latest self-imposed punishment over a

year of violations and sanctions.

In the letter to Smith, dated on Thursday, Gee wrote, "I am

disappointed that this is where we find ourselves. You know I find

this unacceptable."

In information released on Thursday, it was also revealed that

DiGeronimo had hidden in a locker in order to hear coach Jim

Tressel's speech prior to a game.

The NCAA handed Ohio State a second letter of allegations

covering all violations that have occurred since it sent the

initial letter this summer. The first letter dealt with violations

stemming from players taking cash and discount tattoos from a

Columbus tattoo-shop owner, and a subsequent cover-up by Tressel.

The latest letter covers violations not covered during Ohio State's

hearing before the NCAA's committee on infractions on Aug. 12.

The reduction in football scholarships would seem to be a token

sanction that would have little effect on the football program,

accounting for only one or two scholarships per year in a program

that is permitted 85.

The university previously announced it will repay the $338,811

it received as its portion of bowl revenues last year from the Big

Ten. It also vacated the Buckeyes' 12-1 record in the 2010 season

including a Sugar Bowl win and agreed to go on two years of NCAA


The university had also suspended several players and forced the

resignation of Tressel.

The university previously said that DiGeronimo arranged cash

payments of $200 to four current or former players at a Cleveland

sports banquet earlier this year.

The university also said DiGeronimo overpaid five players by

$1,605 while they were working for businesses owned and operated by

the DiGeronimo family.

Ohio State said Thursday it should have done more to monitor

DiGeronimo's activities.

Smith said the athletic department has consistently worked with

the NCAA to investigate any allegation, take responsibility and

self-report its findings to the NCAA.

"That is what we have done on this last open issue, and we

accept that we should have done more to oversee Mr. DiGeronimo's

activities," Smith said in a statement.

He added, "On a personal note, I deeply regret that I did not

ensure the degree of monitoring our institution deserves and


DiGeronimo did not immediately return a call Thursday seeking


He told The Columbus Dispatch: "They're trying to put it all on

me, the supposedly rogue booster.

"They want to get all the heat off them."

The university said in its latest report to the NCAA that

DiGeronimo had been an Ohio State booster since the 1980s, when he

was part of a group known as the "committeemen" who helped

recruit players before such practices were outlawed.

DiGeronimo contributed more than $72,000 to the athletic

department since 1988 and had been a season ticket holder for

years, the report said.

DiGeronimo was one of a group of outsiders who had access to

Ohio State's locker room on game days, a practice that Tressel

stopped after taking the head coaching stop, according to the


After that ban, Tressel caught DiGeronimo trying to hide in a

locker to listen to Tressel's pregame speech and ordered him and

another individual out of the locker room, the report said.

In 2005, Tressel and then Smith also ordered DiGeronimo to stop

providing lunches to members of the athletic department coaching


Despite these actions, the university said it should have done a

better job monitoring DiGeronimo's interactions with players away

from the university, including attendance at an annual charity

event where DiGeronimo was on the event's board, as well as taking

jobs with DiGeronimo's excavation business.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)