- 5 players (including Terrell Pryor, Devier Posey, Dan Herron, and Mike Adams) sold various trophies, including gold pants (for beating Michigan) and Big Ten championship rings, and game-used equipment for a total of a little over $7,000.
- Some players also received discounts on tattoos.
- When the football program became aware of what transpired, they self-reported to the NCAA.
- There was some form of internal, team punishment levied against the players.
- The players have been ordered to return the money they made from the sale of these items and give it to charity.
- The players have been suspended for the first 5 games of the 2011 season, but are eligible for the Sugar Bowl.
These five players are all juniors, and could decide to enter the NFL Draft rather than miss almost half of their senior season. However, with the labor unrest in the NFL, and their uncertain draft value, that is a risky proposition.
There are several things that bother me about this whole situation. First of all, why are these guys selling their gold pants and Big Ten championship rings? Those are items that you can't really put a price on, and it hurts me, as a part of the Buckeye nation and OSU alum, that they would treat our football tradition with such contempt. But I also know what it's like to need money, so I understand why a person might sell such things. I'm not excusing it, I'm just saying I get it.
Secondly, these five players have been suspended a combined 25 games for selling items that "almost" belonged to them for a total of about $7,000. Meanwhile, Cameron Newton's father Cecil tires to sell his son's football services to various schools in the SEC for $180,000 and, for these sins, Cameron Newton receives the Heisman Trophy and a trip to the National Championship Game. Keep in mind that the NCAA, according to its own rules, does not distinguish between a student-athlete and his or her parents, even in the recruiting process. The NCAA's actions are hypocritical at best, utterly corrupt at worst. As many have already said, they are clearly making up the rules as they go along.
Thirdly, a lot of Buckeye fans are calling for these five players to be suspended for the Sugar Bowl and even for Jim Tressel to resign. Seriously? Enough with the sanctimony. They've been punished three times over for what is not a criminal action, but rather a violation of NCAA rules. There were no boosters involved. There were no agents. These were five guys selling stuff they thought they owned to, according to multiple sources, help their families in the worst economy of their short lifetimes. Let me say this again: this was a NCAA rules violation, not a crime. No one can be arrested for this. The punishment they have already received is severe, and some of you want them punished even more? I put it to you that your sanctimonious calls for increased punishment (and even Jim Tressel's job!) is nothing more than a mask for your sense of vengeance, which only rears its head because you have an idolized view of Ohio State football. You expect more character out of these 18 and 21 year old kids than you do from yourself. Enough. You're being a hypocrite. They've been punished enough, and I would even say unfairly, given the NCAA's history of inconsistency on rules enforcement.
Jim Tressel should keep his job. These five players should play in the Sugar Bowl, and not be suspended any games at all. They are paying back all of the money, after all. They have clearly expressed their remorse, and tOSU has done it's due diligence to report everything to the NCAA. They are, in my opinion, above reproach. And I believe, given the circumstances involved, these five players should receive some grace. And I would say that even if they were Michigan athletes.