Posted by Adam Jacobi
Ohio State may not be at full strength in terms of getting players back on the field, but it's getting there. The NCAA has officially reinstated RB Jordan Hall, CB Travis Howard and S Corey Brown as of today, ending the three Buckeyes' two-week suspension for accepting money from a booster at a recent fundraiser.
According to the NCAA, whose full statement on the reinstatement is linked here, the three players will be forced to repay the money they received from the booster, with the money going to an undisclosed charity.
The reinstatement means that the players have finally gotten their stories straight about where the money came from, which was not the case last week when two different people (a former player and a booster) were named as sources for the money in Ohio State documents. That clearly didn't sit well with the NCAA, and the suspensions continued through the Toledo game.
Nonetheless, Ohio State didn't have any public gripe about the length of the investigation and suspensions. “The university appreciates the NCAA’s expeditious response in reinstating these three student athletes,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State Director of Athletics.
The NCAA's statement ends on this well-known, but still ominous note (emphasis ours):
Reinstatement decisions are independent of the NCAA enforcement process and typically are made once the facts of the student-athlete’s involvement are determined. This is typically well in advance of infractions decisions. The enforcement investigation into the Ohio State University is ongoing.
In other words, this situation isn't fully resolved in the NCAA's eyes, but at the very least the three players involved can get back on the field.
One must wonder when the boosters in Columbus are going to stop providing benefits to players. It may be a noble gesture and the rules may be illegitimate in the boosters' eyes, but they are still the rules, and the more those rules are broken the worse off Ohio State is going to be. It seems very counterintuitive that a "booster" would take such destructive action, then, but such is the world we live in.
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