Ohio State, Michigan State Resolve Game-Tape Dispute

October 1, 2012 /
The Lantern (Ohio State), Pat Brennan


EAST LANSING, Mich. — Ohio State and Michigan State’s football game-tape dispute was handled between the two programs, and that’s how the Big Ten Conference prefers it.

The Buckeyes (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) defeated the Spartans (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten), 17-16, but MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi told the Detroit Free Press that his team had been preparing for the teams’ meeting with game tape that had been altered.

As a result of working with altered game footage and not receiving serviceable tape until Thursday, the report said, a complaint was lodged with the Big Ten Conference. Big Ten senior associate commissioner Mark Rudner said the conference is not engaged in legislative processes and that no complaint was filed against OSU.

Rather, the Big Ten was aware of the issue and encouraged the institutions to talk among themselves, which they did, Rudner told The Lantern on Sunday.

“There has been football video exchanged for, probably, over 60 years, so this is not anything that’s new,” Rudner said. “It’s certainly not the first time that one institution may have had an issue with another that was resolved between the institutions, which is how we always like to see these kinds of issues and related issues resolved.

“The two institutions talked. They resolved it. Case closed.”

MSU athletics spokesman John Lewandowski confirmed to The Lantern Saturday that OSU athletics director Gene Smith was informed of the allegation by MSU athletic director Mark Hollis.

“Hollis informed Gene Smith and it was addressed immediately. That’s it,” Lewandowski told The Lantern.

In an email to The Lantern, OSU athletics spokesman Jerry Emig also confirmed that Hollis and Smith discussed the issue over the phone, saying, “It is accurate that the ADs from the two schools have worked out any issue there may have been and we are not aware of a complaint with the Big Ten.”

Rudner explained the process by which Big Ten teams exchange game footage, and said tapes were compiled and shipped by plane to member institutions the night of the game. The transfer of game tape is now digitized and computerized, Rudner said.

In modern times, member institutions’ video coordinators meet and agree on the best manners of indexing game film and providing it to each other, Rudner said, adding that those agreements are sent to the Big Ten’s administrator’s council and adopted as official Big Ten policy.

“It’s a lengthy policy — it’s probably two or three pages in our football game management manual,” Rudner said. “Then the film is exchanged into a server and then it becomes available for everybody else to see.”

While OSU would appear to have violated that policy, Rudner said the conference still did not direct or facilitate the dialogue between MSU and OSU.

“Our athletic directors and our administrators know that, you know, they don’t need to always go through the conference office to resolve their differences or whatever issues they may have. They can pick up the phone and just call,” he said. “We were aware of it but … Michigan State knew what it had to do and they did it. That’s how it should work.”

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