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October 3, 2011
Five players involved in employment scandal
Follow Noon on Twitter | Rowland | Givler
DiGeronimo was previously tied to the suspensions of Corey Brown, Jordan Hall and Travis Howard. They received $200 each while attending a charity event in Independence. The three players were suspended for the first two games of the season.
Smith said DiGeronimo has been sent a disassociation letter.
"Because of your failure to meet with the University to discuss these important issues and in light of the information we have learned regarding your involvement with the NCAA rules violations, this letter is formal notification of your immediate disassociation with The Ohio State University's Department of Athletics," the letter reads.
It continues: "This disassociation means that you are to be completely eliminated from any involvement in the University's athletics program, and no benefit or privilege related to Department of Athletics will be provided to you that generally is not available to the general public."
DiGeronimo was associated with the Ohio State athletics department for the last 30 years. He has employed football and basketball players in the past on a part-time basis. It is not a violation as long as the work is actually done and the athletes are paid no more than someone else working the same job.
In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, DiGeronimo said, "There were no irregularities. The hours they were paid were the hours they worked. They were not paid inflated rates. As of (last) Friday, everything seemed fine. I am surprised by this."
When asked if Ohio State feared being hit with failure to monitor or lack of institutional control by the NCAA, Smith did not seem concerned.
"We're optimistic that failure to monitor and lack of institutional control will not emerge," he said. "We're working with enforcement staff to develop a report that will go to the Committee on Infractions.
"The NCAA has done a very thorough job of evaluating us. These failures are individual failures. They involve failures of individual athletes, our previous coach and a booster. These aren't systemic failures."
Smith did go on to say he holds himself responsible for the department's shortcomings.
"I am held accountable," he said. "That's why I'm sitting here today. We have to constantly work with our student-athletes to educate them about accountability and then educate those people around them to ensure that our student-athletes aren't taken advantage of by people around them."
Adams, Herron, Posey and Thomas - and Terrelle Pryor - were suspended after the University and NCAA learned in December they received improper benefits in the form of discounted tattoos in exchange for memorabilia. Pryor eventually left school and was selected by the NFL's Oakland Raiders in the NFL Supplemental Draft. Jordan Whiting was suspended for the season opener.
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