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Ohio State Recruiting: How Will NCAA Scholarship Reductions Impact Urban Meyer's First Class?

With today's news that the NCAA rejected Ohio State's proposed penalties and imposed a scholarship reduction almost double that of what the Buckeye's submitted, many Ohio State fans will wonder how this will impact Ohio State's recruiting. And this is an important question, as Ohio State has been on an absolute tear lately on the recruiting trail. Meyer has catapulted Ohio State's class from decent to excellent, with the additions of defensive linemen Noah Spence and Tommy Schutt. 

The new penalty is as follows:

Reduction of football scholarships from 85 to 82 for each of the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years. This is an increase from the university’s proposal of five initial scholarships spread over three academic years.

The reduction in scholarships doesn't necessarily mean that the Buckeyes must take a smaller class. Remember, the NCAA isn't limiting the size of the recruiting class. It is only limiting the total number of scholarship players the Buckeyes may have on their roster come August. In fact, Ohio State could still take the class it planned to take; it would just need to get rid of more upperclassmen. 

That's an idea decried by many Big Ten fans, but the Buckeyes can probably get away with it under the guise that the jettisoned players didn't fit Urban Meyer's system. 

It will be tougher, however, to work around the numbers in 2013 and 2014, when Meyer's kids are already somewhat in place. 

Ohio State experts are also interested in how recruits react to the news that Ohio State did receive a bowl ban -- something Meyer had promised kids would not happen. A recruit may look at Meyer's statement and the truth and conclude that Meyer cannot be trusted, or it might not matter to him at all.

The actual bowl ban, however, isn't likely to impact recruiting in any way. Most kids realize they wouldn't be playing a major role on the team in year one. This is a different scenario than a multi-year bowl ban, the likes of which was dealt to USC.

If Meyer can convince recruits that what the NCAA did was totally unexpected, and Ohio State's administration is OK with allowing Meyer to run off more kids than previously planned, the Buckeyes should have no problem rolling right along on the recruiting trail. 

For more on Ohio State recruiting, visit Along The Olentangy.