A Somewhat Complete Accounting Of Recent Ohio State Funny Business

Submitted by Brian on March 9th, 2011 at 11:09 AM

For the record. Let me know if I've missed anything. Right now it's just on the edge of plausibility that incidents are "isolated," reported solely by lint-brush-wielding madmen. Additions: Luchs/Holmes.

2003

That's a nice car/job/wad of money. Maurice Clarett sits out the season after claiming his expensive dealership car was robbed of over 10k in stuff. Questioned by the NCAA, Clarett refuses to give straight answers to questions 17 times because "half the team would've been suspended, and it would've been worse for everybody."

Clarett also claims his grades were total fiction, he got phantom jobs, that coaches would tell him to talk to certain people who just happened to drop thousands of dollars they didn't care about, that he got free cars and free rent. Ohio State fans discount Clarett as mentally unstable, which he is.

That's a nice tutor. Clarett's grad student tutor confirms the total fiction grades bit of Clarett's story to the New York Times. The internal response was lovely: "Goings attacked the teaching assistant's credibility, saying he found it difficult to believe her because she had a history of psychiatric problems and displayed what he called erratic behavior." Goings calls the tutor a liar and fires her after she meets with him about another player.

2004

That's a nice job. Booster Robert Q Baker gives Troy Smith $500 for a fake job, getting Smith suspended a couple games and himself dissociated from the program. A couple years earlier Chris Gamble also worked for Baker's company.

2005

AJ Hawk is a depression-era farmer. The apartment of AJ Hawk and Nick Mangold is robbed. Items declared missing include $1400 worth of movies, a $500 Gucci watch, and $3000 in cash, presumably kept under the bed and away from those fat cats at National City.

Santonio Holmes is taken care of. Former NFL agent Josh Luchs outed dozens of players in the SI cover story that served as promotion from his upcoming book, but he'd long stopped paying when he visited Santonio Holmes in '05:

"We met [Holmes] outside the football building," Luchs wrote, "and he said, 'Listen, I want to save you the time. We don't need to meet. I've been taking money from [an agent] the last couple years, and he's been taking care of my family too.'"

2010

Tatgate. Five Ohio State players are found to have sold memorabilia in exchange for tattoos. Jim Tressel is given a credible tip about it in April and does nothing.

That's a nice car II. Terrelle Pryor has been pulled over for traffic violations three times in his Ohio State career. All three times he was in a car registered to Auto Direct, a local dealership. The guy running the dealership is named "Kniffin"—not a good sign. He also has signed OSU memorabilia all over his walls.

Ongoing

You can't throw a rock on eBay without hitting an auction for the gold pants charms handed out after Michigan victories from as recently as 2009—which means there's a fair chance the players in question are still on the team.

Between January 1st, 2000, and May 2009 Ohio State reported 375 secondary violations, most of any D-I school.

Comments

Hannibal.

March 9th, 2011 at 11:16 AM ^

Don't forget -- didn't Antonio Pittman also tweet that the tattoo thing had been going on since he arrived there? 

Also, in a tell-all story by an agent last year, Santonio Holmes was listed as one of the guys who was offered money and said something along the lines of "somebody else is already taking care of me".  The response from OSU fans was "LOL statute of limitations"

AAB

March 9th, 2011 at 11:19 AM ^

on that 375 violations number?  I know it's the most of any D-1 school, but by how much?  What's the average?  Are secondary violations pretty common?

I feel like that number gets thrown around a lot and I never know how disturbed I should be.  

zlionsfan

March 9th, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^

because not all I-A schools provide that information. Only 69 schools responded to FOI requests sent by the Columbus Dispatch ... private schools do not have to respond (USC would be an interesting read), and I'm not sure why some public schools didn't. (I think Pennsylvania has a law that protects schools from having to respond.)

Here's a quote from the article:

About 4,000 violations a year are reported to the NCAA, many of them unknown to the public because of FERPA. But one thing is certain: Ohio State has more than most. Florida, for example, reported 112 violations since 2000, and Oklahoma reported 224.

2Blue4You

March 9th, 2011 at 11:20 AM ^

I love the sentiment I keep hearing from O$U fans that they would rather win and be dirty than be Michigan.  They are totally fine with it as long as they see wins.  Win at any cost.  I hope it costs them everything.

Carcajous

March 9th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

I also find it useful to keep in mind that Youngstown State was hit right after Tressel left there.  If I remember correctly (and I might not) it was at least in part because a car dealer was letting players use cars (sound familiar?).

pdgoblue25

March 9th, 2011 at 11:26 AM ^

It was actually a house, not an apartment.  Hawk used to come over with friends and play cornhole in our parking lot behind our cars, he of course would leave all of their empty beer bottles behind our cars on the pavement.

Mangold was one of the nicest guys I ever met.  When they wanted to borrow a parking space he would knock on the door and introduce himself, ask very politely if they could use the space, and tell us when the person would be leaving.  He would offer us a few beers for the inconvenience.  Hawk on the other hand was a complete asshole, and twice as ugly in person.  Also, his girlfriend before Quinn's sister was much hotter, and her license plate was funny because it was a vanity plate with #47 on it....I'm guessing after Hawk's marriage to Quinn's sister she got that license plate changed.

Here is the article documenting Tressel's shenanigans at YSU.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=1920867

08mms

March 9th, 2011 at 12:54 PM ^

Bags, or the game where you toss bean bags often filled with seed corn through angled plywood with holes cut into it.  If you still don't know what I'm talking about, i feel sorry for your college experience.

Muppet1856

March 9th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

Let's not forget about the problems he created at Youngstown...

 

Now retired, Cochran looks back on the 1994 non-investigation by his athletic director and coach with embarrassment. "I feel like I got crapped on," he said.

 

Youngstown State would admit to a lack of institutional control and accept minor scholarship cuts. But avoiding the truth for so long served the team and city well. With the NCAA's statute of limitations on violations having expired in 1996 -- five years after Isaac left college -- the NCAA declined to strip Youngstown State of its beloved '91 national championship

Eleven months after the NCAA issued its decision, with no reprimand for Tressel at Youngstown, Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger hired Tressel as the Buckeyes' new head coach.

bluebyyou

March 9th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

Does the B1G ever get involved with issues such as Tatgate and now Tressel's "temporary lapse of memory" or is enforcement solely within the purview of the NCAA?

e.go.blue

March 9th, 2011 at 4:18 PM ^

I think the B1G would get involved if OSU failed to do anything...as it is, OSU has taken action already to help appease the NCAA infractions committee, and the NCAA will begin investigation soon (I assume). Delaney said this morning that they would not be taking further action and would not be commenting on the situation.

dosleches

March 9th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

Since this is in regards to Tressel funny business, not just OSU, I think Youngstown State info should be thrown in there as well.

Odd how 375 "secondary" violations + all of the improper benefits = no major violations, yet stretching + extra coaching = major violations. 

Hail-Storm

March 9th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

about all the e-mails he recieved about how great he is. Wait wasn't that what the news conference was about?  I got confused there at the beginning of it. 

Anyway, I just don't get why the debbie downer media is focused on these 3 or 4 e-mails that point to him lieing, when there are litterally hundreds of e-mails showing how great he is. At least the OSU AD and president have their priorities right.  

matty blue

March 9th, 2011 at 11:37 AM ^

 

...in scope and depth.  the case that always gets forgotten (presumably because he bailed before becoming a star) is derek morris, from 2002.  from the "375 violations" story:

In the summer of 2002, Derek Morris arrived in town from North Carolina as one of the country's top football recruits. He left Columbus weeks later with rumors circulating that he didn't have the necessary academic credentials to play football.

Records show that boosters, coaches and members of the Touchdown Club of Columbus gave Morris and his family:

• At least $1,175 in cash.

• Help securing a $3,000 loan.

• More than $500 in airline tickets.

• Housing and expenses.

• Legal advice.

• Outside tutoring from a woman who later filed a criminal complaint against the family for nonpayment.

• A job for the recruit's father.

(sorry, don't know how to format this better)

Wendyk5

March 9th, 2011 at 11:44 AM ^

It's pretty apparent from Gordon Gee's Sisters of the Poor comment that he feels tOSU is above us all. A program as "elite" as this one is held to different standards - not higher ones - in Gee's mind. Winning transcends the rules, and he and the rest of the university qualify any violation as being "not that big of a deal" presumably because it's tOSU who committed them. I would assume that the suspension was not something the university felt was actually needed, but a preemptive strike to fend off the NCAA. Why would someone like Tressel need to be punished? He's God. 

JDNorway

March 9th, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

Somewhat lost in all this is that Tressel has been suspended by his own university for the tough home games against Akron and Toledo, then conveniently returns for the away game against Miami (YTM).

Self imposed sanctions rule. I bet he's also given a $249k performance related bonus/extension bonus or similar to compensate for the fine as well.

The Claw

March 9th, 2011 at 12:09 PM ^

I can't seem to find it but I believe 2 players road on a booster's jet for free with Tressel.  They eventually had to pay the price of a ticket.  Happened a couple years ago.  I thought it was Troy Smith and someone else.

michiganprof

March 9th, 2011 at 12:12 PM ^

The Reynolds thing was troubling not so much for what Reynolds did - he was clearly a bit of a  psycho, he had been a Cooper recruit - but because of the response. It was absolutely obvious what had happened. You could see the replays on the big screen, Alvarez was doing a "strangle" pantomime to the referee, and the Wisconsin QB's larynx was crushed to the point that he couldn't speak. Tressel, of course, pled ignorance, and said he hadn't seen anything. To the credit of the OSU fans, the athletic director was flooded with correspondance from livid alumni who were properly ashamed of what Reynolds had openly done on national TV. Cue the Tressel press conference: "Reynolds has apologized, but after watching the replays, a mere apology isn't enough. So I'm suspending him for the next game. (It was against a laughably weak opponent, I can't remember who, ensuring that he'd be back for the Michigan game where one of his first plays was to end Jason Avant's season with a dodgy rolling tackle that twisted Avant's ankle.)

The subsequent "apology" press conference was unbelievable - Tressel presents Reynolds, who appears accompanied by his pretty fiancée dressed up to look like the all American couple, properly modest and respectful. Occasionally the mask would slip just a glimpse, as when Reynolds would grudgingly acknowledge his culpability and then try to slip away by attacking the people who were complaining, as if they were unreasonable, on a witchhunt. ("It was only a couple of seconds")

The epilogue was that Reynolds and fiancée were indeed soon married, and just as soon after were divorced, with Reynolds charged with domestic violence. According to the estranged wife, it was not the first time, which I find easy to believe:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2006-10-24-reynolds-warrant_x.htm

biakabutuka ex…

March 9th, 2011 at 12:13 PM ^

In April of 2010, OSU was a National Championship frontrunner. Consider you're the coach of this team and you receive information that will dash those predictions. You might do the right thing, but you will unequivocally be tempted to lie.

His "mind-bottling" actions don't make any sense unless you keep in mind what was at stake in his mind. If they were projected to play in the Outback Bowl last year, I don't think his decision-making is so cloudy.

kvnryn

March 9th, 2011 at 12:49 PM ^

There is also [email protected]. But I'm fairly certain that it wasn't that someone "forgot." Tressel is a public employee, so I'd guess they are not allowed to redact that information (or, if they are, they figured it would be useless to do so because it's probably publicly available elsewhere).

Icehole Woody

March 9th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

If it hasn't happened in years past it aint gonna happen.   The NCAA does not have the balls to go after Ohio State football.  Some programs are too important to sacrifice.

Bodogblog

March 9th, 2011 at 1:49 PM ^

It's a simple choice for them.  Think Bugsy

Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet.  Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet.  Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet. 

zlionsfan

March 9th, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

Of course we know some of this stuff is solid, because OSU itself confirmed the emails, and for the most part, we're talking about things that have already happened, so I'm assuming this is not just the Ohio version of the Free Press:

In May 2003, the shoe company adidas paid for a football player's trip to Los Angeles. The athlete flew on a private plane to the West Coast. Once there, he was treated to free meals, lodging, tickets to a Lakers basketball game and adidas apparel. OSU removed the athlete's name and the punishment he received, citing the law protecting education records.

Also that May, an undisclosed number of Buckeyes worked at a convention where they were paid $130 each to sign autographs and play golf. The athletes temporarily lost eligibility for taking improper jobs and had to give the money to charity to regain eligibility. OSU's report does not identify the athletes or the booster who hired them because of FERPA.

In October 2005, two football players stole a $60 alarm clock and a $10 hair dryer from the Hilton Minneapolis. The team was in town to play a game against the Golden Gophers. Their names were blacked out by OSU because of FERPA.

In February 2006, an undisclosed number of football players attended a charity event and signed autographs without permission. The athletes lost eligibility for a time but did not miss a game because it wasn't football season. Their names were removed from the record because of FERPA.

Ziff72

March 9th, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

I still don't understand how the car dealership thing was explained.   This seems like a huge story because it involves Pryor and the paperwork trail seems easy to follow here.  This one baffles me.  If anybody has further clarification on what happened I'd appreciate the insight.

M-Wolverine

March 9th, 2011 at 1:22 PM ^

Of the Ohio State blogs to Brian's, Uhm, pointing out of problems. If MSU gets mad at Juggalos, and PSU doesn't like the fact their QBs suck, and Iowa's not convinced they were a little lucky and might regress, Buckeyes are just gonna LOVE this...

D.C. Dave

March 9th, 2011 at 1:43 PM ^

Tressels actions here merit firing. He has cheated his entire career and he always has handled it in the same way -- trying to maintain he was ignorant of anything that was going on.

That's what he tried to do here, but the Sin-ator got caught. And the truth is he also knew a lot more about all the past transgressions and he preferred to turn his head and portray himself as outraged when he learned of these things.

It is amazing the NCAA can let this slide in comparison to the swooping in to Ann Arbor that occurred after the Free Press printed numerous factual errors to aggrandize some violations that, by comparison, seem hardly worth mentioning -- written by reporters who did not know the rules themselves. Granted, our previous coaching staff created an opening by failing to have players fill out simple, required forms on voluntary workouts, which, by the way, contributed to us being hit with violations more than any other single detail. That doesn't erase the fact that the Free Press report contained errors that were never corrected, a point Michigan made in its report to the NCAA, while in the case of Ohio State we have all of what we know to be true and much more.

I've not seen one credible refutation of any of the allegations made against Ohio State over the past 10 years, particularly since most of the incriminating statements came from the Buckeyes players themselves, who have fully acknowledged they were given benefits that broke the rules. The NCAA simply does not enforce its rules across the board; it picks and chooses and it has purposely steered clear of Tressel.

It can no longer do that, and his favored 'plausible deniability' defense has been blown up. He participated in a coverup and we can all know this to be true: If Jim Tressel is calling a press conference ONE DAY after a story runs that was built on an anonymous source, this is nothing more than a typical ploy be someone who has much more to hide -- make an effort to offer a quick mea culpa and hope to stop the investigation right here. That can only mean he is hoping no one takes a deeper look. The NCAA loses its last shreds of credibility if it accepts the Ohio State whitewash without a full investigation that ends with multi-year probation, a loss of scholarships and a new head coach. Because the truth is, the integrity of the football program matches the academic quality of the school.

 

COB

March 9th, 2011 at 2:26 PM ^

that many of you are irrecoverably butt hurt by the Free Press issue but let's ignore your  screw job for a second. 

You are just way off base in what you think will happen regarding punishment.  Might be 4-5 game suspension and vacating 2010 wins but there will be no scholly loss and Tressel wil not lose his job. 

As for the integrity of the football program and the academic quality of the school well how mighty big of you.  I guess when the Fab5 was the center of "one of the 2 or 3 biggest NCAA violations cases ever" the integrity of the basketball program mirrored the academic quality of the school too, right?  Is that the truth per D.C. Dave?  I've got some truth for you friend, you are a clueless clown put here (I assume) for my amusement. 

NCAA sanctions for this offense will not appreciably hurt the program to the extent you are seemingly hoping for.  The NCAA recommended punishment likely won't even be released by football season so 2 games is likely all you will see for 2011. My question is, what are you going to do if nothing else happens to Tressel?  Seriously, I want to know. 

UMGooch

March 9th, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

Did anyone notice that everything was just bulleted on MGoBlog? Just like those emails to "jt"?

If that was intentional, I find it hilarious.

alanmfrench

March 9th, 2011 at 2:51 PM ^

Between the laundry list of issues noted here and the enormous amount of self reported secondary violations I cannot fathom how they have not been bitch slapped by the NCAA before.

Clearly if you want to intentionally cheat this system you can. Making the obvious comparison of this to what we just went through I think you have one coach who has been intentionally scamming the system for years and one coach who was guilty of simply not understanding all of the rules surrounding practice time and the use of QCA's.

I don't think I need to tell anyone who is who.

Go Blue!

AC1997

March 9th, 2011 at 6:52 PM ^

Has anyone started poking around with the basketball program yet?  Isn't that was ultimately blew up USC - the combination of Mayo and Bush (uhh.....that sounded gross). 

I have always been extremely suspicious of how OSU Basketball just keeps signing #1 recruiting classes every year.  I know they have nice facilities, but this isn't Duke or UNC with championship banners on the wall and a coach that oozes confidence.  We're talking about Thad Motta here. 

If anyone can add some items to the list for the basketball team  you start to get in some serious areas about lack of institutional control across the AD. 

I also concurr on the Pryor dealership issue.  Ultimately that's what blew the Fab Five story out of the water and for OSU it is just swept under the rug as taking a test drive? 

AC1997

March 9th, 2011 at 7:00 PM ^

Here's what will be interesting in this situation - what do the local papers do with this story?  I think that for a long time, perhaps similar to the Detroit media, the local Ohio media stayed away from any story that might be negative toward OSU.  Why attack the golden goose? 

 

So how will they react now?  Will they cover their eyes and write fluff pieces about spring practice?  Or will they decide that jumping on the band wagon is going to sell more papers and start digging up their own dirt?  If the local media turns on OSU like some of them did with the Rodriguez and Michigan, watch out.