Banned Ohio St. Booster Selling Tickets On Ebay

At the time of this posting, less than an hour remains in an Ebay auction for disassociated Ohio State booster Bobby DiGeronimo’s tickets to the Buckeyes-Nebraska game tomorrow - with no bids as of yet.

Bobby DiGeronimo Disassociated Ohio State Booster Selling Tickets On Ebay

(Attendance: Optional)

Earlier this week DiGeronimo was cited for overpaying five Ohio State football players for summer job work. Those overpayments - discovered by NCAA investigators - led to three of the Buckeyes involved, DeVier Posey, Daniel “Boom” Herron and Marcus Hall being suspended for the game in Lincoln.

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Bobby D Speaks; Seen With OSU Rose Bowl Ring

On Feb. 4, 2011, disassociated Ohio State booster Bobby DiGeronimo appeared on WMJI-FM’s “Lanigan & Malone” morning show in Cleveland to promote the charity event which ultimately rendered three Buckeye football players ineligible.

Bobby DiGeronimo with John Cooper after 1998 Michigan game wearing Big 10 Rose Bowl Championship Ring

(Banned OSU Booster Has His Own Championship Ring? Of Course He Does)

DiGeronimo has since admitted to giving three Ohio State players envelopes containing cash at this Feb. 19, 2011, Cornerstone of Hope Gala, which has subsequently led to his own formal ban from all contact with OSU athletics.

During his Cleveland radio appearance, DiGeronimo led off his description of the the event thusly:

“… We try to make this fun, we do about 25 minutes of serious stuff, including introducing all the Ohio State Buckeyes on this current team that’ll be there, last year there was 20 of them. Then Troy Smith, Teddy Ginn, Robert Smith, Mike Vrabel, Tom Cousineau, Doug Dieken, those kind of people show up and give us their support. And we have some great auction prizes …

Among the current Ohio State football players who attended the Feb. 19, 2011, event were Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Hall, Corey Brown, Travis Howard and, as reported only by SbB, Nathan Williams and Braxton Miller. SbB also broke the news that Pryor’s late August testimony to the NCAA was why Hall, Brown and Howard were cited - and suspended - by Ohio State for the DiGeronimo cash grab.

Ironic that DiGeronimo didn’t cite John Cooper as a past or future attendee of the Feb. 19, 2011, charity event to the Cleveland radio show considering the rogue OSU booster’s close relationship with the former Ohio State head football coach. It was Cooper who afforded DiGeronimo sideline and locker room access at Ohio State football games, along with rides on the team plane.

Bobby DiGeronimo with John Cooper after 1998 Michigan game wearing Big 10 Rose Bowl Championship Ring

(Yes, The Photo Is Real. And Spectacular.)

Not to mention an Ohio State championship ring that DiGeronimo was seen wearing in an Associated Press photo in 1998.

In the above photo DiGeronimo, who has also staged Cooper’s annual charity event golf tournament the past two years, can be seen wearing what appears to be a personalized 1996-97 Big Ten Rose Bowl Championship Ring identical to the rings given to OSU players and coaches.

Bobby DiGeronimo with John Cooper after 1998 Michigan game wearing Big 10 Rose Bowl Championship Ring

(Photo Credit: Mark Hall of the ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Here’s a link to a sample of Cooper’s ring - which is clearly the same style ring DiGeronimo was photographed wearing while he attempted to escort the Buckeyes football coach off the playing field following Ohio State’s 31-16 victory over Michigan on Nov. 21, 1998.

If you had had that kind of access to the Ohio State football program - not to mention the accompanying bling - would you throw away that 30 -year relationship by handing $200 to three players who hadn’t yet started a game at Ohio State?

That’s essentially what DiGeronimo claimed he did when he told the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER on Sept. 21, 2011, that the cash envelopes were the only time he’d paid OSU football players. Ever.

Apparently DiGeronimo forgot he paid still-suspended star Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey over $700 for summer job work Posey didn’t do, along with overpayments to four other Buckeyes including still-suspended OSU running back Daniel “Boom” Herron.

So now that he’s officially disassociated from the Ohio State football program - thanks to recent testimony to the NCAA by Terrelle Pryor - will DiGeronimo have to give his Big Ten & Rose Bowl ring back to the school?

As Ohio State gave Pryor, who is now disassociated himself from the school, a 2010 Big Ten championship ring from a now-vacated season, I have a sneaking feeling I am the first - and last - person to ask that question.

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Ohio St: 326 Percent Overpayment “Not Obvious”

Today Ohio State released a statement detailing more NCAA violations involving the football program. In the NCAA-addressed report, OSU confirmed that 30-year Buckeye booster Bobby DiGeronimo, who last month was cited for paying Ohio State players at his 2011 Cleveland-based charity event, also “provided five (OSU) student-athletes wages in excess of hours worked.  While the student-athletes were provided an appropriate wage and performed the work asked of them, the then representative paid the five student-athletes in excess of the number of hours worked.

(DeVier Posey: 326 Percent Overpayment By Booster ‘Not Obvious’?)

As a result of the violations, DeVier Posey, Daniel “Boom” Herron and Marcus Hall have been declared ineligble to play football for Ohio State. While the school has applied to the NCAA for their reinstatement, it’s unclear when the players will return.In the report, Ohio State Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Doug Archie noted “the following mitigation” as it pertained to the NCAA violations by Posey, Herron and Hall:

It was not obvious to the student-athletes that they were being overpaid.  The student-athletes were not told their hourly wage.  According to the controller, no timecards were completed, as a supervisor verbally reported the hours worked to the controller, who wrote the check.  The check provided to the student-athletes did not include the number of hours worked nor the hourly wage.  As a result, while the student-athletes generally understood the number of hours they worked due to their presence at the job site, they did not know their hourly rate and would not have known if they were overpaid. 

Later in the report, Archie provided this summary of payments made from DiGeronimo - via his company Independence Excavating - to DeVier Posey:

Based on employment information provided by Independence as to the amount paid and the rate of pay, it was determined that DeVier was paid for 70 hours of work at a rate of $15.00 per hour. The NCAA Enforcement staff and institution concluded that DeVier worked a total of 21.5 hours at a rate of $15.00 per hour, and therefore was paid for 48.5 hours of work that was not performed (an over payment of $727.50).

OSU’s accounting translates to Posey being overpaid by now-disassociated OSU booster DiGeronimo by 326 percent.

In the second-to-last paragraph of his report to the NCAA on behalf of Ohio State, Archie states:

While the institution acknowledges that the student-athletes were paid by Independence for work not performed, it may not have been obvious to the student-athletes that they were being overpaid

So in less than two pages, Ohio State’s Associate Athletic Director for Compliance indicated to the NCAA:

1)  It was not obvious to the student-athletes that they were being overpaid

2) DeVier worked a total of 21.5 hours at a rate of $15.00 per hour, and therefore was paid for 48.5 hours of work that was not performed (an over payment of $727.50).

3) … it may not have been obvious to the student-athletes that they were being overpaid

Not as obvious - at least as a 326 percent overpayment - was why DiGeronimo wasn’t disassociated by Ohio State until Sept. 20, 2011.

In the OSU report to the NCAA, Archie also attached a June 29, 2011, letter from DiGeronimo to the attorney of the five Ohio State players.

In that communique DiGeronimo detailed the hours the five Ohio State student-athletes allegedly worked for Independence Excavating - hours that were subseqently found to be fraudulent and in the case of DeVier Posey, wildly overstated.

But in the Sept. 20, 2011, dissociation letter from OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith to DiGeronimo, there was no mention of any NCAA rules impropriety involving summer jobs for Buckeye football players.

Why did it take Ohio State six weeks to disassociate booster after letter detailing bogus work hours by OSU football players?

So when exactly did Ohio State find out that DiGeronimo had - according to OSU and the NCAA - exaggerated the hours worked by Buckeye football players? Today’s OSU report to the NCAA doesn’t say - this is all we get:

The institution and Enforcement Staff determined the actual number of hours worked based upon cell telephone and bank records and the student-athletes’ testimony.    

If the NCAA and Ohio State had already zeroed in on the hours worked of those five players -  so much so that DiGeronimo sent a letter to the attorney of the players detailing hours worked of that particular quintet - why the six week delay by Ohio State to disassociate DiGeronimo?

And no announcment until today?

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Pics: Tattoo Guy Also Had 2009 OSU Player Items

On Wednesday afternoon, we broke the name of the Tattoo Parlor in Columbus, Fine Line Ink, where multiple Ohio State Buckeye football players were later confirmed by the NCAA to have sold Ohio State player-only merchandise and received extra benefits in the form of tattoos.

2009 Big 10 Championship Ring From Edward Rife Facebook

One day later, Ohio State officially announced that five Buckeye football players were suspended for five games due to NCAA violations involving Fine Line Ink.

Per the official NCAA release, the violations included the sale of the following items:

Mike Adams: Sale of 2008 Big Ten championship ring
DeVier Posey: Sale of 2008 Big Ten championship ring, 2008 Gold Pants
Terrelle Pryor: Sale of 2008 Big Ten championship ring, 2008 Gold Pants
Solomon Thomas: Sale of 2008 Big Ten championship ring, 2008 Gold Pants

Edward Rife is the man who owns Fine Line Ink and who bought those items from Ohio State players. On Rife’s current Facebook page, several Ohio State football players - past and present - are listed as “friends”:

Fine Link Ink Ohio State Players Facebook Friends

In addition, photos that could be seen on Rife’s Facebook page this week included:

A photo of Terrelle Pryor at Rife’s tattoo parlor showing off the tattoo he got at Fine Line Ink:

Terelle Pryor at Fine Line Ink

An image of DeVier Posey getting a tattoo at Rife’s Fine Line Ink establishment:

DeVier Posey Fine Line Tattoo Facebook Photo

Rife displaying a 2009 Ohio State gold pants charm. (Pryor, Posey and Thomas sold him their 2008 gold pants):

Ohio State gold pants Facebook

Rife displaying a 2009 Big 10 Championship ring:

2009 Big 10 Championship Ring From Edward Rife Facebook

An auction site that specializes in championship rings is currently offering a 2009 Big 10 Championship ring for sale at $3,295.00 with the description:

2009 Ohio State Football “OUTRIGHT BIG TEN-ROSE BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP” **Starting** Player’s Ring

A single pair of 2009 Ohio State gold pants are also available on the same auction site.

2009 Ohio State Gold Pants

Four Ohio State players were cited for selling their 2008 Big 10 Championship rings and three were noted for selling their 2008 OSU gold pants.

But none were cited for selling 2009 Big 10 Championship rings or 2009 OSU gold pants.

Thursday I noted that former Ohio State football player Antonio Pittman Tweeted that Buckeye football players had been getting tattoo “hookups” since 2001. Read more…

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…