Tag:Gordon Gee
Posted on: June 8, 2011 12:43 am
 

Report: Pryor received up to $40,000 in payments

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Terrelle Pryor announced today through his lawyer that he would not be returning to Ohio State for his senior season after all. If that sounds like an odd thing to announce through a lawyer, well, it is. The situation in Columbus is obviously dour, however, and since Pryor has been reported to be at the center of that maelstrom, the last thing he needs to be doing is drawing attention to himself.

Unfortunately for Pryor, his announcement was shortly followed by multiple reports that he had received tens of thousands of dollars for things like memorabilia and autographs, which is an egregious violation of the NCAA's amateurism clause. Here's more from an ESPN report:

Terrelle Pryor [...] made thousands of dollars autographing memorabilia in 2009-10, a former friend who says he witnessed the transactions has told "Outside the Lines."

The signings for cash, which would be a violation of NCAA rules, occurred a minimum of 35 to 40 times, netting Pryor anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 that year, the former friend says.

He said Pryor was paid $500 to $1,000 each time he signed mini football helmets and other gear for a Columbus businessman and freelance photographer, Dennis Talbott. Talbott twice denied to ESPN that he ever paid Pryor or any other active Buckeye athlete to sign memorabilia. He said last week he has only worked with former players to set up signings. On Tuesday evening, he declined to comment whether he had ever operated a sports memorabilia business and said he was not an Ohio State booster.

The unnamed friend goes on to describe various lavish purchases Pryor made, which ESPN independently confirmed. The friend also details the arrangement Talbott had with Pryor, and it basically sounds like Talbott was a clearinghouse for Pryor to make money off his autographs. Again, obviously, that's completely illegal in the NCAA.

This would sound like an unverifiable hatchet job by a former friend if his story weren't apparently corroborated by Sports By Brooks, which provides evidence that Talbott has been selling Pryor-autographed material (along with other sports memorabilia) on eBay. Additionally, SBB reports that the NCAA has recently discovered checks from Talbott to Pryor, though that report is unconfirmed.

Brooks notes, however, that OSU asked Talbott to disassociate himself completely from the football program during the 2010 season, which could be a very troubling development. If Ohio State's athletic department uncovered evidence that Pryor had been accepting money from Talbott -- precisely the type of thing that would necessitate such a disassociation -- then let Pryor play anyway, then that is a serious violation of NCAA rules. In other words, it would be another instance of a possible sham of a compliance department. And if that's the case, all of a sudden, the heat's not only on Jim Tressel anymore, and the possibility for massive punishment increases dramatically.

Of course, just as with the car dealership issue, there are still plenty of ifs between here and "sham compliance department," and the investigations are still ongoing, so there's no need to shovel dirt on Ohio State just yet. These are still dark days in Columbus, however, and president Gordon Gee and athletic director Gene Smith must be hoping there's no bad news left. The way this situation has unfolded already, though, that's far from a guarantee.

Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:35 pm
 

Full Ohio State release on Tressel resignation

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The sudden (if not entirely unexpected) resignation of Jim Tressel this morning has left the college football world stunned. Here is the full text of Ohio State's press release announcing Tressel's decision and the appointment of 2011 interim head football coach Luke Fickell: 

The Ohio State University announced today that it has accepted the resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach of its football program.  Luke Fickell will serve as interim head coach for the 2011-2012 football season.  Recruitment for a new head coach - which is expected to include external and internal candidates - will not commence until the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season.

"In consultation with the senior leadership of the Board of Trustees, I have been actively reviewing matters attendant to our football program, and I have accepted Coach Tressel's resignation," said President E. Gordon Gee.  "The University's enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions."

Jim Tressel said, "After meeting with University officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach.  The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable."

Athletics Director Gene Smith said, "We look forward to refocusing the football program on doing what we do best - representing this extraordinary University and its values on the field, in the classroom, and in life.  We look forward to supporting Luke Fickell in his role as our football coach.  We have full confidence in his ability to lead our football program."

Smith will reportedly be making a statement within the next couple of hours as rumors swirl about the timing of the resignation. Check Eye on CFB and our Twitter feed for updates throughout the day.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 9:01 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 9:04 am
 

Delany: Ohio State interest is 'not positive'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany found himself in Seattle last August, standing beside Michigan as they faced the NCAA Committee on Infractions for violations under former head coach Rich Rodriguez. However, it is not hard to figure out that the pressure on the conference is much more substantial as Ohio State prepares for their meeting with the COI on Aug. 12 in Indianapolis. Delaney spoke to AnnArbor.com at the Big Ten spring meetings on Tuesday, only mentioning that the Ohio State scandal has generated "a lot of interest," and not the positive kind of interest.

“It’s a difficult set of facts and a difficult circumstance,” Delany said. “In due respect, I think the facts are known and we have a hearing date and we’ll go to a hearing and we’ll answer the questions and present the case and the NCAA will make a determination. And that’s the juncture at which time you’ll be able to absorb sort of exactly what it means in the short and the long term.

“Right now, to me, it’s just talking about something well in advance.”

That difficult set of facts and circumstances are ones that leave very little room for reasonable doubt when it comes to Jim Tressel's negligence in reporting potential violations. Tressel has been present at the Big Ten meetings, but has not spoken with the media since his arrival. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is also present at the meetings, but he too has steered clear of the media. Since the NCAA sent their notice of allegations in April, the future of Ohio State football has been murky, at best, for Tressel and Co. I think if you Buckeye fans for their opinion on the situation, their response will likely be very similar to Delany.
Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: April 27, 2011 10:25 am
 

Jim Tressel could lose $3.7M if fired

Posted by Chip Patterson

Ever since the release of the NCAA's Notice of Allegations to Ohio State, much of the focus of Tattoogate has shifted from the program and directly on head coach Jim Tressel.  The NCAA said Tressel "failed to deport himself in accordance with the honesty and integrity normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics" when he did not notify school officials of the possible violations associated with the tattoo parlor.  

The heat on Tressel has raised a question of whether he might be fired, or resign because of these new developments.  According to the Dayton Business Journal, Tressel getting fired or resigning could cost him $3.7 million a year.  Tressel is contracted at that salary through 2014, but the termination-for-cause provisions in his contract would release Ohio State from that financial responsibility.

According to a copy of his contract obtained by the Journal, one of the termination-for-cause provisions is "fraud or dishonesty in preparing, falsifying, submitting or altering documents or records of Ohio State, NCAA or the Big Ten."
More on the Ohio State investigation

After receiving information regarding possible violations and the tattoo parlor (not to mention forwarding the emails), Tressel knowingly signed a routine compliance form stating he was not aware of any possible violations.  If Ohio State is looking for a reason to get Tressel out, the "fraud or dishonesty" clause might be a good place to start.
Posted on: April 25, 2011 10:19 am
Edited on: April 25, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Report: NCAA hands OSU "notice of allegations"

Posted by Chip Patterson

As Ohio State prepares for an eventual ruling from the NCAA regarding knowledge of players receiving improper benefits, college football's governing body issued the school an official "Notice of Allegations" letter on Monday.  The document detailed the potential violations committed both by the football program and individually by head coach Jim Tressel.  The Columbus Dispatch, which also received a copy of the letter, reported that Ohio State could face "the most severe NCAA penalties to its storied football program."

The official wording in the letter was that the Buckeyes, and Tressel in particular, faced charges that are being considered "potential major violations."  The 13-page document also points a very stern finger at the iconic head coach, claiming Tressel "permitted football student-athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics while ineligible" and declaring that he "failed to deport himself ... (with) honesty and integrity".  That last "honesty" part is where things get particularly difficult for Tressel, who signed and dated a compliance form last September that acknowledged he was unaware any possible NCAA violations.  

As more details continue to be released from the NCAA investigation as well as efforts by the local media, that "honesty" bit gets tougher for Tressel.  Earlier Monday the Dispatch reported the findings from an email request that reveal much more contact between the head coach and other people involved in the accusations.  University president Gordon Gee, athletic director Gene Smith, and most importantly Ohio State's compliance office, were not included in the series of phone calls and emails around the time of Tressel receiving the tip.

The trouble began for the Buckeyes' head coach when he received an email from a former Ohio State player and current Columbus lawyer, Christopher Cicero. Cicero informed Tressel that a Federal raid of a local tattoo parlor turned up several thousands of dollars worth of Ohio State memorabillia.  Tressel responded to the lawyer that he would "get on it ASAP," and then proceeded to contact Ted Sarniak - a local Pennsylvania businessman and advisor/mentor to Terrelle Pryor.  

The notice from the NCAA did say the case is closed against the five players who exchanged memorabillia for cash, free/discounted tattoos, and discounts/loans towards the purchase of a used vehicle. The NCAA has said that the players (Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas and Jordan Whiting) will not face further punishment. They have been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season.  However, the program could still receive punishment for fielding ineligible players, and obviously Tressel faces much more serious charges invidually.

Another thing that the letter included was a notice that Ohio State could be treated as a repeat-offender by the NCAA because of violations stemming from Troy Smith and former basketball coach Jim O'Brien.  Both instances involved improper benefits as well, however neither was damning enough to warrant severe punishment by itself.  If the Buckeyes' program is treated as a repeat offender, they could be looking at the possibility of a postseason ban or the loss of scholarships.

The one piece of good news for Ohio State fans fearful of the future is the lack of the phrase "institutional control."  Those phrases, which normally lead to violations with the harshest penalties, are designed for programs which have insufficient compliance offices.  For a program like Ohio State to get hit with such a violations would rock the college football world, but thankfully for their fans and alumni it looks like they will dodge that bullet.

READ MORE: CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd asks "What's next for Ohio State?"

Click here for the full "Notice of Allegations" from the NCAA to Ohio State President Gordon Gee [via Columbus Dispatch]

Keep it here at CBSSports.com and the Eye on College Football for more on the Ohio State investigation as it develops. 



Posted on: December 2, 2010 12:07 pm
 

Gordon Gee is done talking football

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State president Gordon Gee drew a lot of attention to himself last week when he made some comments about the BCS and schools like Boise State and TCU.  Essentially, Gee said that he prefers the BCS to a playoff system, and then talked about how the Big Ten and SEC were better than schools like Boise and TCU because they don't play a "Little Sisters of the Poor" schedule.

Gee then lit his cigar with a hundred dollar bill and went for a swim in his pool full of gold coins.*

Well, after taking some heat for his comments -- and deservedly so -- it seems Gee has taken some time to reflect and decided that, in the future, he should just keep his mouth shut when it comes to talking about college football.

"I'm very blessed to have the best athletic director and best football coach in the country," Gee told The Columbus Dispatch. "They run the athletic program and I run the university, and I should have stayed out of there. What I should do is go over to the surgical suites and get my foot extricated from my mouth.

"What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher. I have no business talking about college football."

Which was pretty obvious from the start considering the school Gee oversees, and the one he claims doesn't play a "Little Sisters of the Poor" schedule played Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan this season.  Not to mention that the Buckeyes don't have a single victory over any team ranked in the BCS -- that system he loves so much -- at the moment.

Still, the fact that he was big enough to admit his mistake is good enough for me to get off of his case.

*That may have been Scrooge McDuck
Posted on: November 24, 2010 5:37 pm
 

Boise president, TCU AD blast Gee in response

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Quite honestly, after Gordon Gee 's comments this morning , you knew it was coming. TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte , speaking on radio about his remarks:



Mmmm, that's some tasty sarcasm. (Conte also added a "they must be jealous " comment for good measure.) But compared to what Boise State president Bob Kustra had to say, Conte was positively genial. Kustra (emphasis added):
"The BCS has finally found someone to stand up and defend the indefensible … Everyone in intercollegiate football knows that athletic directors of those large power conferences are scheduling more and more teams who are I-AA, who are teams at the weaker end of the non-AQ conferences, and for Gee to stand up and talk about murderer’s row every week is just the height of folly. It’s ridiculous ...

"I just hope that when he speaks about his research profile or the quality of his university he’s a little more believable than he is about athletics, because he’s just so wrong on this one … Presidents who stand up and talk about values and trust and fairness and access and equity speak with forked tongue when it comes to athletics — and it makes no sense to me how they can be so absolutely wrong and know it and yet stand up as the pillars of moral rectitude.”
Come on, Dr. Kustra: tell us how you really feel. Unfortunately for Gee, with the majority of college football fans (though not a sizeable one) favoring some sort of playoff and the bow-tied Ohio State president's remarks bearing the unmistakable stench of gridiron elitism, even if few fans outside of Boise and Fort Worth share Kustra's intensity regarding the matter, those feelings seem likely to carry this day in college football's court of public opinion.

Posted on: November 24, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2010 12:41 pm
 

Gee comments off the mark

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Particularly for an academic, Ohio State president Gordon Gee has never been shy about expressing his opinions on athletics, popular or not.

And it's a safe bet that the opinions he expressed today in an interview with the AP are going to be most decidedly unpopular in Boise and Fort Worth. Writing off entire conferences as the "Little Sisters of the Poor" isn't particularly becoming for the president of the nation's largest university, and criticizing TCU and Boise for their schedules is more than a little hypocritical when one advanced rating puts the Buckeyes' schedule strength barely above the Frogs' or Broncos' and both non-AQ teams have played a more challenging nonconference slate than the Buckeyes' lineup with Marshall , Eastern Michigan , and Ohio .

But as infuriating as Gee's viewpoint might be to those who'd agree the non-AQ teams are far more deserving this season than the 10-1 Buckeyes (whose best win until last week's triumph at 7-4 Iowa was a home win over either 7-4 Penn State or 7-4 Miami ), at the end of the day it's just another warmed-over rehashing of the same arguments that have surrounded Boise and TCU all season (and for much of the past two). Where Gee is really, truly wrong is in his comments on expanding the football postseason to ensure that we don't have to have these same tired debates:

Gee, long an admirer of the BCS and the current bowl system, said he was against a playoff in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

"If you put a gun to my head and said, 'What are you going to do about a playoff system [if] the BCS system as it now exists goes away?' I would vote immediately to go back to the bowl system," he said.

He said the current system is better for the student-athletes.

"It's not about this incessant drive to have a national championship because I think that's a slippery slope to professionalism," he said. "I'm a fan of the bowl system and I think that by and large it's worked very, very well."

Gee isn't just arguing that Boise and TCU don't deserve a title shot this year; he's arguing that college football should entrench a postseason system that would ensure that they never got that title shot. What his argument (and similar diatribes against "playoffs") misses is that college football already has a playoff; it selects a number of teams, pairs them off, and the winner is automatically declared the champion. Where the BCS playoff differs from every other playoff in existence is that it only includes two teams. To frame the debate in terms of some nebulous future "playoff" against a current BCS system that varies from that bogeyman only in terms of the number of teams involved is to rig the debate permanently in the BCS's favor.

Gee's desire to preserve what amateurism and respect for academics remain in college football is admirable. But there's a point at which even those concerns have to give way to basic fairness. And surely the permanent exclusion of the TCU's and Boise's of the sport from national title consideration represents that point; what Gee proposes is to draw a line between college football's haves and have-nots, one based on conference affiliation, and declare that the latter can never cross it. It's elitism and snobbery of the highest order.

Now, a show of hands: who's in favor of Wisconsin blowing their season finale against Northwestern and setting up a showdown between Gee's Buckeyes and either the Frogs or Broncos in the Rose Bowl ? Is that everyone (Badger fans excluded)? Yes, we think that's everyone.

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