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 29, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:54 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 

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:52 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

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

Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:42 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Maybe the NCAA needs to bundle in a monthly tattoo allowance with their scholarships to avoid these problems in the future.

Because, you know, getting tattoos is critical to the college education experience. 

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:41 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

As a Buckeye fan, I fully supported Rich Rod during the ridiculous accusations over practice time, and so did Tressel publicly.  I also was pulling for him to be given more time at the end -- not because Ohio State was beating him regularly but because I believed he deserved a chance.

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:38 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

So, S.I. is relying on jailbirds as their sources.  Now I've heard everything!

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:31 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

did 1 poster just say the player only eat cafeteria you have never been around a larger college my school players got pregame meals catered..they ate at fibne dining restaurants on road ..ate very well indeed.none ever suffered from being hungry..this is a lame excuse by cheaters to make us feel sorry for them..if the player don't wnat the burden of a scholarship then don't take it pay your own to school and see how you like it..becaus eif i am not mistaken the schools were there 1st long before terrewll pryor theer was an OSU and thats what is lost on todays players they feel they invented this crap...but stop boo hooing what the player shave to indure please....

Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:26 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

When AD Gene Smith falls, we will know Ohio State is serious.

Gene Smith was the jokester who's quip went something like this, "We (Ohio State) are going to hire a tattoo artist, we are going to set-up a shop for our new tattoo artist right here on the Ohio State campus."

When AD Gene Smith goes, because he knew this was going on, Ohio State will have taken another step towards curing their illness. We now know what that illness is, it's a case of life threatening cancer. Sometimes the only cure is to go under the knife and cut the cancer completely out. You have to get rid of it all to freshen one's spirit. AD Smith and others will have to go to make this possible. 

Since: Dec 24, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:25 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Will the Buckrats have enough players to field a team after these investigations are done...

If I were Baxter and the rest of this years class, I would be asking the NCAA for permission to decommit.  They won't see a bowl game in their career if they stay.   

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 2:25 pm

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

as for the previous posters who claim the players are owed more   why?....they get free educations,room and board,meals,medical,travel,attention,opportunaties noone else gets and the chance to set themselves up for life with a great career either in pros or a professional area and are they want is more..give me  abreak i had to take $35000 in loans to get my degree and then repay it these clowns have everything handed to them and then feel entiitled to more..go away posters who suppport these spoiled ignorant players..

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

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Ncaa rules and sanction is a big jokes the fact that student athlete enable ncaa and colleges to abtain billions in tv deal, merchandising, ticket sales and these players cant even accept simple items such free meal and cloth etc..with tutition and fee increasing yrly (avg 25g ayr 4yr degree) noway player can survive off $100g scholarship..i think ncaa sud have cap amount players can accept from appreciative fan im sure players not goin to throw games for couple hundreds or free meal apparels or free service imagine eating caffateria food for 4yrs lol 

No way a kid can survive on a $100,000 scholarship?

Wow, me and my friends did so on far less than that and we did it with loans.

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