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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: Nov 22, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:03 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

OK Buckeye haters. Things are definitely not right at OSU and Tressell's resignation is a good starting point for the program to clean up its act. However calls for the NCAA to inflict the death penalty are nuts. Is there a major program out there (or a fan thereof) that can honestly cast that first stone? I am convinced that most athletic departments would find similar violations to those reported at Ohio State if they were to conduct their own in-house investigations. This problems with student-athletes are not limited to OSU or the Big Ten, or the SEC. These issues are systemic throughout the NCAA.



Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:01 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

As a diehard Buckeye fan, this is extremely painful to watch unfold.  When it first came out, I knew it was going to end very poorly.  Tressel did the right thing by resigning, but he really should look into giving some money back to the school as well.  Would be kind of funny, but how about donating a chunk of change to build a new wing for the law school?  And to think that I defended Tressel and his sweater vest for all these years for running a clean program makes my stomach churn.  OSU will come back from this.  They will be a national power in the future, but it's tough to argue with the NCAA not giving a significant penalty with these allegations.

As for Pryor, I really wish we had never signed this guy.  I have been against him from day one, and still don't think he is as good as many people think he is.  At best, he is an extremely gifted athlete who can somewhat throw a ball, but QB, he never was, and probably never will be.

In saying all of this, big time college football programs turn a blind eye all over the country.  It's a business for many of the top programs, and is a tremendous amount of funding for the colleges.  Many a library, new business hall, new dorm facilities, all come from football revenues, not just at OSU, but across the country at the big programs.  If anyone throws stones who is a fan of an SEC school, a USC, etc...be careful.  Most of the big programs could be spotted for rules violations if the NCAA actually looked into it.  The NCAA turns a blind eye though, unless their hand is forced which it was in this case.  First, a whistle blower must turn up, before the NCAA will ever slow down it's money-making machine.  How about this NCAA...give these kids some cash while they are at school?  Then they can buy all the ridiculous ugly tat's they need. 



Since: Sep 1, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:01 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Not going to happen.  Article is a joke, with convicted felons as "reliable sources".  C'mon SI, that was the ground breaking article you tweeted about?  Worthless. 



Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

I'm glad Coach Tressel stepped down--now we just have to wait and see what penalties the NCAA levies against OSU. 

As an aside, on the whole issue of tattoos--why not consider them an alternative form of memorabilia?  They certainly carry personal meaning to the pro and college athletes who choose to get inked--and they can't be resold!  Rather than presenting rings, plaques, etc. that may sit on a shelf and gather dust, the organizations (NCAA or school) should offer the athletes an option of receiving a voucher of equivalent value for tattoo work!  This suggestion wouldn't stop players from creating/selling/trading other forms of memorabilia.  At least they would be given option of receiving something they might value instead.



Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:59 am
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Sounds like a quality guy to me.  At some point the OSU die hards have to stop with the comments that everyone is out to get OSU.  THE PEOPLE INTERVIEWED FOR THE ARTICLE WORKED OR PLAYED FOR TRESSEL. 


Seems funny that all of the no-name (non-playing) and 'anonymous' folks have positive things to say about what happened don't you think.... or is THAT the problem?

I am a die-hard Buckeye Alum and fan but everyone that gets caught in this mess, deserves what they get.  They all admit knowing it was wrong, including JT.  No one should be shocked if they get busted.



Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:48 am
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Dear CavsfaninNW,

This article is about the problems at OHIO STATE.  It has nothing to do with Auburn or any other school.  Quit trying to pass off what OSU coaches and players have done to other schools.  Cracks me up listening to OSU fans trying to make sense of what has happened, by saying "everyone is doing it".

If that is the case -- OSU must be really bad at cheating too, as they are the only one with a NCAA investigation ongoing right now.




Since: May 23, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:44 am
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Let's investigate everyone. Other than Ohio State, let's take a trip down to Auburn. Let's take a little closer look at little 'ole Cammy Boy. I think you'll find that after they look into that, they will vacate any and all wins from 2010. But the NCAA won't do that, because the truth is that they are the most hypocritical in all of this with their subjective rules enforcement. To prosecute Auburn now would be for them to admit that Auburn pulled the wool over them, and they can't allow egg on their face, even though "the reigning national champions" were playing with an ineligible player the whole year, one who farcically won the Heisman. I would be willing to bet a dime to a dollar that the same exact thing that has gone on at Ohio State, has gone on at EVERY major school in the country. Every one of them. I also love the feigned outrage of these so-called journalists. They live in a profession that will do anything, cross any line, to scoop a story. They will ruin other people's lives in order to be the first to run a story to promote their own careers. Ratto, Dodd, Doyel. All of them. They hardly are in any position to cast moral judgment on anything. I wish to heaven that Tressel would have done the right thing from the beginning here. I'm not excusing what he did. It's a sad day for me as an Ohio State fan. But think about this. The SEC has been getting away with de facto cheating for years in the form of over-signing. Ohio State struggled against SEC schools in bowl games until this past season when, ironically, they cheated SEC style. And guess what? They beat the SEC in a bowl game. If I'm Tressel, the temptation is great to not report this kind of thing when you know that it isn't being reported by SEC schools (please don't use A.J. Green as an example. Mark Richt is the exception in the SEC, not the rule). If they so brazenly gain an advantage by over-signing, how can they not be corrupt on the inside? I would be tired of hearing "You can't beat the SEC" too when you know the reason they have is because they are at a competitive advantage every time. So, I vote that a thorough investigation be done of EVERY school that has won a national title in the last 10 years. How about it NCAA? Put your rules enforcement "objectivity" to the test.



It's hysterical that you managed to roll up all the excuses in just this one post.  'Everyone is doing it', check.  'The NCAA is corrupt', check.  'It's the journalists fault', check.

None of this would be happening right now if your coach did the right thing last April.



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:33 am
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Ha ha.  A little bitter?




Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:23 am
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Let's investigate everyone. Other than Ohio State, let's take a trip down to Auburn. Let's take a little closer look at little 'ole Cammy Boy. I think you'll find that after they look into that, they will vacate any and all wins from 2010. But the NCAA won't do that, because the truth is that they are the most hypocritical in all of this with their subjective rules enforcement. To prosecute Auburn now would be for them to admit that Auburn pulled the wool over them, and they can't allow egg on their face, even though "the reigning national champions" were playing with an ineligible player the whole year, one who farcically won the Heisman. I would be willing to bet a dime to a dollar that the same exact thing that has gone on at Ohio State, has gone on at EVERY major school in the country. Every one of them. I also love the feigned outrage of these so-called journalists. They live in a profession that will do anything, cross any line, to scoop a story. They will ruin other people's lives in order to be the first to run a story to promote their own careers. Ratto, Dodd, Doyel. All of them. They hardly are in any position to cast moral judgment on anything. I wish to heaven that Tressel would have done the right thing from the beginning here. I'm not excusing what he did. It's a sad day for me as an Ohio State fan. But think about this. The SEC has been getting away with de facto cheating for years in the form of over-signing. Ohio State struggled against SEC schools in bowl games until this past season when, ironically, they cheated SEC style. And guess what? They beat the SEC in a bowl game. If I'm Tressel, the temptation is great to not report this kind of thing when you know that it isn't being reported by SEC schools (please don't use A.J. Green as an example. Mark Richt is the exception in the SEC, not the rule). If they so brazenly gain an advantage by over-signing, how can they not be corrupt on the inside? I would be tired of hearing "You can't beat the SEC" too when you know the reason they have is because they are at a competitive advantage every time. So, I vote that a thorough investigation be done of EVERY school that has won a national title in the last 10 years. How about it NCAA? Put your rules enforcement "objectivity" to the test.



Since: Dec 29, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 11:18 am
 

Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

If there ever was a school who deserved the death penalty THE OHIO STATE BUCKEYES are it!!!!!


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