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.

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 surpriseĀ  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