NCAA announces findings on infraction cases with three Ohio State sports

·3 min read

The NCAA has finished its review on infractions that were self-reported by the Ohio State athletic department regarding three different sports programs. Fencing, women’s golf, and women’s basketball all had violations occurring between 2015 and 2019 that result in the athletic department being placed on four years probation and fined $5,000.

The OSU compliance and athletic department worked collaborative with the NCAA to report and investigate the infractions beginning in 2018, with more infractions being identified. Ohio State self-imposed postseason bans for each sport for the 2020-2021 years and is now out of the woods it seems there, while still on the four-year probation.

And while no athletic department wants to be the center of the NCAA’s gaze, the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions actually gave the OSU athletic and compliance departments high praise for “exemplary cooperation” and found things at Ohio State to be working as they should with high marks.

“The panel recognizes that the institution dedicates significant resources to its compliance program that, in many ways, exceed those of other Division I institutions,” the panel said in its decision. “To be clear, resource dedication alone does not fulfill the minimum compliance requirements … but here, the resources combined with the compliance program that Ohio State had in place outweighs the deficiencies identified by the panel.”

Athletic Director Gene Smith praised the university’s work with discovery, accountability, and teamwork to uncover the missteps and work to bring it all to a close.

“I’m proud of our university, athletics department, and the involved sport programs for our management of this matter,” Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletic Director Gene Smith said. “We are committed to our proactive and pre-existing system of compliance methods and rules education. A comprehensive compliance program ensures adherence and institutional control over the athletics department and furthers the mission of the university. We are pleased that this matter is now behind us, and our focus remains on our student-athletes.”

Here is a sampling of the infractions that were uncovered:

  • Ineligible participation as a result of multiple recruiting and extra benefit violations in women’s basketball and fencing;

  • the fencing program exceeding its maximum allowable countable coaches;

  • a countable athletically related activities (CARA) violation for women’s golf and women’s basketball;

  • head coach responsibility violation and ethical conduct violation for the former head fencing coach; and

  • a head coach responsibility violation for the former director of golf.

As a result of the findings, the following penalties have been imposed in addition to the self-imposed postseason bans.

  • Women’s basketball Big Ten championships in 2017 and 2018;

  • the 2018 Big Ten tournament championship in women’s basketball;

  • women’s NCAA tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2017, and a 2019 Women’s NIT appearance;

  • 52 women’s basketball wins (10 in 2016-17; 28 in 2017-18; 14 in 2018-19);

  • Midwest Fencing Conference championships in 2016, 2017 and 2018;

  • NCAA fencing championship runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2017 and an NCAA third-place finish in 2018;

  • a 3-percent budget reduction in 2022-23 for the fencing program and 1-percent reductions for women’s golf and women’s basketball; and

  • scholarship and recruiting restrictions for the fencing program.

Ohio State’s four-year probation will end on April 18, 2026. You can read the full NCAA report here.

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