One day after a Lantern story on the OSU Compliance Department's quick action against a convicted sex offender's repeated interactions with former, current and prospective Ohio State athletes, star linebacker recruit Alex Anzalone has abruptly rescinded his commitment from Urban Meyer's 2013 class.
As first reported by Irish Sports Daily and then Mike Farrell from Rivals, Anzalone's decommitment comes less than two weeks removed from his attendance at the OSU Spring Game.
There is no evidence (yet) that Anzalone's decommitment is related to photos or his interactions with Charles Eric Waugh, the aforementioned sex offender who has tweeted and pursued photos with numerous Buckeyes, but the timing of his announcement is suspicious to say the least.
More news as it emerges. Apologies for the icky gray box - we hadn't had one for quite some time.
UPDATE (8:01pm): Anzalone's hometown paper on his decommitment. It sounds as though the family was never on board and the photo that surfaced of Alex with a convicted sex offender was the nail in OSU's coffin.
UPDATE (9:10pm): Ohio State has released a statement:
Statement from The Ohio State University Dept. of Athletics:
The issue surrounding the individual from Kentucky is being treated by the Department of Athletics as a student-athlete welfare issue. When the University became aware that this individual had been seen in pictures – taken in public places – with student-athletes, proactive precautions were taken and the Department of Athletics alerted more than 1,000 Ohio State student-athletes about this person. The email message also reminded them of the negative implications that can be realized through simple associations on social networking sites. This individual is not associated with Ohio State. He is not a booster. He has not engaged in any activities on behalf of the University. The Department of Athletics will continue to monitor this issue and it will remain proactive in its efforts with regard to precautions for its student-athletes.
The statement went on to include the full text of the email sent to student athletes, which alerted them to the situation and provided links to block users on Facebook and Twitter.
UPDATE (11:02pm): ESPN is on the case with some interesting quotes from Anzalone's father:
"His father said he might even still consider the Buckeyes.
"It's a possibility," Sal Anzalone said. "Things change. You can't hold them responsible for other people's behavior."