Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Good news you say? Well, it appears as if Ohio State won't be trotting out the Joe Bauserman to Taurian Washington connection in the Sugar Bowl. The bad news: Terrelle Pryor, Mike Adams, Boom Herron, Devier Posey and Solomon Thomas were all suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for NCAA violations. Jordan Whiting was also suspended for the opener.
The NCAA ruled the players would be able to play in the Sugar Bowl because "the student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred". In response, AD Gene Smith said the university will "further enhance" its rules education in the future. The standard withholding condition in cases like these is four games or 30 percent of a season. A fifth game was added because the players did not immediately disclose the violations when presented with appropriate rules education. The players were first ruled ineligible on Monday, December 20th and requested a reinstatement from the NCAA.
- Mike Adams must repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring.
- Boom Herron must repay $1,150 for selling his football jersey, pants and shoes for $1,000 and receiving discounted services for $150.
- DeVier Posey must repay $1,250 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,200 and receiving discounted services worth $50.
- Terrelle Pryor must repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, a 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants.
- Solomon Thomas must repay $1,505 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,000, his 2008 Gold Pants for $350 and receiving discounted services for $155.
Gene Smith called it "severe" and said the university will appeal the decision, but this is not a pretty situation, to say the least.
Adams, Herron, Posey and Pryor will all be seniors next season and all figure to have futures in the NFL, so there's a risk the suspensions, if not greatly reduced, will lead to some players bolting early for the League. Tressel did point out that now would not be the best of times for the players to be "going on a job interview", so we'll have to wait and see.
While all of the charges sting, the fact that players sold Gold Pants is perhaps most damning and will probably go a long way to tipping those that have supported Pryor beyond all of the gaffes and breakdowns in play to the other side, where some were actually looking forward to the Braxton Miller era.
It's also worth pointing out that Dave Biddle was right from the start, as were our sources, with the connection to the tattoo parlor and law enforcement (US Attorney instead of the IRS, though), which Gene Smith confirmed.