News comes down today that the NCAA sent out a Notice of Allegations to Ohio State last Friday. For Ohio State as a whole the news was relatively good, with nothing to support charges of a lack of institutional control or a failure to monitor. A vacation of wins from the 2010 season seems like a foregone conclusion at this point, but future scholarship reductions or bowl bans seem unlikely.
The good news for the Buckeyes is that the NCAA looks to be pinning the entire blame for Tattoo-gate on Jim Tressel. For Tressel, of course, that means his situation looks more dire than ever. The NCAA charged him with violating Bylaw 10.1, which prohibits unethical conduct. Why does that matter? Per Sports Illustrated:
An SI.com study of the past 177 NCAA infractions cases involving violations of Bylaw 10.1 revealed that coaches accused of such violations rarely retain their jobs. Of the 177 cases, 172 involved coaches or athletic administrators accused of committing unethical conduct. Of those, 159 resigned or were terminated. Eighty-one cases involved coaches or athletics administrators accused of providing false or misleading information to NCAA investigators or encouraging others to lie to investigators. Of those, 78 resigned or were terminated.
Clearly Jim Tressel is no ordinary coach, so the odds of him surviving this are likely better than the typical coach facing such charges, but even so the outlook is relatively bleak. I'm not sure Ohio State would fire him of their volition, but a show cause order certainly seems like a legitimate possibility at this point.
Finally, the kicker in this one will be the timing of it all. Ohio State is scheduled to appear before the Committee on Infractions on August 12th, which would likely result in a ruling being made sometime in October. If you will recall a five-game suspension was self-imposed, which would have Tressel returning for the Nebraska game on October 8th. Will the NCAA ruling come down before Tressel's suspension ends, thus meaning we've seen the last of him on the Buckeye sideline, or will he return for a few weeks only to be shown the door shortly thereafter? Or, perhaps, he somehow lives to fight another day? Either way, expect massive amounts of speculation on his future in the coming months, and if nothing else this looks to be a major distraction for Ohio State as they hope to find a way back to New Orleans next January.