The sizable swath of America that composes Buckeye Nation has some collective breath-holding to do, as a respected program awaits an August date with the NCAA Committee on Infractions that will direct the destiny of Jim Tressel. As investigation timelines go, this case is a runaway train on a steep downgrade (ask USC fans how much fun it is to play this waiting game for four years), but the accelerated process means the Bucks' head coach could, in the worst of scenarios, be the subject of a show-cause penalty by the middle of the 2011 football season. SB Nation's Ohio State blog, Along the Olentangy, is here to talk beleaguered fans off ledges, with a call for patience:
What does this all mean? As followers of the criminal justice system well know, a defendant is informed of the maximum possible penalty that can be levied against them to prepare that individual to defend the charges, and do determine how he or she wants to proceed. [...] This is all simply to point out that those speculating regarding penalties are putting the cart before the horse and lack several pieces of information to give any type of accurate analysis. At this point, the NCAA's investigative arm has simply informed OSU of what charges they must defend against, and what is off the table. OSU will now have a chance to make their case before the NCAA's adjudicative body. It's certainly possible that the maximum penalties may be imposed on OSU, but only after this process is completed. It's too early to accurately speculate on what might happen.
Recall that this case becomes even more difficult to predict with multiple recent personnel turnovers in the COI itself, including the chairman. Whether the new blood will be more or less inclined to punish a marquee program remains very much to be seen.