For the past few weeks, the rumor has been that the NCAA investigation into the Ohio State improper benefits scandal would eventually claim the last season of eligibility of Buckeye star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Thought still not official, those rumors seem dramatically more substantial this afternoon as Pryor's lawyer, Columbus attorney Larry James, has announced his client has elected to end his Ohio State career. As first reported by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Doug Lesmerises:
James read the following statement to the Plain-Dealeron behalf of Pryor:
"In the best interest of my team, I have decided to forego my senior year of football at the Ohio State University" ...James also spoke about the "emotion" of the decision:
"We've talked about the emotional roller coaster that he is going through," James told the Plain Dealer, "and even if he was cleared 100 percent it was going to be difficult."The "if" in James's statement and his assertion that Pryor will not "necessarily" face further sanctions will, unfortunately, only fuel the fire that Pryor has come to the decision in the face of potential eligibility issues.
As for what's next for Pryor, James said he "thinks" his client will apply for the NFL's supplemental draft (though the lockout may cancel the event altogether), but left the door open for an unlikely year spent on campus as a student only.
Via the Ohio State blog Eleven Warriors, acting head coach Luke Fickell released the following statement which would seem to support the supplemental draft plan:
OU athletic director Gene Smith added that the department "wish[es Pryor] well in the next phase of his life." No other comment is expected tonight.
Eye on CFB will have more on this story as it develops throughout this evening.