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. 


Comments

Since: May 23, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Not sure I care one way or another about Tressel but this article uses alleged or allegedly an awful lot.



Until it is proven through a thorough investigation or through the legal system, you must use those words or be at risk of a lawsuit.



Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 1:25 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Regarding the cars, most schools would have known something fishy was going on when 4 dozen players got cars from not only the same dealership, but the same salesman. 


How about we wait until the details on the car deals investigation are released before assuming they were improper?  Just because the same salesman was involved in dozens of deals over several years is not proof that the deals were overly sweet. They might have been, or they might not, but it is foolish to assume they are all bogus.  Just like all the excitement over Thad Gibson supposedly getting a loaded Chrysler 300C for $0.  As it turned out, he got a base model 300 that had been sold from a rental car fleet for $13,700 and no report on the value of any trade-in that may have been involved.  Looks like that deal was on the up & up, but loads of people were crying foul.  How about waiting for the facts to be reported before casting stones.  If the car deals were improper OSU will pay the price, and there will be plenty of time for the haters to pile on.



Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

I don't hate OSU like so many on here.  However, when something comes to light, there will be investigations
and if guilty, the hammer will come down.  I don't know how on field success can be attributed to how many
tattoos a kid can get for a signed jersey but I do know that a head coach has got to be more responsible than
what Tressel was during all of this.  If he had been, he would still be their coach.
 
The players aren't owed anything.  They receive a free education with a value of over 100 thousand dollars.
Most of those kids on free rides aren't going to to see a penny from the pros so why do they deserve to
get paid by the schools above what they get now.  How many science majors on a academic scholly do you
see driving around in 30 thousand dollar cars while still in school?  The players want to live the life of a
big shot and want to run around in expensive clothes and cars.  They are willing to break rules in order to
obtain that type of lifestyle. 

You cannot start paying these guys.  If so, how much does the lacrosse players get.  How about basketball
players in a crummy program such as my school(Nebraska)?  Have it and have it now is the mentallity of
these athletes.  Fueling that by cutting them a check every month is a really stupid idea.



Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 1:20 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Being called the Senator is a bad Omen from the get go. I don't think anyone wants to be connected or called anything that has to do with our Congress. I hate to see this happen. Coach Tressel was a good Coach, but like some good coaches, I think he over stepped his boundry and had more S__t to cover than he had Dirt. The dirt became over come by the S__t and every thing bloosmed, and the weeds started growing faster than he could pull them. He let things get out of hand. No Coach wants to lose good players. Oklahoma went through it, USC is going through it, and if the NCAA stays consistent, then OSU is going to have to go through it. I don't really agree with some of the rules the NCAA has, but they are the rules and they need to be followed. The old expresion "Show me the rules and I can play the game" comes into play. The rules have been explained to the AD, the Coaches, and the players. If they break them then shame on them, they must pay.

I feel the NCAA needs to revamp some of their Stone Age rules to meet todays standards. The world isn't like it was in the 50's, the economy has drastically changed and makeing these athelites live almost in poverty si really sad. I don't mean haveing it where they can live in the life of luxury like one west coast team, but it needs to relax some of their rules.





Since: Sep 10, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Not sure I care one way or another about Tressel but this article uses alleged or allegedly an awful lot.



Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

When are we going to accept the fact that college football is a BUSINESS, with commerce we also get one of those seven deadly sins, I think it might be greed.  Players know the rules, I was a player, I knew right from wrong.  Everybody needs everything now in this generation.  And don't even bring up paying players, scholarship is enough as you are afforded an opportunity to achieve something to make your life better for free.



Since: May 23, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Obviously there's no excuse for violating the rules, but when do we start holding the NCAA accountable for some of this mess? (A mess, by the way, that runs far deeper than Ohio State.)

If I walked into my local tattoo parlor with a pack of Oreos and said to the guy behind the counter, "hey, I'll give you these in exchange for some ink," and he replied, "deal," there's no harm done. Fair exchange, right? But if you're an NCAA player, heaven forbid you trade away one of your old, dirty sneakers. And don't even think about accepting dinner from someone. Or getting a ride from someone.

It's great that there are rules in plays to try and quell cheating, but c'mon. The NCAA is making billions on these players. Granted, the players are receiving a free education (well, not all of them) in exchange. But the players -- many of whom are just kids -- deserve to be treated a little bit better. Putting a ban on accepting free cars? That seems reasonable. But some of the standards the NCAA holds their players to are completely unreasonable, nevermind the fact that the accountable parties are rarely the ones that pay the steepest penalties in these situations. 

Specifically, what rules are completely unreasonable?  I ask because these threads are full of misperceptions of the current bylaws.

And do you not see the pandora's box that would open if the NCAA allowed current players to sell their stuff to whoever and for whatever?  Ex-players can sell their stuff all day long.

Also, there are numerous forms of funding that players can access through both the Feds and NCAA if they kids are truely poor.



Since: Sep 29, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Anyone who thinks Tressel actually resigned probably thinks we are fighting meaningful wars and that pigs fly. The sweater vest was obviously a facade that Jim was putting on as a clean cut do gooder. Well now all the crap has hit the fan and we see why Ohio St has been so successful all these years. They consistently broke NCAA rules, regardless of whether we agree with the NCAA's antiquated way of thinking. This guy is just another bible toting hypocrite outed by the media.



Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

How many years have these things been going on? And what does this say about Ohio State's athletic program. I am a big Buckeye fan and this hass done nothing but make all the Buckeye haters right. Maybe we haven't been that good all along. Do we cheat to win? Do we buy players and or allow them to break rules so they play at OSU? But to be fair, I'd like to see what a clean program is. Lets investigate all NCAA schools for violations. And I mean give all schools the same kind of investigation OSU has recieved. Then lets see how many coaches and players are left playing football. What it all is coming down to these days is does the NCAA start allowing players to be paid. By all rights, they are owed something. The schools make big time money. And this is all over players trying to make a little extra cash.




Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Obviously there's no excuse for violating the rules, but when do we start holding the NCAA accountable for some of this mess? (A mess, by the way, that runs far deeper than Ohio State.)

If I walked into my local tattoo parlor with a pack of Oreos and said to the guy behind the counter, "hey, I'll give you these in exchange for some ink," and he replied, "deal," there's no harm done. Fair exchange, right? But if you're an NCAA player, heaven forbid you trade away one of your old, dirty sneakers. And don't even think about accepting dinner from someone. Or getting a ride from someone.

It's great that there are rules in plays to try and quell cheating, but c'mon. The NCAA is making billions on these players. Granted, the players are receiving a free education (well, not all of them) in exchange. But the players -- many of whom are just kids -- deserve to be treated a little bit better. Putting a ban on accepting free cars? That seems reasonable. But some of the standards the NCAA holds their players to are completely unreasonable, nevermind the fact that the accountable parties are rarely the ones that pay the steepest penalties in these situations. 


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