Buckeye Number Crunch?

Ohio State was definitely surprised by the NCAA ruling Tuesday, and most of the focus was on the one-year bowl ban. The issue of scholarship reductions was another important development, and with Ohio State needing to reduce numbers to 82 for the next three years, it's worth taking a look at. How will the reduction impact the current recruiting class?

Ohio State finally received their answer from the NCAA regarding punishments for the actions of players and former head coach Jim Tressel, and it wasn't what the Buckeye administration expected to hear.

While the one-year bowl ban received most of the attention, and deservedly so, will the reduction in scholarship numbers have an impact on the current recruiting class? Ohio State will be forced to carry only 82 on scholarship for each of the next three years.

With Ohio State at the 82 mark currently when you account for all committed recruits, how can they add more players to the 2012 recruiting class?

First off, there are three potential medical redshirt candidates, and those names cannot be listed but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out. These are legitimate, football-related injuries, and neither of the three will be transferring to Mount Union to resume their careers.

Taylor Graham has already been factored into the number with his impending transfer, and there is one other player looking at his options, with Kent State under Darrell Hazell being viable. There could be others as Ohio State begins winter workouts, and transitions into spring football.

Jaamal Berry still has not seen his legal situation resolved, and the outcome of his case could potentially have him dismissed from the team.

Two currently committed prospects are in academic jeopardy, with one being deemed in "serious" peril. If either, or both, do not qualify, those spots become available for other high school seniors, or saved for next year.

Ohio State has until the start of fall camp, August of 2012, to be at the required roster number of 82, which allows time to let things work out. Head coach Urban Meyer will honor all scholarships of currently committed players as long as they qualify academically, so nobody will be dropped or asked to move on, to alleviate the number's issue.

Factoring in all variables, it would appear Ohio State should easily be able to add four more players to this class, and that number could rise to five or six, as issues are resolved.

A class of 23 or 24 is probably where Meyer originally thought it would be when he was hired three weeks ago. Tuesday's NCAA finding will probably not impact the final number at all, when all is said and done.

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