At a press conference a short time ago, Ohio State University President Karen Holbrook and Athletic Director Andy Geiger made assurances that all accusations and statements revealed in today's New York Times article will be investigated thoroughly.
After an opening statement by Dr. Holbrook and Andy Geiger, questions were taken soon after. Here are some quotes from the conference:
- "Those students were eligible for the Fiesta Bowl," Andy Geiger said when asked a question about the Fiesta Bowl and the eligibility of the players. "One of the problems with the New York Times story was that according to the faculty member, no student received preferential treatment in that class and that those students that received a grade in that class fulfilled the commitment to that class, and we have no problem with Maurice Clarett's eligibility or the eligibility of Chris Vance to play in the bowl game. Beyond that, I cannot comment a student athlete's situation."
- Regarding Coach Tressel: "I have talked to Coach Tressel about this," Andy Geiger said. "He is obviously not pleased that the story has been presented the way it has presented but like all of us he's determined to move on with a full commitment to the program he's begun at Ohio State." Geiger went on to point out that 46 players had a 3.0 GPA or better during the fall quarter.
- Regarding whether or not game results could be changed: "I can't imagine that there's a violation," said Geiger. "I don't know of a violation so I have to answer that I don't think there won't be any change."
- Regarding the players: "They have been contacted," Geiger said. "I don't think they are having their greatest day."
- Andy Geiger on a possible link between this issue and other possible investigations of Maurice Clarett: "I don't think there's any linkage whatsoever. If the NCAA feels that they need to come in and discuss our program as it relates to the matter we are talking about today, obviously they are welcome. We will do everything we can to cooperate as we have in each and every instance when the NCAA has come in and asked about some aspect of our program. It is not unusual for the NCAA to be interviewing a prominent student-athlete."
- On whether or not the NCAA will contact OSU: "We're more likely to contact the NCAA... Right now, we lead the Big Ten in self reports because we are very, very concerned about the integrity of our program," Andy Geiger said.
- Dr. Holbrook: "I think this is a troubling situation because it came to light very recently and in a way that we were not necessarily prepared for. Looking back we recognize that the reporter had been to campus on five different occasions and had spoken with none of us, including the faculty member and the department directly but had made phone calls. Our sense is that if there was an issue, it would have been delightful to us to have addressed it a little bit ahead of time instead of at the last moment as we are doing right now."
- Andy Geiger on the things that are false in the article: "I wrote down four. First of all, the student that has been challenged was prepared for college, at least according to credentials that we received from him and his high school. No preferential treatment was reported in the class according to the faculty member who taught the class. If there is cheating, faculty are required to report it and none have been reported. And finally, the faculty member has told us that the student completed the work and received a grade in the course."
- On whether or not it was known there was a story being done, Geiger said "We knew that there was some aspect of an article and some questions being asked about two and a half to three weeks ago and I first talked with the reporter Friday."
- On his conversation with the reporter, Dr. Geiger said "I was more interested in whether or not he had a story. I was trying to find out a little bit about what he was alleging... When you're national champions and you have as prominent a program we have, you understand that you're going to receive some scrutiny. That goes with the territory."
"I don't think in this case that Maurice has done anything wrong," Geiger also said later in the conference. "Maurice, as we do when we grow up, we learn as we go, and I think that's what we're seeing here."