2007-09 Buckeye Disputes ‘I Didn’t Know’ Defense

In its decision last Thursday to allow five Ohio State football players to play in the Sugar Bowl - despite suspending the same players for five games each for the 2011 season - the NCAA cited the fact that the players did not know they were breaking NCAA rules when they sold Ohio State player-only items to Columbus tattoo parlor owner Edward Rife.

Thaddeus Gibson: Players Knew The Rules

(Tattooed Gibson was teammates with the guilty players)

From the NCAA release:

The decision from the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff does not include a withholding condition for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The withholding condition was suspended and the student-athletes will be eligible to play in the bowl game Jan. 4 based on several factors.

These include the acknowledgment the student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred, Lennon said.

NCAA policy allows suspending withholding penalties for a championship or bowl game if it was reasonable at the time the student-athletes were not aware they were committing violations, along with considering the specific circumstances of each situation.

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith also made clear during a press conference to announce the NCAA penalties that his compliance staff had fell down on the job when it came to making it known to players that they couldn’t sell such items.

We were not explicit with these young men that you could not resell items that we give you. We began to be more explicit in November 2009.”

On the same day Ohio State and the NCAA claimed OSU player ignorance of the rules, the Buckeye football player with the most tattoos on the team between 2007-09, Thaddeus Gibson, said that Ohio State football players during the time in question were repeatedly (explicitly) informed of the NCAA rule in question. Read more…

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…

AD: OSU Benefits ‘Isolated’; Ex-Buckeye Disagrees

Yesterday Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith announced that multiple Buckeye football players, including Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron and DeVier Posey, had been suspended for five games in 2011 for, in part, receiving extra benefits in the form of tattoos.

Antonio Pittman Tweet: Ohio State players getting tattoo hookups since 2001

During his remarks, Smith said of the situation:

“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, and isolated to this particular instance.”

One former Buckeye football player though disagreed with that statement a few hours after Smith’s comments.

Following Smith’s press conference, ex-Ohio State player Antonio Pittman, who played for the Buckeyes from 2004-06, Tweeted: Read more…