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.

Brooks is on Facebook and Twitter.

OSU High School Recruits At Charity Cash Grab!?!

Earlier this week I reported that current Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was at the 2011 charity event hosted by rogue OSU booster Bobby DiGeronimo.

Cardale Jones and Ted Ginn, Sr. at same charity event where Buckeyes were paid by Bobby DiGeronimo

(Then-Ohio State high school recruit Cardale Jones top-right)

Miller signed with Ohio State roughly three weeks before the fundraiser though he had already enrolled at the school when he made the Cleveland benefit scene where Buckeye teammates Jordan Hall, Corey Brown and Travis Howard pocketed cash envelopes from Bobby D. and then-teammate Terrelle Pryor.

The same can’t be said though for current Ohio State prized signee Cardale Jones, one of the top quarterback prospects in the country.

Jones signed with Ohio State last February and was still attending Glenville high school in Cleveland when he was photographed with his high school coach, Ted Ginn, Sr., at the exact 2011 fundraiser that cost Hall, Brown and Howard two games of eligibilty.

Jones is now attending Fork Union Academy and expected to enroll at OSU soon.

Current Ohio State player Christian Bryant was also photographed at DiGeronimo’s now-infamous annual event in 2010 two weeks after signing with Ohio State:

Boom Herron and Christian Bryant at Cleveland Charity Event Where Buckeyes Paid in 2011

(Current Ohio State players Boom Herron and Christian Bryant in 2010)

Like Jones, Bryant was still in high school - and wearing his Glenville High School letterman’s jacket! - when the above photo was taken on Feb. 20, 2010. Bryant in seen in the picture with current Ohio State running back Boom Herron, who also attended the Cleveland event hosted by booster DiGeronimo in 2008 and 2009.

Cleveland Charity Event Hosted By Bobby DiGeronimo Attended by Boom Herron Thaddeus Gibson and Terrelle Pryor in 2009

Ex-Ohio State players Pryor (below) and Thaddeus Gibson (above) were also at the 2009 Cleveland charity event hosted by DiGeronimo.

Cleveland Charity Event Hosted By Bobby DiGeronimo Attended by Boom Herron Thaddeus Gibson and Terrelle Pryor in 2009

(2009 Bobby D. Event photo of Pryor from OSU Student Newspaper!)

Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell has yet to comment on the record about the revelation that Miller, Jones and Bryant were all at the Cleveland charity event where a 30-year OSU booster has admitted to paying Buckeye football players with envelopes containing cash. (Jones and Bryant were in high school when they attended the booster-run benefit.)

Perhaps Fickell just wants to be sure he has his facts straight before he addresses the subject in public.

For that, he can always call his current rep, NFL agent Neil Cornich, since previously the NFLPA-censured (twice) Cornrich was also photographed at the 2010 and 2011 Buckeye benefits host by Bobby D. in Cleveland.

Neil Cornrich and Cordale Jones and Ted Ginn Sr at Bobby DiGeronimo Cleveland Charity Event Where Buckeyes Were Paid Cash

On June 23, 2008, Liz Mullen of SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY reported of the Cleveland-based Cornrich:

An NFL Players Association committee has voted to issue letters of reprimand to nine agents, including veteran agent Neil Cornrich .. for allegedly violating a new regulation prohibiting agents from contacting underclassmen.

Cornrich also reps former Ohio State football stars Robert Smith, Ted Ginn, Jr., Beanie Wells, Troy Smith and former Ohio State head coach John Cooper - with the previous quartet regular attendees of Bobby D.’s Cleveland charity events.

Neil Cornrich and Christian Bryant and Boom Herron at Bobby DiGeronimo Cleveland Charity Event Where Buckeyes Were Paid Cash

Oh, Cornrich is new Ohio State assistant coach Mike Vrabel’s agent too.

Handy.

Brooks is on Twitter, Facebook and at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

NCAA Report: Prized Ohio St. QB At Charity Event

EXCLUSIVE: In his Ohio State debut against Akron two weeks ago, freshman Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller passed for 132 yards and a touchdown in OSU’s 42-0 shutout of the Zips.

OSU NCAA Report included Braxton Miller and Nathan Williams at charity event where 3 Buckeyes took cash

After the game, Ohio State head coach Luke Fickell was asked if he planned to continue both playing Miller and fellow quarterback Joe Bauserman, who started against the Zips.

We know we need them both, and I think that’s the most important thing. Those guys work great together. They’re not going to be distracted by the things that are outside and all the outside influences. We know we’re going to need them both. We’re just going to give them all the ability to put them in situations and see how they handle it, and still continue to let them compete. They know we have confidence in them, but they’re willing to work together and we’ll see how it grows.

Seven days later against Toledo at Ohio Stadium, Miller failed to play a down. After the game, Fickell was asked why the highly-touted quarterback remained on the sideline - and if an injury was the reason:

We don’t have any regrets. I don’t think we are going to look back and regret it. Obviously you look back every week, and try to find ways that you can get better, but Braxton was dinged up a little bit, practiced more so on Thursday and a little bit on Wednesday, but you know, we had a plan going in that maybe it didn’t quite happen exactly how you do.

You’ve kind of got to adjust on the run. And you know, we are not going to look back on it. We know that most importantly, we’ll make sure that those guys mind are right and they understand the situation we are in. We communicated with them so that there’s no guesswork involved and to me the most important thing is that they can stay focused and move forward and not dwell upon the past.

Moments later at the presser, Fickell was asked, “Just to clarify on Braxton, his health did play a role in the decision on Saturday?

Fickell:

I didn’t say that. I said that he was dinged up a little bit early in the week and we had a plan going in, maybe we adjusted the plan a little bit, but most important thing is that, hey, we’re all moving forward with it. We understand it, those guys understand it. You have a plan going into the game and as long as you communicate with them, we’ll make sure we all handle things the right way and most importantly we have to do what’s best for the team.

Benching Miller wasn’t the only adjustment Fickell made when it came to playing time before the game in question.

Tuesday before the Toledo game, Fickell indicated Ohio State players Jordan Hall, Travis Howard and Corey Brown would likely be available to play after serving a one game suspension for taking envelopes containing cash at a Cleveland charity event last February. But the Friday before the game at Ohio Stadium against the Rockets, the NCAA released a statement blocking the reinstatement of the trio.

A day later - to the surprise  of many - Miller took the same number of snaps against game as Hall, Howard and Brown did: zero.

In its original report to the NCAA detailing the violations committed by the aforementioned trio, the NCAA noted that two additional “current student-athletes” attended the same charity event where Hall, Brown and Howard received $200 each in envelopes utltimately provided by longtime Ohio State booster Bobby DiGeromino.

On [redacted], 2011, five current football student-athletes and two former student-athletes attended a charitable event in Cleveland. Three of the current student-athletes received impermissible monies at the charitable event - a violation of NCAA Bylaw 12.1.2.1.6. Further, a violation of NCAA Bylaw 12.5.1.1.(a) occured since the student-athletes did not receive prior written approval for attending the event this year.

Ohio State also noted in its original, Sept. 1, 2011, report to the NCAA of the two “current student-athletes”:

.. they did observe [redacted] carrying several envelopes during the event.

The two “current student-athletes” referred to by Ohio State in its report to the NCAA - with the names redacted by the the school in its release of the report to the media - are Braxton Miller and current Buckeye football player Nathan Williams.

Williams also sat out of the Toledo game and will miss the Miami game due to a knee injury.

Though I cannot confirm Fickell didn’t play Miller against Toledo because the QB was named in the NCAA report - particularly after the NCAA’s last-second Toledo game blockade of Hall, Howard and Brown - you can’t help but wonder if it was a contributing factor.

Brooks can be reached on Twitter, Facebook and directly at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

2008: Ohio St. Broke Rules at Same Charity Event

EXCLUSIVE: Ohio State football players Jordan Hall, Travis Howard and Corey Brown remain suspended after the school recently reported to the NCAA that the three received $200 each - from envelopes - at a Cleveland charity event last February.

Ohio State Buckeyes, including Branden Smith, broke NCAA rules at 2008 charity event in Cleveland

(Smith in ‘08: Non-compliant at same event Buckeyes were paid in 2011)

As part of its report to the NCAA, Ohio State Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Doug Archie noted:

All of the current student-athletes Incorrectly believed that their participation in the event had been approved by the OSU compliance office, The OSU compliance office did not approve participation in the [redacted] 2011 event, but did approve the same event on [redacted] 2007 and [redacted], 2011. Please note that there was nothing impermissible about the event because It meets the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 12.5.1, but the student-athletes did not obtain prior approval from the institution to attend the event as Is required under the NCAA legislation.

Rusty Miller of the ASSOCIATED PRESS reported today that the NCAA has since responded to Ohio State’s self-reported violations by submitting questions to the school about the charity event in question - and that OSU has since “responded with some answers.

Terrelle Pryor at Charity Event in Cleveland where 3 Ohio State players were paid

(Then-current Buckeye Terrelle Pryor @ 2011 event where players paid)

As Ohio State noted in its report, the current football players obtained clearance from OSU compliance for the 2007 and 2010 annual charity event, but not for the same event that was held in 2008.

Ohio State Players at 2008 Cleveland Charity Event - Noncompliant

(Browning, Wilson (track suit), Rose, Gibson, Lane Broke NCAA Rules in 2008)

Though from photos from the latter charity gathering, then-current Ohio State football players Beanie Wells, Lawrence Wilson, Shaun Lane, Bryant Browning, Thaddeus Gibson, Branden Smith, Nate Oliver and Jermale Hines and current Ohio State player Daniel “Boom” Herron can be seen in attendance at the same Cleveland fundraiser - in 2008 - in which current Buckeyes Hall, Brown and Howard were given cash in 2011. Read more…

Current Buckeyes: New Items For Sale Discovered

Contained in an April, 2010, email exchange between Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel and ex-Buckeye and lawyer Chris Cicero was a detailed inventory of Ohio State player-only items that Columbus Tattoo Parlor owner Edward Rife told Cicero he owned.

Boom Herron Helmet For Sale: Wasn't Listed In NCAA report

From Cicero’s emails, those unredacted items were:

“15 pairs of cleats (with signatures), 4-5 jerseys—all signed by players ..

“9 rings Big Ten Championship ..

“National Championship ring”

Nine months after Cicero’s emails to Tressel, Ohio State - without Tressel’s assistance - self-reported NCAA violations by five football players who provided Rife with items available only to OSU squad members. The players and items reported to the NCAA by Ohio State were:

* Mike Adams: 2008 Big Ten championship ring
* Daniel “Boom” Herron: football jersey, pants and shoes
* DeVier Posey: 2008 Big Ten championship ring
* Terrelle Pryor: 2008 Big Ten championship ring, a 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and 2008 Gold Pants
* Solomon Thomas: 2008 Big Ten championship ring, 2008 Gold Pants

At the time Ohio State announced the NCAA impropriety involving those players, school athletic director Gene Smith said:

“There are no other NCAA violations around this case. We’re very fortunate that we do not have a systemic problem in our program. This is isolated to these young men, isolated to this particular instance. There are no other violations that exist.”

Thanks to Tressel, Smith’s proclamation was proven premature.


In the aftermath of Tressel’s Tuesday admonition that he lied to Ohio State investigators, I made a troubling discovery online today.

Jordan Hall Carlos Hyde Taurian Washington Pants For Sale Online

Ohio State football player-only items previously owned by as many as four current Buckeye players - items not inventoried in the NCAA Dec. 23, 2010 sanctions report - are currently displayed for sale at an online sports memorabilia site. Read more…