Columbus, Ohio The NCAA reversed itself Friday and threw out three violations and part of a fourth that occurred under former Ohio State basketball coach Jim O'Brien because the association's enforcement staff missed a deadline for filing charges.
The university said penalties imposed because of the violations - including NCAA probation and erasing all references to its 1999 Final Four appearance - would stand.
This season, Ohio State set a school record for victories while going 35-4 and making it to the national championship game before losing to defending champion Florida. No current Buckeyes players or coaches were on campus when O'Brien was coach or when any violations occurred.
"This is a bittersweet victory," O'Brien said in a statement. "I wish it could have been accomplished with the support the university promised me in my contract. Now it is too late to undo the university's self-imposed penalties."
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said the association's infractions committee and enforcement staff disagreed on the deadline for notifying Ohio State, resulting in the reversal of the original ruling.
The latest ruling would seem to undercut Ohio State's charge that it fired O'Brien because he had committed major NCAA violations.
"The fact that some of O'Brien's and Paul Biancardi's violations have been reversed on a technicality in no way changes the fact that the university's termination of Jim O'Brien was right," Ohio State said in a statement.