As Ohio State's NCAA infractions case dragged on month after month last year, athletic director Gene Smith and other top officials reiterated that they didn't think the violations would merit a postseason ban.
When you take that position for so long, you can't change course to say Ohio State wasn't merely in jeopardy of a one-year postseason ban, but a multiyear ban.
But that's exactly what our friend The Bowtie, aka university president E. Gordon Gee, told The Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday while the 12-0 Ohio State football team toured the Statehouse in Columbus.
"We were caught in the tsunami of all the things that were going on and we were the big fish on the line, and the NCAA was under great pressure to impose sanctions and my strong belief is … if we would have self-imposed, we still would've had a bowl ban," Gee told The Dispatch.
But if the violations, in Ohio State's estimation and through its research with NCAA infractions case experts, didn't merit even a one-year bowl ban, why would the NCAA's infractions committee (not the NCAA itself, by the way) go for two?
Gee also noted in his interview with The Dispatch that he worked with NCAA president Mark Emmert, former NCAA executive committee chair Ed Ray (president of Oregon State) and NCAA infractions committee member David Williams earlier in his career.
"So no one knows more about this than I do," he said.
Hmmm, if that's the case, why was Ohio State so surprised when it received the one-year bowl ban, effective for the 2012 season? And if the NCAA was under so much pressure, why wasn't Ohio State proactive with self-imposed penalties to show just how seriously it took the violations?
Again, this is extremely faulty logic by Gee, who has proved to be a very smart guy who sometimes says dumb things.
Ohio State's problem all along, one that barely gets mentioned, is that the second wave of infractions, unveiled during the 2011 football season, pushed back the date of its infractions ruling. Remember when Ohio State was supposed to learn its fate in October? If that had been the case, any bowl ban -- and I do think it would have been a one-year ban -- would have gone into effect for the 2011 season. But the delayed date for the ruling, which came down in December, led to the bowl ban impacting the 2012 campaign.
As I wrote last year, Ohio State took a minimize-until-forced-to-maximize approach with the violations, cooperating with the NCAA but never admitting systematic problems. All along, the school maintained that the violations didn't merit a postseason ban.
Ohio State gambled and lost. It happens. But trying to claim a multiyear bowl ban was inevitable is nothing more than damage control.