When ESPN.com first reported earlier this month that both Ohio State and Penn State are eligible to be official Leaders Division champions, it created a stir around the Big Ten -- and quite a few eye-rolls and chuckles from the rest of the country.
The thought of the Big Ten awarding trophies to a team on postseason probation because of NCAA sanctions didn't go over well outside of Columbus and State College.
Turns out, both Ohio State and Penn State were in the clear for the division title as soon as the NCAA and Big Ten made their penalty announcements for each program. Although the Big Ten bans any team on postseason probation from participating in the league championship game -- the league implemented the rule before the inaugural title game in 2011 -- it never stated anything about division championships.
"Never discussed," Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN.com on Monday. "... If you look at the NCAA penalties and the Big Ten penalties, they're pretty clear. And that penalty is because you want to [implement it]. Those are presidential decisions at the NCAA level and the Big Ten level."
The Big Ten's penalties for Penn State announced in July, which include no bowl revenue for four years, are outlined here. Other than prohibiting Ohio State from the league title game, the Big Ten didn't impose its own penalties on the Buckeyes, who still are eligible to receive a share of the Big Ten's bowl money this season.