Dr. Saturday - NCAAF

Oh, by the way: Ohio State is still suspending players for accepting improper benefitsFinally, after the longest offseason in school history — nine consecutive months of suspensions and mea culpas and allegations resignations and disappointments and vacated wins and scapegoating and haggling with the NCAA — finally Ohio State fans can put all of that program-wrecking unpleasantness behind them and get on with the business of actually, you know, playing football. How sweet it must feel at last to —

Wait? What's that? I'm being told there's one last order of business (emphasis added):

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As part of its continued work with the NCAA to resolve any remaining football compliance issues, Ohio State today announced that it has self-reported violations involving three student-athletes. That review has led to junior running back Jordan Hall, sophomore defensive back Corey Brown, and junior defensive back Travis Howard disclosing that they had received impermissible benefits of $300 or less each in total at a charity event they attended earlier in the year.

Consistent with past practice, the university immediately reviewed this information and self-reported the infractions to the NCAA and the Big Ten. In accordance with NCAA regulations, the university will not permit them to participate in the Sept. 3 game versus Akron. Although Ohio State has filed for their reinstatement for the remainder of the 2011 season, the university also is considering institutional sanctions for these student-athletes.

Howard (pictured) was expected to take over as a full-time starter at cornerback, a particularly sore spot with both of last year's starters gone to the NFL; Brown is the top backup at corner. Hall was one of three returning backs (along with Rod Smith and Jaamal Berry) vying for carries in the temporary absence of senior Dan Herron, one of the three offensive starters suspended for the first five games of the season for exchanging memorabilia for cash, tattoos and other not-so-fabulous prizes. Altogether, the latest round of suspensions brings the total for the Akron game to seven, not including exiled quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Against Akron, big whoop. The more important question: How long will the latest suspendees be on ice? Based on the love tap the NCAA justgave five Miami players accused of accepting less than $500 in the sprawling Nevin Shapiro scandal, the NCAA-mandated suspension could be a single game; even if Ohio State decided to hold them out of the Sept. 10 date with Toledo in the name of Getting Tough, they'd likely be back in time for the Sept. 17 trip to Miami.

Which would be nice. Because somebody has to play in that game.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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