Tag:Edward Rife
Posted on: May 30, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 6:01 am
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Report: Buckeye Five were not alone

Posted by Tom Fornelli

With the announcement that Jim Tressel had resigned at Ohio State on Monday morning, it was mentioned that the move came following some findings of a report in the next issue of Sports Illustrated. That report was published on Monday evening. It includes new revelations that the five Buckeyes suspended after trading Ohio State memorabilia for tattoos were not alone. According to the report, it's a practice that has gone on for years and includes at least 28 players.

That support crumbled suddenly over Memorial Day weekend. Tressel was forced out three days after Sports Illustrated alerted Ohio State officials that the wrongdoing by Tressel's players was far more widespread than had been reported. SI learned that the memorabilia-for-tattoos violations actually stretched back to 2002, Tressel's second season at Ohio State, and involved at least 28 players -- 22 more than the university has acknowledged. Those numbers include, beyond the six suspended players, an additional nine current players as well as nine former players whose alleged wrongdoing might fall within the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations on violations.

One former Buckeye, defensive end Robert Rose, whose career ended in 2009, told SI that he had swapped memorabilia for tattoos and that "at least 20 others" on the team had done so as well. SI's investigation also uncovered allegations that Ohio State players had traded memorabilia for marijuana and that Tressel had potentially broken NCAA rules when he was a Buckeyes assistant coach in the mid-1980s.

The report later goes on to name a long list of players who allegedly traded items for tattoos and possibly other things as well. It's also reported that former Buckeye Jermil Martin gave Fine Line Ink owner Edward Rife a watch and four tickets to the 2010 Rose Bowl in exchange for a Chevy Tahoe. As for quarterback Terrelle Pryor, it's alleged that he made upward of 20 different trades -- including game-worn shoulder pads, helmets and game pants -- at the tattoo shop. When an employee asked Pryor how he got all this stuff Pryor responded "I get whatever I want."

Perhaps the most damning aspect of all of this for Jim Tressel was that some of the autographed merchandise that players traded at Fine Line Ink and Dudleyz Tattoo & Body Piercing -- the shop where Buckeyes allegedly began trading items years ago before Fine Link Ink opened -- featured Tressel's autograph.

Dustin Halko was an artist at Dudley'z from the fall of 2002 until early '04, and he says that players regularly visited the shop and handed over signed jerseys, gloves, magazines and other goods in exchange for tattoos. Halko says he personally inked at least 10 Ohio State players -- he clearly remembers tattooing guard T.J. Downing, tight end Louis Irizarry and wide receiver Chris Vance -- and in return he was given autographed memorabilia. (Downing denies ever entering Dudley'z and says that if his memorabilia was there it had been stolen out of his locker; Irizarry and Vance could not be reached for comment despite extensive efforts to contact them.) Halko says that more players, including Clarett (who declined to comment), traded with other artists, and he estimates that at least 15 players violated NCAA rules at Dudley'z just as Pryor & Co. did at Fine Line Ink. Two associates of Halko's who hung out at the shop -- they asked not be named because they fear reprisals from Ohio State fans -- confirmed Halko's account that players commonly swapped memorabilia for tattoo work. One said he saw "at least five" Buckeyes conduct such transactions; the other said "at least seven."

"What they brought in depended on the kind of tattoo they wanted," says Halko. "If it was just something small, it might be a signed magazine or something like that. If it was a full sleeve, they might bring in a jersey." (Tattoos range in price from less than $100 for simple designs to several thousand dollars for more elaborate ones like the full-sleeve inkings of some Buckeyes.) Halko says those working in the shop preferred receiving items with multiple autographs. His most memorable acquisition was a scarlet-and-gray training jacket with between 10 and 15 signatures on it, including Tressel's. Halko says he also traded tattoo work for a magazine bearing the coach's autograph.

As if all this isn't bad enough for Tressel and the Buckeyes, there were also some possible recruiting violations brought up that Tressel allegedly committed while serving as an assistant under Earle Bruce in the mid-1980s.

One of Tressel's duties then was to organize and run the Buckeyes' summer camp. Most of the young players who attended it would never play college football, but a few were top prospects whom Ohio State was recruiting. At the end of camp, attendees bought tickets to a raffle with prizes such as cleats and a jersey. According to his fellow assistant, Tressel rigged the raffle so that the elite prospects won -- a potential violation of NCAA rules. Says the former colleague, who asked not to be identified because he still has ties to the Ohio State community, "In the morning he would read the Bible with another coach. Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel." 

Just in case that wasn't enough, the report also goes into detail on some of Tressel's past transgressions while not only at Ohio State, but Youngstown State as well.

All in all, this is not a report that sheds a favorable light on Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes or Ohio State in general. It's rather obvious now why Tressel decided to resign on Monday morning. Whether that move will cause the NCAA to show the school some mercy remains to be seen, but you have to believe that Buckeye fans across Ohio and the country won't be sleeping well tonight. 


Posted on: March 10, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:12 pm
 

Tressel in trouble? Bylaw history says yes

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This morning's latest story on the Jim Tressel brouhaha from the Columbus Dispatch answers a few pressing questions, such as: who was the infamous lawyer whose name was redacted in the publicly-released e-mails that Tressel elected not to forward to Buckeye compliance officials? Christopher T. Cicero , a former Buckeye walk-on who had formerly represented the tattoo parlor owner (Edward Rife) whose memorabilia purchases from (and tattoo discounts for) current Ohio State players kickstarted the entire mess.

The story also quotes an attorney with an NCAA- familiar law firm who answers the "could Tressel get tagged with a much longer suspension?" question with a hearty affirmative ("In those periods when he had an opportunity and a duty to disclose, he failed to do so," he said. "I think the NCAA could also come back and add failure to monitor or failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.") But the most chilling answer for Tressel supporters and Buckeye fans is what the Dispatch found in regards to past violators of NCAA bylaw 10.1, which prohibits coaches from withholding knowledge potential violations from the appropriate authorities (emphasis added):
Since 2006, the NCAA has sanctioned 27 schools for violating bylaw 10.1 ... Of the 12 coaches involved, only one kept his job . The others either resigned or were fired by their schools.

Former men's basketball coach Jim O'Brien , one of his assistant coaches and former football running back Maurice Clarett each faced unethical-conduct charges by the NCAA. It cost all of them their careers at Ohio State.

Of course, most of those coaches didn't have their university presidents joking at press conferences that the coach had the power to fire him, as Gordon Gee did Tuesday. But all joking aside, that so few coaches have crossed the 10.1 line and lived to tell about it (even at OSU) illustrates why Tressel's future in Columbus is no laughing matter.


Posted on: March 7, 2011 7:48 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 8:05 pm
 

Report: Tressel knew of violations in April

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Remember last December when there was all the hullabaloo about five Ohio State Buckeyes selling memorabilia to Edward Rife, the owner of a tattoo parlor in Columbus? Remember how everyone was all up in arms about those five Buckeyes all being allowed to play against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, and not having to begin serving their suspensions until next season?

Man, those were some crazy times. Thank goodness we don't have to deal with any of that mess anymore. Oh, wait. Yes, it appears we do. According to a Yahoo! sports report, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel knew what his players were up to in April of last year. A good eight months before Ohio State told the NCAA it knew of the situation.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months before the school claims it was made aware of the scheme, a two-month Yahoo! Sports investigation has found.
Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source. However, neither Ohio State nor the NCAA investigated the transactions or the players’ relationship with Rife until December 2010, when the school claims it was informed of the situation by the local United States Attorney’s office.
Ohio State director of compliance Doug Archie declined immediate comment when reached Monday by Yahoo! Sports. Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith were unavailable for comment. The NCAA declined comment.
If this is true, then both Tressel and Ohio State could be in a lot more trouble. Tressel could be charged with all sorts of violations, including unethical conduct and failure to monitor and promote an atmosphere of compliance. Just imagine the fun Michigan fans would have with that following the beating they took with the whole Rich Rodriguez investigation.

In fact, things could be so bad for Tressel if this is true, that failing to report what he knew right away could result in his termination. As is detailed in section 5.1 of his contract which says that failure to report "any violations" could lead to "termination by Ohio State for cause." There's no way to know if things will go that far.

Still, if this report turns out to be true, and the NCAA comes down hard on Ohio State -- though with the decisions the NCAA has made lately, who knows where they'll come down on this -- it's not entirely out of the question. It's going to be an interesting spring for Tressel and the Buckeyes, that's for sure.
 
 
 
 
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