Before the ink is even dry on the tattoo investigation against Ohio State football players allegedly receiving free tattoos for autographed items- six Buckeyes have been suspended for the first five games of next season for a different “improper benefits” NCAA investigation.
The suspensions do not effect the players eligibility for the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas. The suspensions also do not address the tattoo investigation and allegations.
Starting quarterback Terrell Pryor, leading rusher Dan Herron, leading receiver Devier Posey, starting left tackle Mike Adams and starting defensive end Solomon Thomas are suspended for the first five games next season for receiving improper benefits. All five must must make restitution to a charity for the amount of the benefits, which range between $1,000 and $2,500. Jordan Whiting was suspended for one game.
NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon said in a statement, “these are significant penalties based on findings and information provided by the University.”
The NCAA statement also said the players would not be suspended for the Sugar Bowl because the players, “…did not receive adequate rules education…” and because there was not, “…any competitive advantage related to the violations.”
Pryor had sold his Big 10 championship ring as well as two awards he had received for approximately $2,500. Adams sold his championship ring and must pay $1,000 to charity. Herron sold his uniform and must pay $1,150. Posey must make retributions of $1,250 and Solomon $$1,505.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said at a news conference that, “our office is working on appeal things,” and little else about the tattoo allegations.
If any of the players leave school early for the NFL draft they would face no penalties. At the news conference Tressel was not sure if any of the players had filed the necessary paperwork that indicates an interest that could lead to applying for the draft.
Herron is the leading rusher for Ohio State and there has been speculation he would enter the NFL draft in April.
The first five games of next season include matchups with Miami of Florida and an important Big 10 conference game with Michigan State.
Stay tuned for more breaking information on the tattoo investigation- which is seperate from these suspensions and findings.