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New plan drawing praise from NCAA



Published: Tue, January 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



OSU's football and basketball programs are currently being investigated.

COLUMBUS (AP) -- Ohio State has drawn rave reviews from the NCAA's top official for its plan to separate several academic and oversight programs from its troubled athletic department.

"It is very interesting approach and Ohio State may become a model in that regard," said Myles Brand, president of the NCAA.

"It's far reaching and it's thoughtful."

Ohio State's football and men's basketball programs are currently being investigated by the NCAA after allegations that athletes were paid, had their classwork done for them and received high-paying, no-show jobs from team boosters.

What's in store

Athletic director Andy Geiger announced last week that he will retire on June 30. University President Karen Holbrook has asked Geiger to spend his final months on "important and difficult" issues, including:

UMoving direction of Student Athlete Support Services, which provides tutoring and other academic help, to the university provost.

UShifting more policing of athletes and coaches to the legal affairs staff.

UImproving booster education with the help of the development office.

The overhaul comes as the university continues to deal with allegations from former running back Maurice Clarett that tutors wrote papers and boosters arranged easy jobs for players.

Starting quarterback Troy Smith was suspended from last month's Alamo Bowl after receiving improper benefits from a booster.

Ohio State has denied Clarett's allegations, although Geiger conceded at the bowl game that Clarett's charges have gained validity since Smith's suspension.

No hoops postseason

Geiger and Holbrook announced last month that the basketball team would not participate in any postseason tournament if asked, in order to mitigate upcoming sanctions from the NCAA.

"Andy and I hope that by addressing these matters we can bring closure to some of the significant issues of recent months," Holbrook said during a news conference announcing Geiger's retirement.

Geiger is ending his 11-year term because he said he was beaten down by a series of problems in the football and basketball programs over the past two years.

"Controversy is always difficult," Geiger said.

"Clearly, we are dealing with some difficult issues, and I will work with my colleagues to see them through to conclusion to the very best of my ability."

Brand, speaking from Dallas where the NCAA was having its convention, said integrating athletics more into the university makes sense because it uses offices within the university that already exist for the same reasons.

"Why do you need something autonomous?" he said. "This approach lowers the risk of things going wrong. I think Ohio State is ahead of the curve."




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