NCAA Notice Of OSU Allegations Released

The next chapter in the troubles for Ohio State and Jim Tressel will be written some time after Aug. 12 when the head football coach and other university officials go before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis.

On April 25, Ohio State released an NCAA notice of allegations detailing what wrongdoing the college sports governing body believes Tressel is guilty of, a list that included little information the university had not already released.

"The allegations are largely consistent with what the university self-reported to the NCAA on March 8, 2011, and which were widely covered in the media," the school said via a release. "The university will continue to work cooperatively with the NCAA during the response phase to the NCAA that now begins, and will have no further comment until the process is completed."

The NCAA alleges Tressel knowingly provided misleading or false information to the NCAA, played at least two players he knew were guilty of potential NCAA violations (and therefore ineligible) and did not inform his employer of the potential violations.

Those were all covered in Ohio State's self-report released March 8 after the university discovered emails Tressel received from a former player tipping him off about players' involvement with a Columbus tattoo parlor owner and conducted a subsequent investigation.

Five players - Mike Adams, Dan "Boom" Herron, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas - have already received five-game suspensions for selling various university-issued memorabilia to the parlor owner, Ed Rife, while a sixth player, Jordan Whiting, will miss one game for accepting three discounted tattoos.

Previously undisclosed was the involvement of a seventh player, identified as a then football student-athlete as opposed to the rest, who the NCAA reports had the most-lucrative relationship with Rife. The player, whose name was redacted in documents published on the school's website, sold his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for ($1,500), his 2008 and '09 gold pants charms from victories over Michigan ($250 each), a game helmet ($15) and a pair of game pants ($30) from the 2009 Michigan game and a watch from the 2010 Rose Bowl ($250). The total value of the items was put at $2,430, and the player allegedly received a $55 discount on two tattoos as well as $100 for obtaining team autographs on two replica football helmets for rife. Rife also gave the player an estimated $2,420 discount on the purchase of a used vehicle and an $800 loan for vehicle repairs.

Ohio State has until July 5 to submit a response to the notice of allegations. That is to include a litany of information about the items at question, the school's history with the NCAA, previous disciplinary action and more, including details about education the staff would have received in regards to reporting potential violations.

The NCAA also requests the school to identify Chris Cicero, the former player who tipped off Tressel to the involvement of Posey and Pryor with Rife in April 2010, and Ted Sarniak, a businessman in Jeannette, Pa., and a mentor of Pryor.

Upon receiving Cicero's first message, Tressel contacted Sarniak.

The school must also explain its relationship with Rife, if any exists, and a copy of the letter from the US Department of Justice in December that first made university officials (aside from Tressel) aware of the players' dealings with Rife.

Tressel, university president E. Gordon Gee, director of athletics Gene Smith, faculty representative John Bruno and director of compliance Doug Archie are expected to appear before the infractions committee in August.

The notice confirms Smith's previous assertion that the case against the current players is closed, stating that the eligibility of those individuals will not be affected by the Committee on Infractions' findings.

According to a cover letter from NCAA vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach, Ohio State could still be hit with a repeat-offender tag as the alleged violations occurred within five year of March 8, 2006, when the university was previously found in violation of NCAA rules.

At that time, the football team was punished for quarterback Troy Smith's accepting $500 from a booster and men's basketball coach Jim O'Brien paid a recruit $6,000.

At the Aug. 12 hearing, Ohio State can dispute any of the NCAA's findings, but that sounds unlikely given the school's public response to the notice of allegations.

The final ruling will come down from the college sports governing body at some time after the hearing.


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