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Insider

Penalties hurt, but Ohio State will be fine

12/20/2011

The news of Ohio State's additional penalties surprised recruits, but it won't necessarily hurt the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail.

Ohio State received a one-year bowl ban for the 2012 season, was put on probation through Dec. 19, 2014 and will have its football scholarships reduced by three for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 recruiting classes, totaling nine scholarships.

It was unexpected news, as new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and the staff told Class of 2012 recruits that they didn't feel a bowl ban was on the horizon. Still, it's not having much of an impact on current Buckeyes commits, including Harrisburg (Pa.) Bishop McDevitt five-star DE Noah Spence, No. 4 in the ESPNU 150, who just committed to Ohio State on Sunday after visiting the campus.

"Noah's still committed and coach Urban Meyer is like family to us," said Greg Spence, Noah's father. "Noah told me he's not committed to Ohio State for four years but committed to them for life. He feels great about his decision.

"I don't think anyone thought a bowl game would be taken away but always knew it was a possibility. It could have been worse. At this point I spoke with my son and he stands by his commitment."

Lancaster (Ohio) High School three-star tight end Luke Roberts doesn't like the ruling, but it's not affecting his decision. He still plans to enroll early and participate in spring practice.

"I'm obviously a little disappointed about the whole situation, but hey, that's life," Roberts said. "You have to play the hand you're dealt. Ohio State will be even stronger after this."

Unlike in the spring and summer when Ohio State saw prospects wavering and committing elsewhere in the wake of a tattoo and improper benefits scandal at the school under former coach Jim Tressel, this news won't have much of an effect on the Buckeyes' 19 commitments. Most of them grew up Buckeyes fans and stuck with the program throughout the uncertainty surrounding the program.

The recent ESPNU 150 recruits Meyer landed – Spence, Canton (Ohio) McKinley DE Se'Von Pittman, who flipped from Michigan State, and Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Glenbard West DT Tommy Schutt, a former Penn State commit -- all spoke with Meyer recently and were comfortable with the situation before committing.

Though Ohio State is clearly disappointed with the bowl ban, it is only one year and won’t hold its recruiting efforts back much. Meyer's first full class will be next year's 2013 class, and by then, the Buckeyes will have already served their bowl ban. Meyer will able to recruit freely without recruits asking questions about penalties.

The biggest blow to Ohio State's recruiting efforts is the loss of nine scholarships over Meyer's first three full recruiting classes. The Buckeyes will have to sit at 82 scholarships instead of 85, and those are tough losses as Meyer attempts to bring in players who fit his offensive and defensive philosophies and schemes. And with the Big Ten's strict rules on oversigning, there is little wiggle room to work around those reductions. The 2013 outlook for prospects from the state of Ohio is pretty promising, too.

Overall, though, the Buckeyes will be just fine. The bowl ban will have a minimal effect on Meyer's first full recruiting class, and most pointed to that 2013 class as one that would really stand out for the Buckeyes. This should only be a minor speed bump for the train Meyer already has running at full speed.