Booster Sold Right To Dine With Current Buckeyes

On Sept. 15, 2011, 30-year Ohio State booster Bobby DiGeronimo confirmed to Bill Lubinger of the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER that he facilitated cash payments to three current Ohio State players - from envelopes distributed at a Cleveland-area charity event - on Feb. 19, 2011.

Bobby DiGeronimo OSU Rogue Booster Sold Right To Dine With Beanie Wells Buckeyes At 2008 Charity Event

(Private access to then-current Buckeyes available in 2008 - at the right price)

As part of his piece on DiGeronimo, Lubinger reported:

Cornerstone for Hope has held a charity dinner and auction for eight years, raising from $150,000 the first year to $300,000 this year. It draws between 650 and 750 guests. One of the attractions is celebrity guests at each table, including Ohio State athletes.

And years back, when DiGeronimo’s close friend John Cooper was still head coach of the football team, the auction would include an offer to play “Buckeye for a Day” — a chance to attend football practice and meet the players. It brought in winning bids of $2,500 to $3,000.

In 2011, Cornerstone of Hope’s charity auction included autographed - and framed - Ohio State memorabilia items from then-current Buckeye football star Terrelle Pryor and current Ohio State basketball player Jared Sullinger:

Bobby DiGeronimo OSU Rogue Booster Sold Signed Memorabilia From Terrelle Pryor and Jared Sullinger at 2011 Event

(Part of live auction guide from rogue OSU booster’s charity event)

As he reportedly did during the Cooper era at Ohio State, DiGeronimo also sold a Buckeye fan experience at his 2008 event. But this time, thanks to a sign seen in a photo of the Cornerstone of Hope gala in progress that year, we now know DiGeronimo wasn’t merely hawking access to practice.

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

(Pryor, seen at 2011 event, ratted out teammates, DiGeronimo to NCAA)

As seen below, one of the auction items at the 2008 Cleveland-area charity benefit was titled “Dinner with Beanie.” The sign display clearly states that personal access to then-current Ohio State football players Beanie Wells and Lawrence Wilson was available - at a price.

Bobby DiGeronimo OSU Rogue Booster Sold Right To Dine With Beanie Wells Buckeyes At 2008 Charity Event

Ironic that the partly-obscured description of the “Dinner with Beanie” experience sold by DiGeronimo that year also noted the words “strict compliance“, considering Ohio State is on the record in stating that the rogue Buckeye booster’s entire event that year was non-compliant.

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

 (Same 2008 OSU Booster Event Where ‘Dinner with Beanie’ Auctioned)

A week ago DiGeronimo contended to the Plain Dealer that his providing envelopes containing cash to three Ohio State players who, at the time, had never started a game “was the only time players have been paid in the gala’s eight years.

Ohio State Players at 2008 Cleveland Charity Event - Noncompliant

(Some of the Buckeyes who attended 2008 non-compliant DiGeronimo event)

So what’s the odds Ohio State compliance ever investigated whether Wells and Wilson paid for their own dinners - and travel expenses - for participating in the DiGeronimo-germinated Buckeye football fan experience?

Check? Please.

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

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

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…

Ohio State Puts Michigan Out Of Their Misery, 42-7

The last game for RichRod’s first season at the Big House is over and done, and thank God. Ohio State toyed with Michigan much like a cat would do with a dead bird en route to a 42-7 victory.

Rich Rod Sad

Really, though, the game was scarcely that close, as Michigan saved its worst performance of the year for the last. The Wolverines were 1-17 on third down. That is not a typo. Nick Sheridan’s numbers were just as anemic: 8/24 through the air, 87 yards, and of course no touchdowns. He will be sent to the gulag immediately.

Read more…

Brog: Bean’d Up Bucks Still Eye BCS Champ Game

I want to congratulate Jim Tressel for ensuring that his Buckeyes still have a chance to play in the BCS Championship game. Since the pollsters didn’t bury the Bucks (#13?), by holding out Beanie Wells in what now turns out to be a somewhat meaningless game, Tressel’s team will have a better chance to run the table in the Big 10 - and then benefit (again) from the creaking, maddening machinery of the BCS.

Beanie Wells My Foot Hurts Sign

With a healthy Wells, even after Saturday’s SoCal shellacking, the rest of the Big 10 is probably no match for OSU. So long as UGA, UF and Okla. lose, you can almost guarantee the Bucks a return trip to the BCS’ big game (and another rout at the hands of the Trojans). I can already hear people firing up their CPAP machines in South Beach.

USC scoreboard LA skyline

(Right before I called in the airstrike to escape the fourth quarter)

That whole scenario is far-fetched, you say? Then you haven’t been paying attention to the dark ages of a once-great sport. Yes, the pageantry and atmosphere of games like OSU-USC at the Coli is what defines college football, especially when you’re there to experience it first-hand.

My Boy Barry Call 888 820 8499 Barry Buys And Sells Tickets

But Saturday as I settled into my seat at the game (thanks to My Boy Barry), I couldn’t help being pissed about Tressel not allowing Beanie to play.

Safe to say, Wells could’ve beaned up and done more than the entire Buckeye backfield that day. But Tressel & Co. are gaming the BCS to perfection. They know that to risk further injury to Wells would be to eliminate the Bucks from BCS Championship Game contention.

ESPN Promo Girl Smokey Eyes

(Those eyes smoked me out of the ESPN 710 VIP Tent)

Now, isn’t that what the great college game is all about? Sandbagging in front of a hundi-thousand in the most-anticipated college football clash in years?

DEADSPIN Editor A.J. Daulerio spent Saturday with me, and provided the day’s only excitement. On our walk to the stadium, A.J. accidently dropped his ticket. He didn’t discover this fact until he had until we’d walked five minutes down the road.

AJ Daulerio standing on USC-Ohio State ticket he nearly lost

After backtracking about 1000 feet, we found the ticket, still somehow sitting on the sidewalk. (If only the fine citizens of Watts had been more considerate, and prevented us from attending the game.)

Now onward, to some of my fun pics from the Coli collection (Rick Reilly, Billy Bush, anonymous hotties!): Read more…

Novak Knows New York Fans Aren’t Being So Nice

Novak Djokovic jostles with the Big Apple crowd, “Who’s faking it now?”

Novak Djokovic Leryn Franco

But at least he still has Leryn Franco on his side.

• Vanderbilt vanquishes Steve Spurrier & South Carolina yet again, and even pours a little salt into the Gamecocks’ wounds.

• New coach, new players, new attitude - it all adds up to the same ol’ result for the Washington Redskins.

Stephon Marbury apparently isn’t very helpful to his relatives.

• Something’s cookin’ with Vince Young, as the Titans QB hopes you can’t beat his meat.

Read more…

Buckeyes’ Beanie Wells Injured, Carted Off Field

Ohio State Heisman hopeful Chris “Beanie” Wells was carted off the field with a foot injury during the third quarter of the Buckeyes’ 43-0 win in their season opening game today with Youngstown State. With OSU near the goal line for yet another score, their star running back fumbled a hand off and fell to the ground holding his right foot.

Beanie Wells

The Buckeyes who were a favorite by many to get to a third straight BCS Championship Game in January may have seen their championship dreams vanish in August.

Ken Gordon who is live blogging for the COLUMBUS DISPATCH wrote, “Ohio Stadium went deathly quiet as Wells writhed in pain, holding his right foot. It appeared he hurt it when he planted his foot to cut, it looked like he was hurt before getting hit.”

Read more…