Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel was made aware, in April 2010, of the improper benefits given to five OSU players, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.
The NCAA released a statement Dec. 23 officially announcing a five-game suspension in the 2011 season for five juniors — offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, quarterback Terrelle Pryor and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
According to the Yahoo! report, the five players sold memorabilia to Edward Rife — the owner of Columbus tattoo parlor Fine Line Ink Tattoos.
The Yahoo! report said the NCAA and OSU did not investigate the situation until December.
The NCAA concluded that, besides suspending the players for five games, the athletes must repay money and benefits ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, as part of their reinstatement.
In the Dec. 23 release, the NCAA said Adams must repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring. Herron must repay $1,150 for selling his football jersey, pants and shoes for $1,000, and receiving discounted services worth $150. Posey is forced to repay $1,250 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,200, and receiving discounted services worth $50. Pryor must repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, a 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants, a gift from the university. Thomas has to 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.
OSU appealed the NCAA’s five-game suspensions, and no ruling has been made in that case.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, the university was made aware of the Yahoo! report 30 minutes before it broke, and OSU had no further comment Monday.
Yahoo! Sports reporter Charles Robinson, who co-wrote the story with Dan Wetzel, said via Twitter that the university was informed three hours before the article was posted online.
OSU spokesperson Shelly Poe told The Lantern, “No comment that I know of this evening.”
If the Yahoo! report is correct, the OSU football program might face further NCAA penalties for playing ineligible players during the 2010 football season, and for having prior knowledge of the incident before it was reported by the school in December.