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Tag:Terrelle Pryor
Posted on: May 30, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 5:56 am
 

Report: Significant NCAA investigation of Pryor

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Ohio State football community was rocked early Monday with the news of Jim Tressel's resignation as the head football coach. This may end up being a Memorial Day that Buckeyes fans would rather forget, particularly if star quarterback Terrelle Pryor ends up receiving further punishment for receiving impermissible benefits.

Trouble at OSU

The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday afternoon that the NCAA and Ohio State are conducting an independent investigation of Terrelle Pryor, according to sources close to the situation. The school would not confirm whether Pryor is being investigated, but sources informed the Dispatch that this is the "most significant inquiry to date." Pryor has been questioned by OSU compliance officials before, but after seeing Tressel's tale come to a screeching halt there is plenty of reason for concern in Pryor's case.

Pryor has already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling or exchanging memorabilia for cash and tattoos, so it is hard to imagine any good ending to further investigation. Since that December suspension, more details have emerged that tie Pryor to different automobiles and signed uniforms.

With all the buzz around Pryor, particularly with rumors of more Ohio State related information to be released in the coming days, it is not unlikely to imagine that Pryor may have played his final game in a Buckeyes uniform.


Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Jim Tressel won't be resigning

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If it wasn't obvious before, it's pretty clear now that if Jim Tressel is not the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes next season it won't be because he stepped down from his posiiton willingly. It was reported on Friday that Tressel had hired the former chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, Gene Marsh, to be his lawyer.

But nothing indicates quitting is part of Tressel's thinking right now. And Gene Marsh, the former chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions who has been retained by Tressel in recent weeks, agreed with that sentiment in a brief interview with The Plain Dealer on Friday.

According to conversations with others in the past week, Tressel's intentions, like it or not, are to stay with his players and continue what he sees as his mission at Ohio State.

Which, in my opinion, is incredibly selfish of Tressel.

I've already let my feeling be known about Jim Tressel and what his future at Ohio State should be, writing last week that Ohio State should part ways with its head coach. Then there was former Ohio State Buckeye Chris Spielman who said he would be surprised if Jim Tressel were still coaching the Buckeyes in 2011, and that he also thought there would be "more stuff coming out." 

There truly is nothing good that can come to Ohio State by Tressel refusing to step down. His continued presence may not only bring a harsher penalty from the NCAA -- which Ohio State would deserve seeing as how it never fired him -- but also continued scrutiny of the school. Think of the damage that has been done to Ohio State's reputation in the college football world over the last few months. The worst part of Ohio State's old reputation was that it could win the Big Ten, but it couldn't compete with SEC schools on the BCS stage. Well, after finally beating an SEC team in Arkansas at the Sugar Bowl in January -- a win that itself was overshadowed by Terrelle Pryor and other suspended Buckeyes being allowed to play in the game -- Ohio State has only seen its image become one of a program gone awry.

While talking to The Birmingham News, Marsh said that he thought Tressel's history and record would benefit him during the investigation.

"Obviously, the track record should matter because some people's track records are good and some people's track records are bad," Marsh told the paper. "I was on the committee for nine years. All I can say is it always mattered to me."

Does Marsh mean the track record that former Buckeyes running back Maurice Clarett first tipped us off to seven years ago? Sure, back then we may have brushed off Clarett's comments because of the source, but the things he claimed were taking place at Ohio State then -- free loaner cars, payment for jobs he didn't have to do and payments from boosters -- sure do ring a bit of a bell now, don't they?

Posted on: May 7, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 12:34 pm
 

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's easy to see a headline about Ohio State investigating car deals for its players and automatically assume the worst. Now that the NCAA is already preparing to bring OSU before the dreaded Committee on Infractions for the tattoo scandal and coverup, it's easier to figure that an investigation's going to uncover more bad news.

It's not that simple, though. While this investigation might not uncover any wrongdoing by the embattled Ohio State athletic department or its players, it also might place the very legitimacy of the compliance department at stake.

As the Columbus Dispatch reported today, Ohio State's chief enforcer of NCAA rules is opening an investigation into dozens of car purchases by players and their relatives from two Columbus-area dealerships (both of whom employed salesman Aaron Kniffin), looking for any evidence of special discounts or other impermissible benefits. While it seems like that's a good thing to investigate, seeing the potential for impropriety in large-value transactions, the real issue here is that according to the dealers and salesman under investigation, the deals were already reviewed the first time around by OSU associate athletic director Doug Archie and his compliance department:

Both dealers, whose businesses are not connected, say they routinely call Archie's office when an athlete is ready to buy a car, provide the purchase price and discuss who will co-sign on a loan. Archie said he relies on the car dealers to provide accurate information.

"I'm not a car expert. We have to rely on their integrity and their word when it comes to selling a car," he said. Ohio State runs "spot checks" on some transactions against the Kelley Blue Book value.

Kniffin told The Dispatch that he has sold cars to at least four dozen OSU athletes and their relatives, that the OSU compliance staff directed them to him, and that university officials reviewed all documents before sales were final.

Archie said that he has spoken to Kniffin only once, never reviews sales documents and has not directed players to any dealerships.

Now, this would seem to be little more than a discussion about procedure if it weren't for the fact that according to public records, OSU lineman Thaddeus Gibson "bought" a two-year-old Chrysler for $0 from Kniffin. Gibson and Kniffin both deny that the price listed on the title was the actual sale price, but $0 seems to be what they're telling the government. That's a discrepancy for which the IRS, NCAA, and OSU compliance department are all going to need a lot of explanation.

The Dispatch also found multiple car loans to Terrelle Pryor, including Kniffin's own for a trip back to Pennsylvania for three days. Indeed, four of the six players suspended in the tattoo scandal also purchased cars from Kniffin. Perhaps that's just mere coincidence, and perhaps all four car sales were legitimate and above board. It's undeniable that there's cause for concern, however.

Worse, perhaps there are more questionable transactions yet to be found in the investigation. Perhaps there's not. Only time will tell there, obviously. The fact remains, though, that Ohio State needs to make it clear just how much oversight they were providing with regards to players and their families buying these cars, and how impermissible purchases -- if any -- were allowed to proceed.

There's a very, very bad worst-case scenario here for Ohio State. It's got a lot of ifs, so it's not terribly likely, but it's not out of the realm of plausibility. IF there were special discounts being given out, and IF the compliance department was reviewing sales documents, and IF that office was also directing players to those dealerships, THEN Ohio State would basically have been running a sham of a compliance department. That's a lack of institutional control nonpareil. Again, that's a worst-case scenario, and one that OSU's director of compliance has already denied, but these are the stakes at play here.

That, in fact, is what makes this potential scandal so pernicious: it has little, if anything, to do with Jim Tressel and the previous scandal. Indeed, what was most striking about the allegations levied against Tressel was that they didn't implicate OSU as a whole, leaving open the possibility that OSU could paint Tressel as a rogue coach operating in flagrant defiance of his contract, fire him, and wash their hands of the matter. But here, the possibility exists that players were getting the green light from the compliance department to break compliance rules. That's something that simply firing Tressel isn't going to sweep under the rug.

Again, that's just the worst-case scenario. Ohio State fans had better hope it doesn't come true.

Posted on: May 2, 2011 12:11 pm
 

Report: Buckeyes' Bell suspended for season

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The longest offseason in recent Ohio State memory just got a tiniest bit longer.

According to 247Sports affiliate Bucknuts, redshirt sophomore linebacker Dorian Bell has been suspended for the duration of the 2011 season "for a third violation of the same team rule." Bell had already missed last year's Sugar Bowl victory through suspension and would have missed the season opener against Akron, but will now join head coach Jim Tressel and the "Buckeye Five" on the sidelines for the both the first five games of 2011 and longer.

Bell's suspension won't be quite as damaging as those to Tressel or Terrelle Pryor -- he has nine career total tackles -- but it's not exactly like losing the second-string waterboy, either. Bell had enjoyed a strong spring, putting himself into the mix to potentially start at one outside linebacker position and all-but sealing himself a spot in the regular playing rotation. A former five-star recruit out of Monroeville (Pa.), Bell seemed like a strong candidate to have a breakout season.

That breakout would have been a huge help to his team, too, who saw multi-year linebacker starters Brian Rolle and Ross Homan both drafted Saturday; the unit could use both the depth and star potential Bell represented.

But unless Bell is reinstated, it looks like that Depth and potential will have to wait until 2012 at the earliest.



Posted on: April 23, 2011 8:14 pm
 

Ohio State passing game suspect without Pryor

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Ohio State Buckeyes held their spring game today, and even though the offense "scored" plenty of points in its 59-27 victory over the defense, it was clear that the passing game was far from perfect.

With starter Terrelle Pryor sidelined as he recovers from foot surgery, OSU coach Jim Tressel (at right, looking every bit as unusual in camouflage as you'd expect) made use of four backup quarterbacks in today's scrimmage, with each throwing at least nine passes. Taylor Graham made use of a picture-perfect 69-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Williams to lead all passers with 91 yards, but he was only 4-9 on the day. All in all, the four quarterbacks combined to complete just 20 of 43 passes for 249 yards and four touchdowns -- one by each quarterback.

"We’re all battling hard to make strides," said senior quarterback and putative starter Joe Bauserman, who went 4-11 for 42 yards. "We made some mistakes and there were some good plays and some bad plays."

Kenny Guiton went 5-11 for 43 yards, and Braxton Miller added 73 yards on 7-for-12 passing.

Although the offense had 59 points on the scoreboard, only 40 were points in the traditional sense; the other 19 were rewarded for first downs and plays of 20+ yards. Moreover, those 40 points came against a secondary stretched thin by injuries, as 10 defensive backs (nine on scholarship) were forced to miss the spring game.

The question of quarterback play isn't exactly moot without Pryor around, either; even though he's likely to fully recover long before the opening of the season, he's one of five Buckeyes suspended for the first five games of the season, as is DeVier Posey, the senior leader of an otherwise inexperienced WR corps. Still, fortunately for the Buckeyes, those younger wideouts performed well today.

"We have young guys at receiver and they really came along this spring," said Tressel. "They are starting to understand. First, they have to know where to line up. Then they have to understand what to do. Then they have to figure out how to it against the best guys."

"They’re just out there practicing hard," added Posey. "It’s difficult since they haven’t even been here for an entire academic year yet. The older guys are getting them to understand how everything works here and just leading by example. I felt like a proud dad today seeing three of them score touchdowns."

All in all, there's a difference between "inconsistent" and just plain "bad," and what the Ohio State Buckeyes got from their passing game was inconsistent play. Four touchdowns and no interceptions is nothing to scoff at, after all, even against a depleted secondary. The quarterback battle is still going to take months to resolve itself, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for the Buckeyes as long as those quarterbacks are getting as much practice time as possible.

In fact, the substandard performance may be something of a blessing in disguise if Tressel can use it as an impetus for a strong QB battle through summer and fall practice. Any coach can say a player needs to improve, but when he's got the stats to back up such a statement, there's some extra motivation, and that's the situation Ohio State's in now. Today wasn't a disaster for the Buckeyes, but hopefully it wa a reminder to the quarterbacks that there's a lot of work to be done between now and September.

Posted on: April 20, 2011 11:33 am
 

Investigating Jim Tressel is expensive

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith did an interview with the AP this week about the only thing anybody would really want to talk to Gene Smith about these days: the NCAA investigation of Jim Tressel. Smith happily obliged, and while he didn't give a lot of new information, he did put some new information out there. Like the fact that the $250,000 the school fined Tressel isn't even going to cover the investigation currently being held into Tressel.

"It'll probably eat up the whole $250 (thousand)," Smith told the AP. "I'm not sure. We haven't done any projections."

Smith said that if that's indeed the case, the school will likely dip into the money it got from Ohio State's Sugar Bowl victory to foot the rest of the bill. Which is somewhat fitting since that's the game where this whole controversy involving five Ohio State players, including Terrelle Pryor, really took off. The players had all been suspended by the NCAA for selling their gold pants and other items, along with getting some free tattoos, yet were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl anyway.

Of course, since then, things have only gotten worse for Ohio State, as we found out that Tressel sat the information for months, as he found out about his players' deeds in April 2010. 

As for the disasterous press conference Ohio State held regarding Tressel after Yahoo! broke the story, the one in which school president Gordon Gee said he hoped Tressel "doesn't dismiss me," Smith said he wished things could have gone better. He also said he would have done a number of things differently, which anyone who saw the press conference can tell you, is not surprising. 

Smith also said that the cost of the current investigation is not the only thing he isn't sure of just yet as well. As far as when the investigation will be completed, Smith doesn't know when it will be resolved. "It's just hanging."

Posted on: April 11, 2011 2:16 pm
 

Don't put much faith in Pryor/NFL Draft rumors

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's a tough time to be an Ohio State Buckeyes fan right now. Not only do you have to deal with the latest fiasco involving head coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeye Five, but there's also the fact that once the season starts, neither Tressel or the Buckeye Five will be available for the first five games of the season. That means no Terrelle Pryor, no Dan Herron, no DeVier Posey and no head coach. Of course, while all this is going on, there's also the age-old tradition of kicking someone while they're down, and that seems to be the case with Ohio State these days.

The latest incident comes from the National Football Post's Dave Miller, who is reporting that, according to a source, Terrelle Pryor is considering leaving Ohio State to enter the NFL's supplemental draft rather than serve his suspension.

The dual-threat signal caller has not dismissed the idea of going the NFL Supplemental Draft route. According to a source, the odds of Pryor staying for his senior season are about 60-40, but Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd coming out and declaring for the supplemental draft would have a direct effect on his decision. Of course, Floyd dodged suspension by the school’s Residence Life committee after being arrested for DUI. However, head coach Brian Kelly suspended his star receiver for the foreseeable future.

Ah, yes, "a source" who says there's a "60-40" chance he could leave. Which leads to a whole lot of room for error should Pryor not leave Ohio State. After all, there's a 40% chance he won't! So if I were an Ohio State fan, I wouldn't get too worried about this story, especially in light of this tweet from Adam Jardy of the Buckeye Sports Bulletin.

Also, if that's not enough to squash any fears you may be having about Pryor's Ohio State career, there's more. While the National Football Post is an NFL website that has a good handle on NFL matters, it's track record with college stories isn't as strong. As Matt Hinton of Dr. Saturday points out, the last time the site ran a story about a college player entering the draft, it was this story about Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.

According to that report, Bradford was going to declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft following Oklahoma's bout with Florida in the 2009 BCS Championship. A week later Bradford announced he was returning to Oklahoma.

So don't lose any sleep, Buckeye fans.

Posted on: April 1, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Friday Four Links (and a cloud of dust), 4/1

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.


FOUR LINKS ...

1. National champions Auburn might not have enjoyed the HBO expose that aired this week, but they got plenty of love from more official channels, with the Alabama state House honoring Gene Chizik with a resolution and Cam Newton getting similar treatment from the legislature in his home state of Georgia. But for Auburn fans, the biggest honor of the week was the news that NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip will be driving this car at Talladega April 17 to commemorate the Tigers' achievement:



2. Sounds like Florida's going to have a friend in the broadcast booth this year as Jon Gruden attended Will Muschamp's first Gainesville coaching clinic and called the Muschamp-Charlie Weis coaching tandem "the best in college football." Also in attendance despite the rumors that he and Muschamp had not always seen eye-to-eye in Austin: former Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis.

3. You may have seen this already:



Even if you haven't, you know that there is only one coach who would put up a motivational chart with a "World of the Uninvested" and a "Circle of the Untrustables." Houston Nutt explains the chart and its genesis to the Clarion-Ledger here.

4. Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen doesn't sound like he's bearing any real grudge towards former head coach Dan Hawkins and his son, fellow (ex-)quarterback Cody Hawkins, but he does say Hawkins the Elder's handling of his son did include "a little nepotism." Which is why the whole situation sounds more than a little awkward.

... AND THE CLOUD

Jimbo Fisher is asking fans for their prayers and thoughts as his son Ethan battles an undisclosed health issue ... Former Texas Tech running back and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal guest columnist Baron Batch has a pretty amazing story to tell ... After $100,000 raises for each, Alabama coordinators Kirby Smart (defensive) and Jim McElwain (offensive) are earning a combined $1.36 milllion ... Speaking of contracts, Mike Locksley has renegotiated his New Mexico deal in a fashion that makes it easier for both parties to part ways ... Two reserve linemen for Michigan State have been knocked out of spring practice (and maybe longer) with injuries ... Marcus Davis, a backup safety at Oregon who'd transferred from Texas, has left the Duck program ... Colorado reported one secondary violation to the NCAA from their recent recruiting cycle, but since it's for feeding the 10-year-old brother of a visiting recruit, we doubt they're too ashamed about it ... Mississippi State has a new announcer for their radio broadcasts, always a big deal anywhere college football's a big deal ... Joe Bauserman is taking the first-team snaps at Ohio State quarterback while Terrelle Pryor recovers ... And here's video of Notre Dame's quarterbacks donning a helmet-cam for practice. Thus the indomitable sprit of the World League of American Football lives on.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com