Is it possible to write things not about Ohio State's rapidly unraveling sweater? There is a hypothetical world in which this is the case, but it is not this one. Almost literally every day some new mortar lands in the Ohio State compliance department and detonates.
Terrelle Pryor, who announced through his attorney Tuesday that he would bypass his senior season at Ohio State, 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. The source spoke to ESPN under the condition that his face not be aired on TV and that his name not be published.
As far as unsubstantiated anonymous sources go this one comes with a guy sporting an "infickellwetrust" handle on the eBays that was until recently "intresselwetrust" who sells all kinds of sports memorabilia including that from a lot of Buckeyes. So… wow. Get that paper, ignore the sense you are a walking self-parody. (Game used Henson cleats just 120!)
Does this add anything substantial to Ohio State's mounting pile of accusations or is it just a pile-on? Well, it has excised Terrelle Pryor from next year's season, leaving Ohio State to pick between Brooks Bollinger Memorial Eighth Year Senior Joe Bauserman, who's like 30 now or something and an assortment of underclassmen of whom true freshman Braxton Miller is the most touted.
But that's in the past, as Rich Rodriguez might have it. As for the future, this specific accusation is one that sounds scary but seems less likely to have a paper trail a compliance program can be expected to trace. Unlike the other accusations there's no email sitting in Tressel's inbox or compliance audit five years ago that was basically ignored or guy in charge of the equipment that should have one of those inventory things.
But while this specific thing may or may not add to the NCAA dogpile, if Brooks is correct about this…
In addition to Pryor’s past NCAA transgressions, today I confirmed that Ohio State was recently cited by NCAA enforcment officials for dozens of payments Pryor received in past years from a Columbus sports memorabilia dealer that are considered outside of NCAA rules.
The NCAA violations were discovered when the name of the local memorabilia dealer, Dennis Talbott, was seen on checks Pryor was depositing in his personal bank account.
…and personal bank accounts are being examined (probably with the threat of terminated eligibility hanging over the request), well, items have acquired a distinct nature of being in reality.
We are coming off of a season in which several teams lost key players because of suspensions for improper benefits. Ohio State’s head coach (and arguably their compliance department, which seems unable to find evidence of wrongdoing despite media outlets finding stories like candies tumbling out of a piñata) ignored evidence of similar violations on the part of his players. Doesn’t the NCAA have to reward schools like Georgia and North Carolina for being proactive in dealing with improper benefits by showing that the alternative is significantly worse? The NCAA needs to hammer Ohio State and not for punitive reasons or because the Bucks derived a major competitive advantage from its players trading memorabilia (that point is debatable), but rather to send a message to its members that self-reporting is a big deal. The whole system, which most closely resembles a rickety dam trying to hold back a flood of money headed towards the athletes who create it, depends on honest self-reporting.
It's hard to look at the USC violations, which were tied to the Trojan staff based on one two-and-a-half minute phone call to the running backs coach, and not see something worse coming down the pipe for OSU. USC:
Had one player implicated for an awful lot of money.
"Should have known" based on Todd McNair's Fisher-like desire not to know.
Has one player implicated for a lot of money plus a half-dozen more confirmed NCAA violators plus an alleged two dozen more.
Absolutely did know because the head coach was directly informed.
Laughably stonewalled and, as a bonus, got the NCAA to declare its players eligible for the Sugar Bowl.
Unless the raw amount of money funneled to Reggie Bush is a significant factor (and I can't see why that would be since the difference here appears to be between low six digits and mid-fives) it seems hard to make a case that Ohio State shouldn't get penalties harsher than USC's—significantly harsher. I'd be interested to see if anyone can make a Devil's Advocate case that what's currently happening in Columbus is less severe than the Bush imbroglio. Pretty much the only person who's tried is Drew Sharp, and he did not do well* even considering he's Drew Sharp.
Seriously. The gauntlet is thrown down: can anyone make the case Ohio State should get off lighter than USC?
I think we all hope that the head of the IRS office that audits people in Columbus is a complete straight arrow who has no ties to either UM or OSU, but is seriously pissed off that Terrelle Pryor (and others) didn't pay taxes owed, and deposes each and every one of the people connected.
is this: USC's case involved a sports agent. I can't think of anything more likely to piss the NCAA off (other than coaches handing suitcases full of money to players) than a program letting agents run amok. Tattoos, merchandise, cars: it's all really bad. But, at least arguably, none of it is as flagrantly in violation of the "amateur athlete" concept as a player taking a shit-ton of money from a sports agent who expected to be repaid once the player went pro.
There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter.
Counter argument: Agents aren't connected to the school, have no real interest in success of the school's athletic programs and are really only trying to establish a relationship that benefits them after the player's "amateur" career is over. This is no different than companies that hand out various items at career fairs (ok, it's a little different).
Can't it be argued that taking money/goods/etc. is worse than accepting money that is meant to be paid back?
I don't really know which is worse, but I have to expect, that from a competitive advantage standpoint, it's a worse infranction to seemingly have an established system in place where one school's players know they can go and get free tattoos/cars/etc. than for a school to not be overly proactive about rooting out agents.
I don't know anything but personally, I feel like it's worse that it came from within the University as opposed to a "potentially" outside agent. However, I also have a hard time buying that USC also didn't have knowledge of said agent or situation.
The NCAA held that USC did know, albeit on very circumstantial evidence, and thanks to Tressel, OSU has been proven to have known. Therefore, the question isn't knowledge but were OSU's violations better than, similar to, or worse than USC's violations?
I do believe that at the time, Drew Sharp's main point was that tSIO was being at least some what pro-active and complaint albeit after the fact where as USC never was, leading to OSU possibly avoiding a USC type fate. This point seems null and void now as allegations of activities clearly discoverable by a half-descent compliance department have come out.
Isn't there another issue that speaks to your "should have known" or "did know" issue in the case of the $$ for autographs? In the SBB article, it states that Talbott was banned form the OSU athletic department in 2010, implying they DID know and wanted to pull the plug on him. They didn't, however, report anything.
osu is now going to have to justify why (i) this guy was told GTFO and (ii) why there was no reporting. In addition, if there were sales of say AJ Hawk memorabilia, while he was a student, plus his confession of having $10k stolen from his house, does 1+1=2?
I suppose they could use the same defense they used to allow the Tat5 to remain eligible for the Sugar Bowl, namely, they can claim that the players were totally unaware that they were breaking rules and therefore they should get a lighter punishment.
Not sure if that can be extended to the coaches and staff of a program, and there's the whole fact that Tressel 100% knew about it, so they could try and mount this defense but I foresee mega failure if they do.
you are buying both cleats. These were obtained from a Clippers bat boy when Henson was in Triple A for the Yankees. I personally had Henson sign both of these cleats. The back of the cleats said "Henson" 7. He was mad the day they were signed and crossed off his name. He refused to sign them at first but ended up signing them. They are signed bodly in silver paint pen on the sides and look great. I personally guarantee the autograph for life.
5 4 3 2 1 Touchdown! Touchdown Billy Taylor! Touchdown Billy Taylor!
It's a tough call for student athletes. If you only have a minute or two and there are 15-20 "fans," do you just generically sign all of them, or do you take the time to personalize each one, but only give out 5 autographs?
We all get why the OSU violations are so much worse. There really is no debate on it. What Brian was looking for was someone to try to make an argument as to why OSU should receive a lesser punishment than USC.
note: I do agree with your point on the disassociation with Talbot. It has gotten far less attention and may be the most damning thing that has come out (aside from the whole "I'll get right on it. Happy Thanksgiving. Go Bucks. Love, JT" email).
Nice! You may have stumbled upon a fun new game. "What is your favorite, most damning thing to come out?" I'm going to go off the board with "We are going to do a full investigation of all car purchases and registrations right away!...O.K., we've decided to let the Ohio BMV finish their investigation before we do ours, so as to get an idea of what we can keep quiet.".. Correct me if I'm wrong, but is that not quite the attitude you might hope for from your compliance office?
The one devil's advocate thing i would say on that is, some of this stuff its like, what can you do? Like the cars with dealer tags - from what I've read, the kids all had explanations, which presumably met NCAA standards
If youre in compliance, you KNOW something is going on. But what are you supposed to do, IF (and thats a big if, and clearly a no in SOME cases) you followed the NCAA guidelines to the T?
It pains me to even try to argue the penalties should be less than USC, and I've debated this on other sites saying a 2-year bowl ban would be ridiculous in this case (3 should be the minimum as it is the only one that really would affect recruiting), but here goes:
USC never imposed any penalties on themselves for the violations that took place. Reggie had won a Heisman and graduated, and Pete Carroll left for the NFL without anything damaging to his reputation. For Ohio, they had already suspended the players and coach for 5 games for the upcoming season, where they would likely be forced to burn true freshmen's (read: Braxton) eligibility while the starters sat, and then figure out how to get those upper-classmen back into the game plan after not getting much time with the first team in practice the first 5 weeks of the season. They can also try to say they made Tressel resign over this mess, which is something USC clearly didn't do with Carroll. Their defense will be that they honestly didn't know how ugly Tressel and Pryor were, but they did attempt to punish them, and the other players involved, before truly seeing the magnitude of those two people's actions.
Ugh... I need a shower after trying to defend them in even the slightest way..
I think this is the best argument one could come up with. Fortunately, I think OSU's handling has been so ham-fisted, that their attempts at investigation and punishment (5 game suspensions but no bowl game for the players, 2 game suspension, then 5 game suspension, then resignation for tressel) were so weak as to make it worse by showing an institutional problem.
Agreed. It really depends on the NCAA's view of tOSU's response
That is, do they consider the response to have been earnest? Or is the initial decision of a 2-game suspension for Tressel insulting? I -- and presumably most of us -- think it's the latter, but the NCAA may opt for the former.
Remember, the OSU players were only suspended by the school for the bowl game, the NCAA ruled them good to go for that, then suspended them for five games, then OSU appealed those suspensions as too harsh.
"We bring you to Michigan to take care of Michigan; your job is to protect that block M."
OSU hasn't really been imposing penalties on themselves proactively. It wasn't like "hey, look what we found out, this is not good, let's turn ourselves in." It's looking more like:
1. Whoops, someone did something wrong.
2. Sweep it under the rug.
3. When the NCAA looks under the rug, offer a weak penalty.
4. When it turns out that what they did was worse than you thought, go back to step 1.
If it were just Pryor, then I think OSU could make the case that it was really out of their hands. Given the deep involvement of Tressel, neither Gee nor Smith can claim that they had everything under control - and it wasn't like they booted Tressel the first chance they had. That was more of the steps above:
1. Whoops, the coach did something wrong.
2. Sweep it under the rug.
3. When the NCAA looks under the rug ... you get the idea.
And it keeps happening. Not once have I heard any OSU official say something like "OK, we're really going to get serious about this." It's always "uh, mistakes were made ..." and I don't think the NCAA likes being played for a fool.
It's possible that with just the tattoo situation, maybe they could have got away with lesser penalties than USC faced, but at this point, I don't think we can justify that ... and who's to say that this is the end of the revelations? Granted, there will be people looking to pile on, claiming that Pryor sold them stuff or test drove their cars or whatever, but there may also be violations with evidence, and if more of those turn up ...
The worst part about this latest OTL piece is that OSU supposedly banned this dealer from their program already.....confirming they knew something was going on.
As for USC.....help me with a couple of questions:
Does the NCAA find itself in a double-jeopardy situation in that they already issued a punishment for these players after an initial investigation? Do they have grounds to change their ruling now that more has come out?
The NCAA needs to be able to confirm some of the new information that has come out through SI, OTL, or the Dispatch. Can they prove any of this in such a way that allows them to lower the hammer? You'd think so....but the NCAA isn't the FBI.
Does it matter at all that OSU could argue they weren't getting a competitive advantage because of all this? And it wasn't necessarily helping with recruiting? (Though having players tell recruits they could get cars and tats can't hurt, right?)
In the end it seems like they're totally screwed and there's no way to avoid a "lack of institutional control" situation here. Even having Pryor and Tressel as scapegoats isn't going to save face for the compliance department. And having the same AD, President, and Assistant Coaches isn't going to go over too well with the NCAA either.
I don't think it matters whether or not they actually gained a competitive advantage. We clearly didn't gain a competitive advantage from exceeding practice time restrictions, and that didn't help us during Stretchgate.
1. Double jeopardy is a government thing. The NCAA can pretty much do as it wishes, and evidence that the original crime was worse than previously understood would certainly allow them to re-open things.
2. The NCAA may not be the FBI, but they also don't need to prove things to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. They can draw conclusions based on inference that a criminal trial wouldn't permit.
3. They can try that argument, but I doubt it would do much good. See: Martin, Ed.
As the most highly regarded lawyer in MgoLand, I view Brian's throwing down of the gauntlet as a challenge to you. You have rescued many from Bolivia - many who we thought were beyond saving - but can you craft a non-laughable defense of OSU?
I agree that OSU should be dealt with just as harshly as USC, but there are a few points you could make for the contrary argument:
-Unlike Ohio State, USC treated the scandal pretty lightly right up until the very end. Pete Carroll left on his own for an NFL job and kept Todd McNair on staff even after allegations that he knew about Bush's extra benefits surfaced. AD Mike Garrett didn't lose his job until after the hammer came down. Ohio State at least pressured Tressel to resign shortly after the scandal broke.
-To replace Carroll, USC hired a coach who was on Carroll's staff when the impropriety occurred and who had minor scrapes with the NCAA at his previous job, further indicating that they didn't really take the matter seriously. Expect Ohio State to make a clean break with this staff and go outside the program for Tressel's replacement.
-USC was generally very lax when it came to compliance. Their AD maintained one of the smallest compliance offices in the Pac-10 despite being located in a town dominated by celebrity culture and crawling with sports agents. Keep in mind that their basketball program was also hit.
Based on that, you coud argue that the NCAA was just supremely pissed off at USC's arrogance and indifference throughout the whole matter. Ohio State initially acted similarly by suspending Tressel for only 2 games, but it now seems that they're scared shitless and are trying to exercise some damage control. I'd be surprised if Gene Smith is still there in six months.
Having said that, USC's case involved improper benefits to a single football player, whereas the Ohio State scandal involves potentially dozens of players over many years in a program that seems to have been overrun by a culture of dishonesty, willful blindness, and indifference to the rules. So yeah, you could make the case the USC scandal looked worse to the NCAA, but it's not a very strong case based on the other factors.
Some counter-points to your attempted defense of the indefensible:
"Unlike Ohio State, USC treated the scandal pretty lightly right up until the very end."
As did OSU. OSU basically swept this under the rug and even allowed known violators to play in a bowl game. To me, they are STILL not taking this very seriously, and to the extent that they are, it is only because there is a media shit storm over C-Bus that shows no signs of abating.
"Pete Carroll left on his own for an NFL job and kept Todd McNair on staff even after allegations that he knew about Bush's extra benefits surfaced. AD Mike Garrett didn't lose his job until after the hammer came down. Ohio State at least pressured Tressel to resign shortly after the scandal broke."
Are you forgetting Gee's "I hope that Coach Tressel doesn't fire me" comment? They stayed loyal to the Vest until it became impossible to do so because of an impending SI article that we about to drop. Also, while USC kept a coach on staff after finding out about the issue, OSU started the freeking guy in the center of the whole controversy in the Bowl game after the whole thing had become public.
Also, TP resigned on his own, just like Pete Carrol. Both knew that the other shoe was about to drop and got out of Dodge to escape the NCAA.
"To replace Carroll, USC hired a coach who was on Carroll's staff when the impropriety occurred"
The current coach ot OSU is Fickel - also on the staff during a portion of this debacle. They are doing the exact same thing as USC here.
"USC was generally very lax when it came to compliance. Their AD maintained one of the smallest compliance offices in the Pac-10 despite being located in a town dominated by celebrity culture and crawling with sports agents."
Talking about a lax compliance department, it was brought to OSU's compliance dept's attention that they needed to keep better track of the players' cars. Also, the level to which this occurred - the fact that enough equipment went missing to fiend an entire D2 team - without raising suspicion within the OSU non-compliance department indicates that while they were larger than USC's department, they were just as lax.
"Keep in mind that their basketball program was also hit."
So was OSU's within the past few years, no?
I think that you did about as good of a job mounting a defense as possible, but OSU is just beyond help.
My devil's advocate argument is that the NCAA came down hard on USC because they were pissed off at the way USC handled the matter. Tressel played TP in the bowl game with the full consent of the NCAA, back when no one at OSU knew that Tressel had withheld information from compliance and lied to the NCAA about it, and before these other allegations about TP had surfaced. Also, Fickell is an interim coach promoted from within the current staff, which was necessitated by the timing of Tressel's resignation. USC hired Kiffin from outside as Carrol's permanent replacement.
At the end of the day though, I don't disagree with you that OSU is beyond help. They should be hit just as hard as USC, if not harder.
"My devil's advocate argument is that the NCAA came down hard on USC because they were pissed off at the way USC handled the matter. Tressel played TP in the bowl game with the full consent of the NCAA, back when no one at OSU knew that Tressel had withheld information from compliance and lied to the NCAA about it, and before these other allegations about TP had surfaced. "
You rightly pointed out that the NCAA gave osu their blessing b/c they were unaware that osu was LYING to them. The NCAA now has the proverbial egg on its figurative face. Basically, osu made them look like total schmucks. The NCAA is pissed and, I believe, will not show mercy to the buckeyes.
For my privacy, my new username is "non-Oriental non-Andrew"
I'm wondering if we're looking at a new benchmark on the NCAA Infractions Meter? The scope of this thing just keeps continuing to grow and grow and grow to the point that osu may find themselves awarded a new punishment, perhaps something just short of the death penalty....?
At this point the entire NCAA model is being put on trial by the media-- they've got to assert their authority, regardless of whatever revenue the scarlet and gray bring in. They may not have a choice but to burn the empire to the ground.
And yes, as a member of the MGoCommunity you are fully sanctioned to laugh.
Until yesterday, I think one could have reasonably argued that the OSU situation isn't much worse than USC's. But now, if the Talbott angle proves to be true -- if -- that's the killshot. Because it indicates a longstanding cover-up of gross NCAA violations.
Pryor making a killing with merchandise dealers is on par with the Reggie Bush thing. But whereas there's no evidence that Bush's head coach or AD knew about the transactions, OSU's coach and AD did know about Pryor's -- and covered it up. (I recognize that USC's brass should have known, but that's a different story.)
Plus: It wasn't just Pryor. There were many offenses by many Buckeyes -- including the head coach -- over many years.
Plus: That OSU boasts the country's largest compliance office only makes it worse. OSU cannot claim ignorance or staffing issues (as USC did, albeit weakly). The compliance office, in this scenario, amounts to a sham.
The NCAA will tell Gee and Smith to take a deep breath, bend over, and touch their toes.