May 30, 2011

SI article alleges more scandal

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State fans had spent all day in shock with the news that head coach Jim Tressel had resigned from the post he had held for the previous 10 years.

After the shock set in that Tressel had officially given up the job he's held for the last decade, the second part of the day was about preparing for the knockout punch - an incredibly damning investigative report done by Sports Illustrated.

The report was rumored weeks ago to be set to go on Tuesday, but the initial version of the story went live on Monday evening.

Though the story was an expose done focusing on Tressel and his career dating back all the way to his days at Youngstown State, perhaps the most incriminating words in the piece stem from the mention of nine names currently on the roster.

In the three page in-depth story, current players named were safety C.J. Barnett, linebacker Dorian Bell, running back Jaamal Berry and Bo DeLande, defensive back Zach Domicone, linebackers Storm Klein and Etienne Sabino, defensive linemen John Simon and defensive end Nathan Williams.

In all, 28 players under Tressel reportedly have been involved in selling team memorabilia for money, extra benefits, and even drugs such as marijuana.

The Buckeyes could be sorely affected by future punishment, especially given names like Sabino, Simon, and Williams are all expected to play major roles for Ohio State's defense in 2011.

Just like the NCAA has done with every report on Ohio State, it should be expected it will look deeper into the allegations of SI and writers George Dohrmann with David Epstein. Ohio State will likely also launch a self-investigation on the matters.

Some of the other allegations from the story are as follows:

  • The story asserted that when an assistant at Ohio State in the mid-1980s, he would fix raffles the team would hold at football camps to enable bigger prizes to leave with the highly touted recruits. Of course, that could be seen as an indirect form of payment and improper benefits given to recruits.

  • The report also said former Ohio State running back Jermil Martin gave up Rose Bowl tickets and a watch to Edward Rife - the owner of Fine Link Ink - in exchange for an automobile.

  • Despite the fact only six names were linked to Fine Line Ink, the story brings to light that there are more items that weren't found in the Department of Justice report. The Department of Justice report listed only 42 items, but the SI report claims that there were far more acquired by Rife and hidden in storage units all over town.

  • Going deeper into the memorabilia acquired by Rife, the story mentioned that quarterback Terrelle Pryor provided at least 20 items by himself, including game worn shoulder pads, helmets, cleats, jerseys and game pants. These items reportedly came from the team's equipment room. When asked how he was able to obtain all the equipment, Pryor supposedly responded, "I get what I want."

  • Because Ohio State's report to the NCAA in December mentioned only six players, athletic director Gene Smith was allegedly inaccurate in saying it wasn't a widespread problem on the team. Former defensive lineman Rob Rose was listed as one of roughly 20 other people who had sold memorabilia given to him by Ohio State.

  • The story mentions all of the players' transgressions as something Tressel was unaware of. However, the report mentions a myriad of different situations where prominent players had gotten in trouble under Tressel in the past and the coach was supposedly in the dark on those actions.

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