Over a year after the first allegations of improper benefits being given to Ohio State football players broke, the NCAA has finally issued its final report on the matter and handed down its punishment.

The Buckeyes will not be eligible to play in the Big Ten Championship or a bowl game next season, and they will lose a total of nine scholarships (three in each of the next three seasons). The school will also be on probation through 2014.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said he was “really disappointed and saddened” by the NCAA’s ruling, but stated the Buckeyes would not appeal the punishments. Under the NCAA’s ruling, Ohio State was found to be a repeat violator that failed to adequately monitor the football program.

The NCAA’s investigation began late last season when starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor and other Buckeye players were found to have been given free tattoos in exchange for football gear and memorabilia. But the investigation soon found other violations, including players being paid by a booster for hours not worked at part-time jobs.

In addition to the school’s punishment, former head coach Jim Tressel was also hammered by the NCAA for failing to report ‘Tattoogate’ when he was made aware of it and for knowingly allowing ineligible players to play during the 2010 season. He was hit with a ‘show cause’ penalty, meaning any school who chooses to hire the former coach in the future will have to appeal to the NCAA in order for the coach to not automatically be suspended for the first five games of the regular season and any postseason games.

Former Florida coach Urban Meyer was recently hired by the Buckeyes, and a bowl ban in his first year is certainly not how he hoped to start his tenure in Columbus.

[ESPN]