The Ohio State men’s basketball program self-reported three minor NCAA violations stemming from three recruiting visits in early September, records released by the university show.
According to documents acquired by The Dispatch, an unscheduled visit to the set of ESPN’s “College GameDay” program resulted in the violations. While the non-coaching staff took recruits on a campus visit Sept. 9, they watched the taping of the show from the crowd on the Oval at the center of Ohio State’s campus.
After the show, the administrative assistant for analyst and former Ohio State football player Kirk Herbstreit spotted Scoonie Penn, the men’s basketball team’s director of player development.
Through this interaction, the three players were introduced to Herbstreit, as well as former football player Eddie George. This was permissible because recruits are allowed to meet with university alumni while on campus, but meeting with the other two members of the Gameday broadcast crew who are not former Buckeyes — Lee Corso and Chris Fowler — is a violation because they are media members.
In addition, the recruits were permitted onto the stage, which was considered an extra benefit because members of the general public would not have access to the area.
As a result, the NCAA imposed three penalties on the program: the reduction of two in-person recruiting days, Penn was forced to sit out one game, and the involved prospective student-athletes must be reinstated by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement staff.
According to a team spokesman reached Thursday morning, Ohio State is not expecting any eligibility issues with any of its incoming players related to this issue.
Ohio State signed two of the three recruits on hand for the incident: Luther Muhammad from Jersey City, New Jersey, and Jaedon LeDee from Houston. The other recruit, Elijah Weaver from Oldsmar, Florida, signed with Southern California.
In response to the violation, Ohio State issued a letter of education to the men’s basketball program and prohibited all access to the vicinity of the GameDay set for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year. In addition, the university provided education to the GameDay producers and media analysts who will be part of any future broadcasts on campus.