Sanctions could have been much worse

WHILE MANY Ohio State football partisans believe the Buckeyes were dealt a raw deal by the NCAA this past week, I see no problem with the sanctions.

The Scarlet & Gray got off much easier than USC did a few years back. The penalties should not hinder Urban Meyer’s quick retooling of the Buckeye grid fortunes.

The NCAA issued a postseason ban for 2012, more limitations on scholarships and tacked on a year of probation for Ohio State. Previously, OSU officials imposed its own sanctions, which included vacating the 2010 season, returning bowl money, go on two years of NCAA probation and use five fewer football scholarships over the next three years.

The biggest problem stemming from the harsher NCAA mandate is the two weeks of extra practices that accompany with playing in a bowl. No bowl means no extra time to develop your younger players and red-shirts.

Other than that, Ohio State will survive quite nicely.

The reduced scholarships should prove a small speed bump for an excellent recruiter like Meyer. I would be surprised that the bowl ban next year will chase away any blue-chippers. Many are red-shirted while very few are impact.

Moreover, not many fans are expecting Ohio State to be national champions in Meyer’s initial campaign. Urban renewal does take some time to take effect. Those title hopes will begin being bandied about much more frequently in year two.

Meyer, in my opinion, is the best coach on the college landscape, bar none. He took the OSU helm knowing full well the Buckeyes may take a torpedo from the NCAA. It could have been much worse.

Meyer hasn’t publicly whined about the additional sanctions, nor will he. He boasts the swagger and confidence you love in a coach. Meyer has reached his final college coaching destination — his dream job.

One bowl ban season won’t rain on his Scarlet & Gray parade.


OHIO TURNPIKE travelers beware. Beginning Jan. 1, tolls will be spiked bigtime. Cars going border to border will face a $1.50 increase to $16.50 Truckers going the same distance have it far worse, dealing with a $6 increase to a whopping $61.

THE NEW EPA regulations to reduce plant emissions will likely have a huge negative impact on the Ohio Valley. I like clean air as much as the next guy, but I also relish good-paying jobs for our local residents. Estimates have the new rules eliminating nearly 200,000 jobs each year nationwide in the coming decade. Obviously, many will come from right here in the valley.

THE ANNUAL Hoops for HoHo Basketball Camp at Ohio University Eastern a week ago again proved a success. OUE Athletic Director E.J. Schodzinski stages the festive hoopfest to aid needy children in the area. In place of a camp fee, each child attending is asked to bring a new toy to help a youth less fortunate. This year’s camp attracted some 69 youngsters.

THE MARTINS Ferry Chamber wrapped up 2011 with its final monthly luncheon on Tuesday. The chamber enters the new year with a healthy general fund balance. Much of Tuesday’s session focused on the gas drilling business which is being felt more and more in the Ohio Valley. Chamber President Dorothy Powell said she is hoping to hold a meeting of business owners in the Purple City to make them aware of what the drilling boom can do for them. She also said the chamber will be taking part in and oil and gas expo in April, sponsored by the Belmont County Port Authority.

THE MARTINS Ferry Lions Club should feel real good about the new playground it installed at Fodor Field. I was passing the venue Friday at 9 a.m. and several youths were already having fun on the state-of-the-art equipment. It should be a magnet for children once spring returns.

KUDOS to Mike Ferns for his holiday generosity. The A&B Kia owner donated $60,000 for the ongoing Miracle League project in Wheeling. That’s a hefty donation for a cause which will mean millions to challenged youths.

THIS BEING my final column for 2011, the looming question for the new year is will the Bellaire Toll Bridge still be in place when 2012 comes to an end? I say yes.

A FEW weeks back I wrote in this space that I was bypassing my usual holiday ritual of sending Christmas cards. Instead, I wanted to step up more for helping the needy at Christmas. I want to say that I followed through on both. In response, I did receive less cards this year. I may have antagonized some, but hopefully others also aided those in need. With that said, I wish everyone a blessed and joyous Christmas.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader