Gordon Gee: Ohio State should have asked more questions

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State University should have asked more pointed questions from the outset of a memorabilia-for-cash scandal in its football program that led to a one-year bowl ban and other NCAA penalties, the school's president said.

"The big lesson is that we can never be secure in the fact that we are doing (enough) in terms of asking the right questions," Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee said in an interview published in Monday's editions of The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/si0mx3 ). "You can have all the procedures in the world, but unless it is being enacted by good people acting in good faith asking the right questions, then it will not work."

Ohio State, which was scheduled to play Florida in Monday's Gator Bowl, was barred last month from playing in a bowl game after the 2012 season. The NCAA's other penalties included more limitations on scholarships, for violations that started with eight football players taking thousands of dollars in cash and tattoos in exchange for jerseys, rings and other Buckeyes memorabilia.

Though some officials at the university wanted to appeal, Gee decided against it. He said Ohio State will set the example of a higher standard that the NCAA should apply throughout college sports.

"What happened at Ohio State is causing every coach at every program across the country to say, `Now, wait just a second; what am I doing, and what do I need to do differently?"' Gee said. "If that is the net result of what happened to us, then that also is good."

Ohio State launched a review of how well its athletics programs follow rules and requirements; the consultants who were charged with studying the university's compliance are to present their recommendations in February.

The scandal brought the downfall of head football coach Jim Tressel, who resigned on May 30. The NCAA called him out for unethical conduct, saying he knew about his players' infractions but didn't report them. Tressel's attorney said his client would not appeal.

Gee indicated he has mixed feelings about Tressel.

"He was a person that I admired, who I enjoyed being with, who was a great university citizen," he told the newspaper. "But he also did not tell us the truth."

Tressel was replaced with assistant coach Luke Fickell on an interim basis for the past season. Former Florida coach Urban Meyer was introduced as the new Buckeyes' coach on Nov. 28.

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