Tag:Ohio State Scandal
Posted on: July 26, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 7:26 pm

Pryor ineligible, gets 5-year campus ban from OSU

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Any lingering uncertainty there may have been to Terrelle Pryor's status with Ohio State -- and there was some, as far as the NFL was concerned -- has been put to rest, as Ohio State has dropped the hammer on its former quarterback.

Here's the latest news on Pryor from the Ohio State RapidReports feed:

The QB's attorney, Larry James, received a letter from AD Gene Smith on Tuesday stating Pryor would have been ineligible for the 2011 season and that he’s barred from having any contact with the program for five years.

This is good news for Pryor (seriously!). As of yesterday, Pryor still technically had eligibility remaining with Ohio State, and his situation didn't fit the NFL's definition of the "extenuating circumstances" that would allow a player to be taken in the supplemental draft. That, clearly, has changed now.

Of course, the down side is the punishment itself; Pryor is now a pariah of sorts, and being disallowed from contact with his old program for five years pretty much stinks for him. At the same time, there's still a lingering, often nasty resentment among Buckeye fans of Pryor for his role in Jim Tressel's departure, so Pryor might feel more welcome somewhere else for the next few years anyway.


Posted on: June 27, 2011 10:42 pm

Channing Crowder 'hypothetically' sold jerseys

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Now that Ohio State is facing a mountain of NCAA scrutiny over players selling items, the only instance of college football players selling their jerseys and other memorabilia is now officially over. Oh wait, A.J. Green did it last year, but he served a not-at-all objectionable four-game suspension for that transgression. So those isolated incidents are in the books, and not indicative of any larger trend of such misdeeds. That's the actual reality of the situation and we're sticking to it.

Hypothetically speaking, however, players do this all the time. Here to drive that point home is former Florida linebacker Channing Crowder, who kicked off his new radio show in Miami today with a doozy of a hypothetical situation.

"I'll say hypothetically I don't have any more of my Florida jerseys," Crowder said Sunday. "There were some Jacksonville businessmen that really hypothetically liked my play."

Luckily, that's just hypothetical, so of course nobody actually did anything wrong. Nothing to see here, NCAA.

They gone? No? Fine, then I'll play the game too.

Hypothetically speaking, it's ludicrous that the NCAA is aggressively policing something like poor college kids bartering items and looking for the hook-up. Hypothetically, it's a fact of life that athletic scholarships pay for school but don't put cash in a young man's hand, and as long as these young men live in a world that requires money to do anything above and beyond eating, sleeping, going to class and playing football, they're going to hypothetically want money -- one way or another.

Hypothetically, it strikes me as downright un-American that the NCAA finds it necessary to police these young men's financial activity and disallow them the freedom to do somehting as hypothetically simple as selling anything for money. Hypothetically speaking, the NCAA isn't really protecting the student-athletes from anything with this rule; rather, the amateurism is enforced solely to protect the member institutions' tax-exempt status, and while I hypothetically can't begrudge a school from trying to keep from paying taxes, it would be hypothetically refreshing if one of them would come right out and say the rule's in place for their benefit and not the hypothetical athletes'.

But that's all hypothetical. Luckily, nobody's breaking the rules under the NCAA's nose in real life, so we don't have to worry about any larger issues.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 9:49 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:55 pm

Photographer: 'I haven't given [Pryor] a dollar'

Posted by Chip Patterson

First Terrelle Pryor's lawyer threatened a lawsuit during an outraged radio interview, and now the photographer brought into question for paying Pryor for signed memorabilia has issued a denial of his own. Columbus photographer Dennis Talbott denied ever giving money to Pryor when speaking to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer on Thursday.

"They are potentially destroying people's lives," Talbott said in a phone interview. "It's not true. I haven't given him a dollar. I haven't given him anything perceived as an improper benefit."

In the damning anonymous interview on ESPN's Outside the Lines, a former friend of Pryor suggested that as many as 35 to 40 payments were made by Talbott for memorabilia, with the total earned ranging anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. The website Sports By Brooks ran their own investigation on Talbott, collecting a series of photos and screen shots which suggest Talbott has not only been using an eBay name, "infickelwetrust," to sell autographed and game-used items from Ohio State football players, but also has been operating a side business - Varsity O Memorabilia, to sell signed memorabilia. Photos from Varsity O's Facebook page show items being signed/signed by A.J. Hawk, James Laurinaitis, Beanie Wells, Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Maurice Wells, Mike D'Andrea, Troy Smith, Quinn Pitcock, and former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel.

Talbott tried to tell the Plain-Dealer that he doesn't "have the wherewithal" to shell out the kind of money reported in the Outside the Lines piece. If Talbott, 40, has been running this multiple organization operation he should surely have the cash to arrange these payments. As far as the "infickelwetrust" eBay account, by Wednesday night the account had been deleted and all of the items had been removed.

Another case of he said-she said in Columbus, as the scandal slowly unravels and reveals a community - not just a coach - embracing ignorance in order to experience immediate success and gratification.
Posted on: June 7, 2011 11:12 am

Tressel, Pryor mentors in regular phone contact

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Contrary to previous e-mail releases that suggested their contact had been minimal and over the Internet, records obtained by the Columbus Dispatch and reported this morning show Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor's Pennsylvania mentors were in regular phone contact.

How regular?
After Tressel received an April 2, 2010, email from a former player warning him of potential NCAA violations, the coach exchanged 77 calls and text messages with and spent a total of 4 1/2 hours talking on the phone with Ted Sarniak, the hometown mentor of quarterback Terrelle Pryor in Jeannette, Pa. ...

Tressel also sent 91 text messages to Roy Hall, the current Jeannette football coach and another of Pryor's mentors. Hall previously told The Dispatch that he was not aware of the investigation and had not talked with Tressel about it.
As part of its investigation, the NCAA is reviewing the nature of Tressel's relationship with Sarniak, who the university claims does not qualify as an Ohio State booster. But in any case, the regular contact between Tressel and Sarniak and Hall will not look good contrasted with the lack of contact between the former Buckeye coach and the OSU compliance department.

Tressel also exchanged 31 text messages last Christmas Eve with Christopher Cicero, the Columbus lawyer whose original e-mail to Tressel was the coach's first notification that Buckeye players were receiving tattoo discounts and exchanging Buckeye memorabilia.

The school also released a number of phone records -- including to CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer -- from athletic director Gene Smith, though they show no contact between Smith and Pryor's mentors or Cicero. Fischer reports there is one interesting nugget from the Smith records, however: once the story broke and Smith knew his dpeartment to be facing an NCAA investigation, he put in a call to North Carolina athletic Dick Baddour, whose school will receive its "notice of allegations from the NCAA" as soon as this week.

But as for Tressel, he faces the NCAA in a hearing Aug. 12. Today's revelations won't be the most damning evidence against him--but they won't do a thing to help him avoid NCAA sanctions, either.

Posted on: June 1, 2011 5:44 pm

Coaches (and LeBron) respond to Tressel decision

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Since seemingly the entire college football world is talking about Jim Tressel's decision to step down at Ohio State amid the program's growing improper benefits scandal, it's no surprise that his contemporaries across the FBS are, too.

Perhaps most solidly in Tressel's corner is Texas's Mack Brown, who had this to say:
“He’s done a lot of great things in college football,” Brown told the [Austin] American-Statesman, “and I know he’ll be a hall-of-famer at some point.”

“Jim Tressel’s a good friend,” Brown added. “I hate it for him, and that he and Ellen (Tressel’s wife) are going through this.”
Tressel's rival at Michigan, Brady Hoke, was similarly supportive ... if not so supportive as to abandon his habit of not actually naming the school from which Tressel resigned:
“I have great respect for Jim Tressel and what he has accomplished during his coaching career. We enjoy competing in ‘The Game’ and have great respect for our rivals in Ohio. Our program looks forward to the last weekend of November.”
At the SEC spring meetings, Bobby Petrino wasn't quite as sympathetic, saying he "felt" for Tressel but also questioning why the "Buckeye Five" had been eligible for his Razorbacks' Sugar Bowl defeat to OSU. (A discussion of his demands that his players tell the truth also seemed to be a rebuke of Tressel's cover-up attempts.) Nick Saban, though, used a military metaphorto express his reaction (emphasis added):
"I guess if you were in the military, we would say we lost a fine comrade in this whole thing," Saban said Tuesday at the Southeastern Conference spring meetings. "He's a good friend. He's been somebody that I've had a tremendous amount of respect for for a very, very good number of years. We kind of grew up together in coaching. I'm from the Big Ten - Ohio and Michigan are places I've spent time in coaching, and we crossed paths quite a bit. I always had a tremendous amount of respect for Jim Tressel as a person and professionally - the way he sort of handled his business with a lot of class and character."
While we're talking about Ohio, though, we may as well mention the reaction of one of the state's most famous sons ... and most hated villains. Via our sister Eye on Basketball blog, LeBron James:
"He's done some great things for that university. It's unfortunate all the allegations and things that have come out in the past year," James said."Everyone in Columbus and Ohio knows how important, how great he was for the team and university ... "I wish him the best, and the organization. Hopefully the university will come back. It's one of the best universities we have in America."
That's a very nice thing for LeBron to say. The guess here is that he's still not allowed inside the state's borders.
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 5:38 pm

Minor league baseball team pokes fun at OSU

Posted by Chip Patterson

The story of trouble at Ohio State is everywhere you look in sports right now. Whether it is Jim Tressel's resignation, or even more news regarding Terrelle Pryor and/or automobiles; you can't avoid talk about the scandal in Columbus. Heck, even LeBron James was questioned about the issue leading up to the biggest series of his career. But one minor league baseball team has decided to spin the scandal into one of the more creative game promotions I've heard this season. Fans of the Fort Myers Miracle will get a chance to participate in "Rest the Vest" Night at Hammond Stadium when the Miracle host the Jupiter Hammerheads on Monday, June 6.

As part of the "Rest the Vest" promotions, fans are encouraged to bring in their sweater vest and place it in a retirement bin near the front gate of the stadium. Turning in your sweater vest will give you the opportunity to participate in a test drive of a sports car from Classic Cars of Florida. In addition to the sweater vest drive, fans who show their tattoo will be given a piece of Miracle memorabilia to keep or sell.

This will likely enrage many Ohio State fans, but it seems like just the type of creativity that you could only get away with minor league baseball - the best kind. Not only are they knocking on Tressel, but also including car dealerships and tattoos for memorabilia "to keep or sell."

The Fort Myers Miracle are a Class A Advanced affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. For more information on "Rest the Vest" Night, you can find it at their official site here.

H/T: @OmarDuckets via @darrenrovell
Posted on: May 11, 2011 3:54 pm

Chris Spielman: 'More stuff coming out' at OSU

Posted by Adam Jacobi

POP QUIZ: Will Jim Tressel be coaching at Ohio State next year? He's still employed by OSU, and he's not suspended for the entire year, so odds are pretty good that he'll be back in Columbus at this rate, right?

Yes, "at this rate." Unfortunately for Tressel and Ohio State, the bad news may not be over just yet. Current broadcaster and former award-winning Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman told a crowd at a fundraiser yesterday that he thinks Tressel's gone -- and his prediction took an ominous tone shortly thereafter:

“I’d be surprised if he’s coaching next year (2011). Why I say that is I think there is more stuff coming out,” the Ohio State legend said.

Spielman did not offer an opinion about what should happen, but said Ohio State and its football coach are looking at tough decisions.

“He’s a friend of mine. I respect him. I would be honored if my son were ever good enough to have him play for a guy like Jim Tressel,” Spielman said.

“That being said, Ohio State is bigger than one individual. It’s bigger than the James Cancer Hospital. It’s bigger than the band and football and basketball and the Fisher College of Business. So what has to happen, in my opinion, is that the people in charge have to take an honest look and say, ‘What is best for the university moving forward?’ Then they have to make a hard decision." 

Graciously, CBSSports.com blogger Tom Fornelli has decided not to accuse Spielman of plagiarism. We kid, we kid.

Back to the point, this is the awful limbo that Ohio State finds itself in. There are still months to go until the school faces the NCAA Committee on Infractions, and if nothing else comes out, Tressel's five-game suspension just might hold as appropriate punishment for his (essentially singular) role in the coverup.

As the Ohio State car investigation shows, though, there's going to be no shortage of scrutiny of the dealings of the OSU program over those coming months, and there's also little reason for Spielman -- who's quite admirably still a Buckeye through and through -- to simply invent the idea that there's more bad news coming. Spielman works at the largest sports media company in the world and still, presumably, has plenty of contacts in and around the Ohio State athletic department and community. If he's worried about more bad news, the rest of Ohio State sure should be too.

What Spielman didn't do, however, was intimate any single detail about what new developments there may be, which means he's either sworn to off-the-record secrecy (possible) or all he's heard is nebulous and undeveloped enough that anything new might not be worth concern when all the facts come out (also possible). As the "where there's smoke there's fire" situation goes, though, Spielman's statements absolutely constitute smoke, and Ohio State should be bracing for even more bad news.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com