Blog Entry

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Posted on: May 30, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 6:01 am

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With the announcement that Jim Tressel had resigned at Ohio State on Monday morning, it was mentioned that the move came following some findings of a report in the next issue of Sports Illustrated. That report was published on Monday evening. It includes new revelations that the five Buckeyes suspended after trading Ohio State memorabilia for tattoos were not alone. According to the report, it's a practice that has gone on for years and includes at least 28 players.

That support crumbled suddenly over Memorial Day weekend. Tressel was forced out three days after Sports Illustrated alerted Ohio State officials that the wrongdoing by Tressel's players was far more widespread than had been reported. SI learned that the memorabilia-for-tattoos violations actually stretched back to 2002, Tressel's second season at Ohio State, and involved at least 28 players -- 22 more than the university has acknowledged. Those numbers include, beyond the six suspended players, an additional nine current players as well as nine former players whose alleged wrongdoing might fall within the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations on violations.

One former Buckeye, defensive end Robert Rose, whose career ended in 2009, told SI that he had swapped memorabilia for tattoos and that "at least 20 others" on the team had done so as well. SI's investigation also uncovered allegations that Ohio State players had traded memorabilia for marijuana and that Tressel had potentially broken NCAA rules when he was a Buckeyes assistant coach in the mid-1980s.

The report later goes on to name a long list of players who allegedly traded items for tattoos and possibly other things as well. It's also reported that former Buckeye Jermil Martin gave Fine Line Ink owner Edward Rife a watch and four tickets to the 2010 Rose Bowl in exchange for a Chevy Tahoe. As for quarterback Terrelle Pryor, it's alleged that he made upward of 20 different trades -- including game-worn shoulder pads, helmets and game pants -- at the tattoo shop. When an employee asked Pryor how he got all this stuff Pryor responded "I get whatever I want."

Perhaps the most damning aspect of all of this for Jim Tressel was that some of the autographed merchandise that players traded at Fine Line Ink and Dudleyz Tattoo & Body Piercing -- the shop where Buckeyes allegedly began trading items years ago before Fine Link Ink opened -- featured Tressel's autograph.

Dustin Halko was an artist at Dudley'z from the fall of 2002 until early '04, and he says that players regularly visited the shop and handed over signed jerseys, gloves, magazines and other goods in exchange for tattoos. Halko says he personally inked at least 10 Ohio State players -- he clearly remembers tattooing guard T.J. Downing, tight end Louis Irizarry and wide receiver Chris Vance -- and in return he was given autographed memorabilia. (Downing denies ever entering Dudley'z and says that if his memorabilia was there it had been stolen out of his locker; Irizarry and Vance could not be reached for comment despite extensive efforts to contact them.) Halko says that more players, including Clarett (who declined to comment), traded with other artists, and he estimates that at least 15 players violated NCAA rules at Dudley'z just as Pryor & Co. did at Fine Line Ink. Two associates of Halko's who hung out at the shop -- they asked not be named because they fear reprisals from Ohio State fans -- confirmed Halko's account that players commonly swapped memorabilia for tattoo work. One said he saw "at least five" Buckeyes conduct such transactions; the other said "at least seven."

"What they brought in depended on the kind of tattoo they wanted," says Halko. "If it was just something small, it might be a signed magazine or something like that. If it was a full sleeve, they might bring in a jersey." (Tattoos range in price from less than $100 for simple designs to several thousand dollars for more elaborate ones like the full-sleeve inkings of some Buckeyes.) Halko says those working in the shop preferred receiving items with multiple autographs. His most memorable acquisition was a scarlet-and-gray training jacket with between 10 and 15 signatures on it, including Tressel's. Halko says he also traded tattoo work for a magazine bearing the coach's autograph.

As if all this isn't bad enough for Tressel and the Buckeyes, there were also some possible recruiting violations brought up that Tressel allegedly committed while serving as an assistant under Earle Bruce in the mid-1980s.

One of Tressel's duties then was to organize and run the Buckeyes' summer camp. Most of the young players who attended it would never play college football, but a few were top prospects whom Ohio State was recruiting. At the end of camp, attendees bought tickets to a raffle with prizes such as cleats and a jersey. According to his fellow assistant, Tressel rigged the raffle so that the elite prospects won -- a potential violation of NCAA rules. Says the former colleague, who asked not to be identified because he still has ties to the Ohio State community, "In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel." 

Just in case that wasn't enough, the report also goes into detail on some of Tressel's past transgressions while not only at Ohio State, but Youngstown State as well.

All in all, this is not a report that sheds a favorable light on Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes or Ohio State in general. It's rather obvious now why Tressel decided to resign on Monday morning. Whether that move will cause the NCAA to show the school some mercy remains to be seen, but you have to believe that Buckeye fans across Ohio and the country won't be sleeping well tonight. 


Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 5:24 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

irish...are you CRAZY? Flip a coin to know if some one's telling the truth?  I've been lucky enough to spend most of my life around people I trusted WITH my life!  No coin toss needed! NOT a 'great' quote...

Tressel did the 'right thing' in the end,  by resigning, much more damage (to everyone) would have been done by 'fighting to the "bitter" end...and was ALWAYS going to end with the resignation!  I was disappointed by his 'handling' of the situation after it started to 'hit the fan.'  I'm also believing that this 'resignation' was being negotiated ever since!  Lord knows the country, Hell, the World would be better off if George W. had had the guts to do the 'right' thing!

I have NO problem with any buy out that 'probably' happened.   More than I can say for the other two 'resignations' that are almost certain to follow!

Comparing Tressel to the DEVIL? What are you thinking irish?  By-the-way, unless you are or 'were' on the team...there is no WE or US!  I support my teams...but if you EVER hear me say WE or US...feel free to call me on it!

Tressel is one of the 'good' ones...who made a bad...terrible least he didn't ruin the whole country's economy!   

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:57 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Wouldn't have done you any harm to sit in on a CLASS once and awhile...couldn't finish reading this disjointed mess!

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:37 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Didn't 'bother' reading this 'hack' job.  As a serious photographer, I often Love the shots in SI...that's about where it ends though.  I say 'hack job' without reading it because...

SI seems to find about the worst possible 'stories' they can when it comes to the Big 10...(not Just The Ohio State University!)   How a sports magazine can be so blatantly prejudiced against one Conference?   How sad Tressel stole your 'Thunder' by resigning Before your big expose'  Do you really think your magazine had anything to do with his stepping down?  That this wasn't 'negotiated' for weeks?

What takes a lifetime to build and an instant to destroy?   That's right...a reputation!  A 'good' man made a 'bad' decision...and you're turning cartwheels over it.  In my book, that reflects on your family and how you were raised.  I am 'saddened' to see a good man's life come to seem tickled to death...sad.

No coach...NONE...can ride heard on 80 youngsters, some still in their teens. In this day-and-age it's no big deal to know what someone, anyone had for breakfast.  No wonder so many 'good' men and women don't seek higher office, and expose times when they 'stubbed' their toes.

If you had a son, you could do a lot worse than having him in the hands of a JIM TRESSEL!

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:31 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Very few Buckeye fans responding....could we have finally found a foot big enough for those mouths!

Since: Jul 28, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:31 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Tressel and OSU were a perfect fit.  Dirty program, Dirty coach, Nasty fans.  They deserve each other.  There are a lot of fat mulletted fans that got what they deserved on Memorial Day!

Since: Jul 28, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:29 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

It is now clear how Ohio State has had some of the best recruiting classes over the past 10 years and maybe beyond.  They have a great pay for play program.   Dirty Dirty Dirty!

Since: May 29, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:21 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

@zaber...obviously you understand what im writing but the fact that college degree isnt worth much these days especially when 70% of high school student go to college and only 30% find jobs after graduating which include law students business majors etc....If the majority of the player wasnt as athletic and can run fast college would only be a institution of higher learning which is was meant to be and you have noting  to look foward to other than drug and getting drunk lol... if a bunch of non-athletic non-talented player was on the field would colleges  beable to obtain billion dollar tv deals, would anybody buy jerseys or school merchandise? instead of tutition going up only 6% per year it would be  double and triple % every year so thanks to star athlete tutition hasnt gone up 100% thus saving you couple 100g on student loan debt for a 4year degree..colleges is a business and only care about profits that why they cut program layoff professor and increase tutition and fee

Since: Sep 5, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:05 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

AHHHH... my "intelligence of an 8-year-old” boyfriend Skreffty... did your mom let you back on your computer?!?!? I won't lie, I'm amazed you actually posted on here with minimal spelling and grammatical mistakes, for once.

See the difference between you and me - and there are a million but I will just concentrate on this one - is that I think OSU should get slammed for cheating. Incompetent clowns like yourself see no harm in supporting your allegiance regardless of their toxic affiliations.  

Such a loser in life that he will do anything to support something that wins - regardless of how it’s accomplished. Our boy Skreffty… a legend in his own (and his mother’s) mind.

Now hurry up and run down to your parent’s basement and look at all of your 4th place cross country ribbons and insist in your head that you would've been a pro athlete ONLY IF the coach would've liked and played you. Poor, poor Skreffty.

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:59 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Regardless of whether or not I am a Buckeye (I am not).  Regardless if you believe players should be allowed compensation or not.  The bottom line is this.  The players and Tressel knew it was wrong and Tressel lied to the administration, the fans, and the NCAA.  The players knew what they were signing on for....they can wait until (if) they get to the NFL to be "Ballers".  In the meantime, take your scholarship and live up to your commitments.  Tressel is perhaps worse because he came off as the "almighty".  I lived in Columbus and I saw how he portrayed himself ( I bought into it).  However, Buckeye Nation will never admit any wrong doing because they are too insecure to be honest with themselves.  

Go Tribe!

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:47 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

I'm not sure why or how this story is any more damaging what than the investigation has already presented?  Signatures, rings, pants for tattoos, etc.  I think it's being blown out of proportion but they lied about it and it is indeed a violation, hence, they should pay the price.  I have no issue with that.

As for some of you SEC fans on here... quit it already.  You have coaches that blatantly bend or break every rule known to the NCAA.  Functionally illiterate buffoons running around getting tons of cash for their services while they commit felonies on nearly a daily basis (rapes, drugs (not just weed), armed robberies, weapons charges, etc.).

The NCAA is a farce and don't kid yourself that Big Ten boosters won't "demand" that all of the tomfoolery of the SEC gets hit next - and gets hit hard.  See that's the really sad part about the NCAA... money runs it all and the B10 has A LOT more money than the SEC.

Mark my words, Mike Slime will be lucky to have a job in the next 18 months.  Auburn, Alabama, Florida, LSU, etc., pick up that ringing phone.  It's the NCAA and you boys know it won't be pretty
Functionally illiterate?  You mean like Katzenmoyer & Clarett?  You see oh holier-than-thou dickh-fi, the SEC actually gets in trouble when caught, in fact lots of trouble.  If they find that Scam Newton knew about the offers, or if money changed hands, then they will get crushed.  You know it, I know it, everyone knows it.  Just look at the fact that A. J. Green did not get to play in his bowl last year and that the 5 Ohio State players did and you can see your inconstistency in enforcement right there. 

Pot, meet kettle...

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