Buckeyes React To Self-Imposed Punishments

The 2010 Ohio State football season may have been vacated by the university, but players who took the field for the Buckeyes last season have not forgotten what they accomplished. Several upperclassmen met with the media last week and spoke of their feelings about OSU's self-imposed punishments and their hopes a difficult period in the program's history is near an end.

Ohio State vacated the 2010 season July 8 when the university released its 66-page response to the NCAA about two major violations committed by its football program.

The season may be gone from the record books, but for current Buckeyes the memories remain. Several players expressed that opinion Tuesday when they met with the media for the first time after the university announced self-imposed punishments.

The Buckeyes finished the 2010 season with a 12-1 record, a sixth-consecutive Big Ten title and a win in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas. All of that has now been erased, and the university also placed itself on two years of probation.

"I feel it's something the university felt like they needed to do," junior tight end Jake Stoneburner said. "As a player it kind of hurts. We put in a lot of work, a lot of effort, blood, sweat and tears to try to have a successful season. For it all to be taken away kind of hurts, but we have to move on. We have a 2011 season to prove people wrong."

Senior walk-on linebacker Tony Jackson made nine tackles last season, and said it was tough to watch the university make the decision to negate the on-field accomplishments of he and his teammates.

"You never want something like that to happen, but they made their decision," Jackson said. "We played the games. We know what happened."

Another senior, J.B. Shugarts, said he simply wants to move forward to the upcoming season.

"It's tough to deal with (having the season erased), but at the same time, I'm worried about today and getting better now," he said. "I'm worried about next season."

An offseason that has seen Ohio State in the news for all the wrong reasons has been difficult for not only Buckeye fans, but the players too. Senior defensive stalwart Tyler Moeller has tried to ignore all of the hits the team has taken in the media.

"I get my work in, I hang out with my teammates. That's about it," Moeller said. "We don't really talk about it. We just kind of ignore it. I was hanging out with the linebackers and we were sitting there watching TV and we saw the thing on ESPN about last season, taking away our games. We talked about it for a little bit and then dropped it.

"It's kind of like, we're preparing for this season and we're not going to listen to everything going on. What's going to happen is going to happen."

What's going to happen next is a meeting between the NCAA's Committee on Infractions and Ohio State representatives on Aug. 12. It will likely be six-to-eight weeks after that time that the NCAA's final decision on OSU's punishments will be made public. It is possible more punishments will be coming, but the current Buckeyes are not concerning themselves with what may happen.

"Whatever happens happens," Shugarts said. "We just have to be strong and deal with it as a team."

They can't do anything about the NCAA's decision, but like Buckeye fans, they're hoping the university's self-imposing punishments are enough.

"I'm really hoping this is it," Stoneburner said. "More probably wouldn't be good, obviously, but I really think this probably is it. I'm not sure. I don't work for the NCAA. We served our punishment already with guys being gone five games, vacating last season, Tress being gone. I think we have deserved our punishment, but who knows?"

No matter what happens, though, the players who took the field during the 2010 season will always have their memories.

"The film is there, and everyone saw what happened," Stoneburner said. "It might not technically be there, but everyone knows what happened in the 2010 season so I think that's good enough."

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