Meyer, Smith admit to secondary violations

Secondary NCAA violations happen with every FBS program on a semi-regular basis, but at Ohio State, after the past year, every error is magnified.

The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer recently obtained a list of all Ohio State's NCAA violations since May 30, 2011, the day Jim Tressel resigned as football coach in the wake of the tattoo/memorabilia scandal. According to the Plain Dealer, Ohio State reported 46 violations in 21 sports during the span, including secondary NCAA violations committed by new football coach Urban Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith.

Meyer admits to saying "good luck" to defensive line recruit Noah Spence during a Dec. 16 game, which violates NCAA rules prohibiting direct contact with a prospect during a competition. Spence, who originally was leaning toward Penn State before the child sex abuse scandal broke, ended up committing to Ohio State days after the game while on an official visit, and he signed with the Buckeyes in February. He's the nation's No. 4 recruit according to ESPN Recruiting and the highest-rated recruit in the Big Ten this year.

From the Plain Dealer:

Ohio State learned of the matter after seeing a newspaper photo that appeared to show Meyer saying something to Spence. Meyer also told Ohio State about the incident two days after the game.

"I went to say hello and good luck to his coach and as I was walking off the field Noah said, 'Hello,' and I said 'Good luck,' before the game," Meyer wrote in a text message to The Plain Dealer on Thursday. "Nothing more. Nothing to hide. All good."

The violations included nothing about Meyer and recruit Kyle Dodson, who signed with Ohio State in February. The Sporting News reported that Wisconsin had accused Meyer of impermissible contact with Dodson, who originally committed to Wisconsin before switching.

Smith and Archie Griffin, the former Ohio State star running back and current CEO of the school's alumni association, admitted to recording a personalized video for recruit Ezekiel Elliott before his official visit to campus March 31. Such videos are prohibited. Elliott committed to Ohio State during his visit.

Other football secondary violations range from the truly ridiculous -- assistant coach Mike Vrabel used smokeless tobacco on the sidelines during games, which violates NCAA rules prohibiting tobacco use during games or practices -- to the extremely common (assistant Stan Drayton accidentally sending a recruit a text message rather than an email last summer).

The only major violations included are the ones involving players being overpaid for work by former booster Bobby DiGeronimo. Those violations, combined with the violations from the tattoo/merchandise scandal, resulted in Ohio State losing scholarships and receiving a one-year postseason ban from the NCAA for the 2012 season.

There are a few ways to view the report, none of which are off base.

  • The NCAA rulebook is pretty silly.

  • Meyer and Smith have to be more careful, especially after what happened. Smith's violation is a bit puzzling. You would think he would have some hesitation about recording a personalized video for a recruit.

  • Ohio State's compliance department, panned during the tattoo/merchandise scandal, is improving in monitoring and reporting issues.

"So many lessons learned throughout that entire challenge," Smith told ESPN.com last month. "You have to constantly look at, 'OK, what could we have done better?' What procedures do we put in place as we move forward? Be as transparent as we can. The biggest thing for us is identify, report and move on. That's what we’ve always done. There's some things we changed to make sure we don’t end up in that situation again."