Through the first six months of 2014, the Ohio State football program self-reported six NCAA or Big Ten rules violations. In the following two months and 20 days, it reported none.
In fact — through at least Sept. 20 — the football team hasn’t had a self-reported violation since April 22, or a span of nearly five months.
Within that time span, junior defensive lineman Noah Spence reportedly failed a drug test — resulting in a violation of OSU and Big Ten rules — and was declared ineligible by the university for the Buckeyes’ Sept. 13 game against Kent State. Spence — who had not played this season because of a three-game suspension after a separate failed drug test — practiced once after the Kent State game, coach Urban Meyer said, but no further update on his status has been released.
Since the most recent football violation, all of OSU athletics has self-reported 18 different violations, just one of which involved the men’s basketball program. In total, OSU has self-reported 30 NCAA or Big Ten rules violations this year up until Sept. 20.
This information is the result of two separate public records requests submitted by The Lantern. The first was submitted July 8 and filled Aug. 11, while the second was requested Sept. 23 and filled Tuesday evening. The requests span the dates of Jan. 1 through Sept. 20.
Despite lower numbers in recent months, the football program still has the most self-reported rules violations so far in 2014 with six. In total, 18 different athletic programs at OSU had self-reported violations listed among the records, with the institution being listed on a pair of violations.
Seven of the teams had multiple violations listed, but only football and women’s rowing had more than two. The rowing team was named on four of the violations, two of which came on the more recent records request that spanned from July 1 through Sept. 20.
Women’s rowing is the only OSU program to have self-reported multiple violations since July.
Responses to the violations from OSU included issuing letters of education to the coaching staff for teams involved with the incidents, a restriction to one program’s financial aid capacity for the 2014-15 academic year and the repayment of $28 worth of “impermissible per diem” for multiple student-athletes.
Regardless of punishment, the 30 violations all count as minor NCAA or Big Ten violations. But those 30 infractions still put OSU on track to hit about 40 for the year.
OSU athletic director Gene Smith — who is know also the school’s vice president — said the athletics department usually has about 40 self-reported rules violations every year during an interview with The Lantern on May 15, 2012.
“On an annual basis, we have about 40,” Smith said in the interview. “It ranges in that area we’re sitting at. In that 40 range is where we always hang.”
Smith added that a lower number wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing for OSU.
“Our whole thing is if we have 10 (violations), I’d have a problem,” he said. “I mean, I really would because people are going to make mistakes. And that means if I only have 10 out of 350 employees, 1,000 athletes — something’s not right.”
While OSU does have one of the largest athletic departments in the nation, its number of violations comes in higher than some other programs. In the second half of 2013, the school self-reported around double the number of NCAA or Big Ten violations than five other schools in the conference.
OSU has already self-reported more than double the violations that at least one other school with a major college football program reported during the 2013-14 year. According an Aug. 5 The Oregonian article, University of Oregon athletics self-reported just 14 violations in that academic year.