Reports: IRS Inquiry Behind OSU’s Tattoo Issue

Wednesday I reported that a number of Ohio State Buckeye football players had gotten tattoos at the same establishment in Columbus. That information followed up unpublished rumors, first noted by Dave Biddle of on Twitter, that the method of payment for tattoos by OSU football players may have caught the attention of the school’s compliance office.

Ohio State Tattoos

Following my initial post on the subject, FOX 28 in Columbus reported that the school was considering suspending some Buckeye players from the Sugar Bowl game against Arkansas on January 4th. Though FOX 28 did not mention tattoos as the source of the possible suspensions, the COLUMBUS DISPATCH later reported that tattoos were indeed at the center of a compliance inquiry.

Ken Gordon of the Dispatch first linked Ohio State player tattoos and “discipline” in the main media with this Tweet:

Ohio State is investigating possible violations involving players getting tattoos in exchange for autographs. Some discipline likely.

Wednesday night during the Boise State-Utah Las Vegas Bowl telecast on ESPN, Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit noted the Ohio State tattoo issue with Herbstreit reporting that an IRS raid on a Columbus tattoo parlor turned up autographed items from OSU players that may indicate a breach in compliance.

Gordon and Tim May of the Dispatch later added that “law enforcement” may have initially alerted Ohio State to the possible problem:

The probe apparently was the offshoot of another investigation by law-enforcement agencies of possible unlawful behavior by the parlor owner, sources said. During a search for evidence, a stash of memorabilia signed by some current and former Ohio State players was found, the sources said, and law-enforcement officials made school administrators aware of it.

Meanwhile, wednesday evening Terrelle Pryor took to Twitter to clarify the nature of his own tattoo transaction.

Pryor’s Tweet: Read more…

Report: Ohio St. May Lose Players For Bowl Game

FOX 28 in Columbus reported Wednesday afternoon that compliance issues may impact the Ohio State lineup in its Sugar Bowl game against Arkansas.

Terrelle Pryor tattoo

Sources tell ABC6/FOX28 News that Ohio State officials are meeting for a second straight day to consider compliance issues involving high-profile players on the football team.

The issues could impact the players’ participation in the Sugar Bowl.

The COLUMBUS DISPATCH also reported:

Ohio State is investigating possible NCAA violations involving several football players receiving tattoos in exchange for autographs, multiple sources have told the Dispatch.

Sources indicate that some sort of discipline is likely to be handed down, but it is unclear when, or to what extent. It is possible that some players may not be available for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4, but it’s also possible that any discipline could get pushed back to the start of the 2011 regular season.

Yesterday Dave Biddle of broke the news that there could be a compliance issue facing the Ohio State football team thanks to tattoos that Buckeye football players had received.

Excerpts of Biddle’s Tuesday Tweets:

Being told it will be a while until we know a resolution. One source thinks there will be no suspensions. Another one says 50/50.

Good news: Current player and SID deny the rumor. Bad news: Several sources sticking by their stories.

Word is a tattoo artist was giving out free tats in exchange for autographs from OSU players. Again, nothing has been confirmed yet.

Biddle’s Tweets were accompanied by this Tweet from Ohio State beat reporter Ken Gordon of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH:

Public-service bulletin: Tim May & I checking out compliance/NCAA rumors. So far, nothing to report. If something is up, we’ll have it.

May is a reporter for the Dispatch.

Ohio State Players Tattoos

There’s been no official statement released by Ohio State or Coach Jim Tressel on the matter, only unattributed denials to this point. Where the story now stands is anyone’s guess, but in the interim I’ve learned that a good many current Buckeyes have received tattoos at the same Columbus establishment. Read more…