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 30, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:20 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Just eligible for one game, then back to being ineligible.  Learn the rules and process??? The rules are filled with such gray area and the process is so confusing that it makes no sense.  If they are ineligible then thats what they are.  Don't make some stupid loophole so that the best players can bring in the Tv ratings and the coporate sponsors can be happy.  The NCAA is a joke.  Lying to the NCAA is a violation, not breaking the law. JT is anot a criminal.  Neither are the players.  This whole thing has been sensationalized by the media to make it into a bigger issue than what it is.  If I made a bunch of T-shirts that said "NoleCav is a d-bag" and made loads of $$$ on wouldn't you feel entitled to get a piece for yourself? It's no different for these players.

Since: May 18, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

I remember a great quote from a teacher i had in college, "When it comes to figuring out if someone is lying, flip a coin." In reality, we all suck at figuring out deception, its really a 50/50 guess. Worse so if you have a vested interest in the team, which i had. I have been fooled, as well as all buckeye nation. I do not harbor any resentment towards Tressel. He does do a great service to the community, he does look after the student athletes, and his support for our troops is amazing. But, there is something there that causes him to do wrong when it comes to the NCAA and to college football.

I'm remembered of a line from a great movie, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exists."

Tressel did a great job in convicing us of a person didn't exist, the person who wanted to win above all else, a person who believed he was above the NCAA, and a person who had to control everything.

Unlike others who would fight to the bitter end, he chose to resign.

Its been fun Tressel, i enjoyed the 10 years, thanks for the wins and the championships. OSU will grow to be stronger after this, and we'll be back.

Since: Apr 11, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:14 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

All of you are beating a dead horse.  The NCAA makes way too much money off of Ohio State to give them the death penalty.  Another top quality coach(and maybe Luke F. is that coach) will soon be at the helm to make sure we win football games.  He will weed out the bad players and bring in another batch of blue chippers. So, with that said, there are only two real aspects; life goes on and Michigan still sucks and will continue to do so with or without Tressel.

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:07 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Tattoos didn't, 

Yes, they did.  Its the same theory as painting a car red or giving it racing stripes.  It makes it more powerful and faster. :)

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:06 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

@unforgiven n natcav...the reality is did u generate billions of dollars in revenue for ur school will u have a lifetime of concussion symton and migrates or serious injures that will effect ur durability in job market for rest of ur i tink they earn the the perks of their scholarship especially wen only about 25% of athlete who dont make pro find jobs in their field of study in todays economic society

Based on the quality of whatever language you were typing in, you must be speaking of concussions from personal experience.

And they got a free (i.e. "no cost to them") education that really should have gone to someone with the academic chops who can't necessarily play a sport and also can't afford to go to college.  They should feel privileged to get a free education and do something with that scholarship rather than studying "journalism", so dont go whining about their poor choices when they don't make the pros and get paid millions.

There are many athletes that study real career fields instead of just doing what they have to in order to play on Sunday.  Those are the people who earn their scholarships.

I honestly wouldn't cry a single tear if they ceased offering ALL athletic scholarships and let people EARN them through hard work, rather than being able to run fast or throw a ball. At the very least, when a student athlete gets a pro contract, they should at least give a LITTLE back and give a fully endowed academic scholarship to their alma mater.

Since: May 23, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:02 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

@unforgiven n natcav...the reality is did u generate billions of dollars in revenue for ur school will u have a lifetime of concussion symton and migrates or serious injures that will effect ur durability in job market for rest of ur i tink they earn the the perks of their scholarship especially wen only about 25% of athlete who dont make pro find jobs in their field of study in todays economic society 

No one is making them play.  They can do what most of us do and go to college to prepare ourselves for 9-5 for the next 40 years of our life.

I'm guessing not many would trade positions with either of us.

Out of curiousity, where did you go to school?

Since: May 23, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:58 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Yes, but tattoos obviously give the player an edge.  Look at Ohio State's record under JT.

Tattoos didn't, but looking the other way regarding violations and knowingly allowing ineligible players to play surely gave OSU an edge.

Since: Feb 24, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:58 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

No more Big more. You always call the SEC cheaters yet it is you who have been found out to be the biggest offenders. Indiana, Michigan, and OSU...the only question is, when will they come for Joe Pa and his band of theives? 

Since: Oct 15, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:56 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

C'mom Buckeye fans ....... admit it.  Ohio State is as dirty as can be.  Tressel is nothing but a cheat.  He was at Youngstown State and it's finally come out here.  OSU has a long way to go to get any respectability back.  And next on their list should be their AD.  It's finally coming out that they've had no integrity for years.  It's time to clean house and start over.
Personally, I can't stand this type of behaviour and it's typical of what's wrong with society today.  What happened to sportsmanship?  Why is cheating treated so lightly?  I would love to see them get the "death penalty" similar to what SMU received but the NCAA doesn't have the balls to come down heavy.  So much for "sport".   

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:55 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Every Div 1 program in the country is sweating bullets today, because they all know that ther closets aren't clean either. Their'll all just hoping to stay out of the limelight until this all blows over.

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