Thursday, December 23, 2010

SIX OHIO STATE FOOTBALL PLAYERS SUSPENDED, NOT FOR SUGAR BOWL

Terrelle Pryor is among six Ohio State players suspended next season for receiving improper benefits. (The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
COLUMBUS — Five Ohio State players — Terrelle Pryor, Dan "Boom" Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas — will be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 regular season for receiving improper benefits, the NCAA announced on Thursday.

A sixth player, linebacker Jordan Whiting, will sit one game next season. The first five games of the 2011 regular season include home contests against Akron, Toledo, Colorado and Michigan State, with a road game at Miami (Fla.) in between.

All of the aforementioned players will be available to play in the Sugar Bowl next month.

"These are significant penalties based on findings and information provided by the university," NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, Kevin Lennon said.

The standard protocol in cases similar to Ohio State's is a four-game suspension, or 30-percent of the season. However, the NCAA added a game because the players didn't immediately disclose the violations.

"Once a student-athlete understands a violation has occurred, they must immediately come forward to report it," Lennon said. "That did not happen, so the additional one-game penalty was imposed."

The players must also repay money and benefits ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 to charity.

Ohio State director of athletics Gene Smith said the athletics department takes blame for not doing a sufficient job in years past expressing to the student-athletes the importance of not selling items they have received from the university.

"We were not as explicit with our student-athlete education as we should have been in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years regarding the sale of apparel, awards and gifts issued by the athletics department," Smith said. "We began to significantly improve our education in November of 2009 to address these issues.

"After going through this experience, we will further enhance our education for all our student-athletes as we move forward."

Ohio State will appeal the decision to the NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, an independent committee comprised of representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic conferences.

The committee can reduce or remove the suspensions, if they rule in Ohio State's favor.

The penalties issued — outside of missing the first five games of the 2011 season — include ...

— Terrelle Pryor: repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten Championship ring, a 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants.

— Boom Herron: repay $1,150 for selling his football jersey, pants and shoes for $1,000 and receiving discounted services worth $150.

— Mike Adams: repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 Big Ten Championship ring.

— DeVier Posey: repay $1,250 for selling his 2008 Big Ten Championship ring for $1,200 and receiving discounted services worth $50.

— Solomon Thomas: repay $1,505 for selling his 2008 Big Ten Championship ring for $1,000, his 2008 Gold Pants for $350 and receiving discounted services worth $155.