Remember last December when there was all the hullabaloo about five Ohio State Buckeyes selling memorabilia to Edward Rife, the owner of a tattoo parlor in Columbus? Remember how everyone was all up in arms about those five Buckeyes all being allowed to play against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, and not having to begin serving their suspensions until next season?
Man, those were some crazy times. Thank goodness we don't have to deal with any of that mess anymore. Oh, wait. Yes, it appears we do. According to a Yahoo! sports report, Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel knew what his players were up to in April of last year. A good eight months before Ohio State told the NCAA it knew of the situation.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months before the school claims it was made aware of the scheme, a two-month Yahoo! Sports investigation has found.
Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source. However, neither Ohio State nor the NCAA investigated the transactions or the players’ relationship with Rife until December 2010, when the school claims it was informed of the situation by the local United States Attorney’s office.
Ohio State director of compliance Doug Archie declined immediate comment when reached Monday by Yahoo! Sports. Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith were unavailable for comment. The NCAA declined comment.If this is true, then both Tressel and Ohio State could be in a lot more trouble. Tressel could be charged with all sorts of violations, including unethical conduct and failure to monitor and promote an atmosphere of compliance. Just imagine the fun Michigan fans would have with that following the beating they took with the whole Rich Rodriguez investigation.
In fact, things could be so bad for Tressel if this is true, that failing to report what he knew right away could result in his termination. As is detailed in section 5.1 of his contract which says that failure to report "any violations" could lead to "termination by Ohio State for cause." There's no way to know if things will go that far.
Still, if this report turns out to be true, and the NCAA comes down hard on Ohio State -- though with the decisions the NCAA has made lately, who knows where they'll come down on this -- it's not entirely out of the question. It's going to be an interesting spring for Tressel and the Buckeyes, that's for sure.