Guy Paying Pryor Hides Buckeye Memorabilia Biz

Tuesday I reported that the NCAA had discovered checks passed from Columbus freelance photographer Dennis Talbott to former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor in exchange for signing Buckeye memorabilia while Pryor was still in school. (At the beginning of each school year, the NCAA has all student-athletes sign a consent form which allows the intercollegiate governing body to access their bank records at any time.)

Terrelle Pryor signed items for Dennis Talbott who sold them on Ebay and through Varsity O Memorabiiia operation

(Top Left Pryor Photo Has Ebay Watermark (Bottom Right Of Image))

Talbott, who was formally banned from associating with the Ohio State football program by the school last year and owns a Buckeye-themed vehicle with the vanity plate “T PRYOR”, was also seen selling autographed Pryor memorabilia on Ebay as recently as three days ago.

Dennis Talbott selling game-used Ohio State player-only memorabilia on Ebay

Using the Ebay screen name “infickellwetrust“, Talbott has since pulled all 250 items he had listed off the website. Among those items was signed memorabilia from Pryor along with game-used, autographed items from multiple former Ohio State Buckeye football players.

In the 48 hours since I reported those revelations, I’ve learned of an additional, stand-alone operation that Talbott has used to sell Ohio State football memorabilia. Talbott calls the business, which is unregistered in the state of Ohio, Varsity O Memorabilia.

Dennis Talbott Varsity O Memorabilia Operation

A current “Varsity O Memorabilia” Facebook page, last updated in April, features some of the product procured by Talbott over the years from dozens of Buckeye football and basketball players. Many of the items seen signed in the Facebook photos came from then-current Ohio State players like Terrelle Pryor and Ted Ginn, Jr. 

Ted Ginn, Jr., Terrelle Pryor signing for Dennis Talbott

In the top-left photo Ginn is seen signing an Ohio State football helmet which may have seen game action while the above Pryor photo features an Ebay watermark in the bottom right corner of the image.

Also seen in the Facebook photos either signing memorabilia for Talbott or posing for photos later autographed by the subject are A.J. Hawk, James Laurinaitis, Maurice Wells, Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Chris Wells, Mike D’Andrea, Troy Smith, Quinn Pitcock - among other former Buckeye football and basketball players.

Some of the photos of Talbott’s memorabilia procurement were taken at officially-sanctioned Ohio State events, so newly-ousted OSU coach Jim Tressel is seen on more than one occasion signing various items for Talbott.

Jim Tressel signing memorabilia for Dennis Talbott

In the montage above, the Tressel-signed photo Talbott was selling on Ebay last Wednesday was identical to the photo Tressel was seen signing for Talbott in the above Facebook picture uploaded on March 11, 2011. A copy of the same signed image was also seen framed in a “Limited Edition” album as part of Talbott’s Varsity O Memorabilia Facebook page.

In one particular “Varsity O” Facebook promotional page photo, the former Ohio State football coach is seen signing a Buckeye football mini helmet. At the bottom of the picture is the web address VARSITYOMEN.com.

Jim Tressel signing memorabilia for Dennis Talbott

The cell phone number listed for Talbott on his photographer media credential for the Columbus-based This Week In Football publication and in Federal and Delaware County, Ohio, court documents matches the telephone contact number for the only person ever registered as owner of the VARSITYOMEM.com website. The site URL, which was first purchased in 2007, is no longer operable.

On August 14, 2007, a person with the screen name “VarsityOMem” posted a promotional message for an Agonis Club of Columbus event in which the Ohio State Buckeyes football team would be appearing.

Dennis Talbott Board Member Of Agonis Club of Columbus

A public records search this week for “Dennis J. Talbott” confirmed that he has served as a board member for Agonis Club of Columbus.

While the extent of the relationship between Talbott and Pryor is not known, at the very least it has now been verified that Talbott was recently - earlier this week - selling Pryor-signed merchandise on Ebay. In addition, I can now confirm that Talbott sold photos and footballs signed by Pryor in 2008.

Terrelle Pryor signed items for Dennis Talbott who sold them on Ebay and through Varsity O Memorabiiia operation

Worthpoint.com, which archives Ebay auctions, has records of at least three Pryor auctions in late 2008 executed by Talbott’s Varsity O memorabilia operation. That unregistered business also auctioned off a signed photo of Buckeye football players Smith, Ginn, Donte Whitner, Jamario O’Neal, and Curtis Terry in 2006, a Wells-signed football in 2007 and an autographed picture of DeVier Posey and Lamar Thomas in 2008.

Many of the photos signed by Buckeye players for Talbott - if not all - were taken by Talbott himself. Until recently, Talbott was granted full media access to the Ohio State football and basketball teams by the school’s athletic department as a photographer. Though, in his work for Icon SMI, Talbott was not paid for his assignments - only for the individual photos he sold to media outlets.

Dennis Talbott selling game-used Ohio State player-only memorabilia on Ebay

It was that same, unfettered access provided by the Ohio State Athletics and Compliance Departments that allowed Talbott to obtain autographs from innumerable Ohio State football and basketball players for many years, which he subsequently benefited from financially and otherwise.

That’s precisely the reason why he was finally cut off from those high profile Ohio State athletes and placed on blacklist by OSU athletic department officials I’ve confirmed as reservd for those officially disassociated from the program.

Follow Brooks on Twitter or join him on Facebook for real-time updates

‘CEO’ Who Ambushed Oden Worships God, Penis

John Canzano of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN introduces us to the trailblazing chap who is apparently so infatuated with Greg Oden’s penis that he thought the rest of the world should share in his obsession:

The man obsessed with Greg Oden's penis, god

The cat goes by the name “Q” and calls himself the “CEO” of the Web site. On his outgoing voicemail message the slimeball imparts, “Give credit to God, and good things will happen for you.”

On Tuesday “Q” explained to me that he felt he was doing a public service by posting the Oden photographs. As if there was redeeming social value in embarrassing Oden and providing some wreckage for sports fans to rubberneck.

Wrote Q in an email: “They were sent to us by one of his jumpoffs. We report the entertainment news like those market aisle mags. The Tiger Woods sex scandals got more and more jump offs, mistressses and girlfriends coming out. Crazy. Celebrities cheaters watch ya’ll back.”

Congratulations certainly are in order for Mr. “Q”. Who wouldn’t want their professional identity for all time inexorably connected to a large black man’s penis?

After watching the video of Mr. “Q” linked after the jump, it all makes sense.

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In Lieu Of Greg Oden’s Penis, A Humble Offering

I picked a helluva day to observe our annual Greg Oden penis photo embargo on SbB. So here’s something to make up for it:

Terrence Cody Senior Bowl Photo

Scouts were disappointed with Terrence Cody’s conditioning on the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl. The former Alabama defensive tackle tipped the scales at 370 pounds.

Fat Hat tip: SI.com.

Speed Read: Men In Blue Know Umping Ain’t Easy

You think that baseball umpires have it easy? Talk to Kerwin Danley. Actually, don’t talk to him today - he’s probably nursing one heck of a headache. Unlike me this morning, it was not as the result of a night of heavy drinking, but from a baseball bat to the back of the head. The DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that Danley was whacked by Hank Blaylock’s broken bat while working the Rangers vs. Blue Jays game, and had to go to the hospital with a possible concussion.

Please ignore the Zapruder film quality (get some video conversion software, people) and prepare to wince at footage of the incident:

Unfortunately for Danley, winding up in the hospital is getting to be a regular occurrence for him. You might remember last year when he took a 96 mph fastball to the jaw courtesy of Brad Penny.

If I were Danley, I’d avoid any home plate assignments for the rest of my career if possible. Or I’d only work from a perch about ten rows in back of home, or wearing more padding than The Michelin Man.

But also: THE KILLER BATS ARE BACK!  I thought we stopped the maple bats’ raping and pillaging of the baseball world last season? Actually, I don’t know if that was a maple bat or not, but why not start the overly-heated, panicked reaction now?

Meanwhile, you might have missed this Washington Nationals bit of news because, well, they are the Nationals, but sluggers Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman were forced to wear jerseys that said “Natinals” during a game last Friday. Which, as you can imagine, was a bit of an embarrassment … for Majestic Apparel, the company that makes all uniforms for MLB. (I can’t imagine the uniform gaffe caused Dunn or Zimmerman to lose their “Natinals Pride”.)

Washington Natinals jersey

So MLB.COM says that Majestic has apologized for the mistake. They didn’t give an explanation for the error, but we can assume it’s because it was a Nationals jersey and no one cared. Apparently the Nationals’ clubhouse attendants didn’t care, since they just checked to make sure the names were spelled right on the back of the jerseys and didn’t look at the front when they opened the boxes before Opening Day. Honestly, you don’t wash those once to make it less itchy?

Finally, you have to wonder about La Salle University’s basketball recruiting process. After all, top recruit Karon Burton was supposed to be known for his speed, which led him to be named Delware County, PA’s Player of the Year this past season. But if that’s the case, how in the world did he, as the DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES says, get caught by a police officer when trying to flee on foot as cops were chasing him as part of a massive drug bust? Either someone’s scouting department sucks, or there’s a cop who should be receiving a recruiting visit.

Karon Burton

But I’m guessing that Burton won’t be getting that scholarship anyway. He was one of 11 people arrested on Monday as part of a two-hour undercover drug sting. Police say Burton ran from a car that had tried to purchase heroin from a cop posing as a dealer, and he tried to ditch bags of pot before being chased down by the cops. But that’s better than the woman who was also arrested in the sting trying to buy heroin and cocaine - with her young daughter in the car seat in back.

  • Another day, another case of a South American soccer match turning into a giant brawl. SKY NEWS says this one in Argentina started after the captain of Guarani Antonio Franco (who I think was dictator of Argentina at one time) bumped into the ref. Here’s the wackiness that ensued:

  • What’s worse than breaking someone’s ankle with a vicious soccer tackle? The BBC has an answer: how about stamping on the player’s shattered leg as he lays writhing on the ground?
  • The CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL says Marshall football player Courtney Edmonson made a basic mistake that many youngsters make when they drink: don’t carry a big bottle of Bacardi Razz Rum around campus.
  • Ole Miss DT Jerrell Powe told police that “he couldn’t read when they came over to his place about a noise complaint. The CLARION LEDGER says that Rebels head coach Houston Nutt is not pleased, especially since he’s had a history of eligibility issues with the NCAA.
  • Manny Pacquiao threw out the first pitch in San Francisco at the Giants’ home game against San Diego. The final verdict: more of a light jab than a knockout punch. Check it out for yourself (but don’t tell me you don’t want one of those T-shirts):

  • Even NASCAR is getting into the “helping the environment” business, with USA TODAY saying that for the first time, they will be using a hybrid as a pace car during the Coca-Cola 600 over Memorial Day weekend. This is what happens when the pinko leftists take over, people.
  • Congratulations, Blue Jackets fans: you got to see the first home playoff game in team history last night, as Columbus hosted Detroit. The bad news: THE HOCKEY NEWS reports that the Red Wings scored about one minute in and never looked back, coasting to a 4-1 win and a 3-0 series lead. But hey, you can show up tomorrow and be there to see the Blue Jackets get swept for the first time in franchise playoff history.
  • The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER has the latest college basketball star to declare for the NBA Draft: Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds, who I believe has been at the school for 27 years.
  • The LOS ANGELES TIMES says that there’s an apparent winner in the USC Trojans’ QB derby, as Pete Carroll has named sophmore Aaron Corp the starter for the spring game and through fall camp. I wonder where Mitch Mustain will transfer to next?
  • Finally, let’s give one last finger wag for Dikeme Mutombo, who the HOUSTON CHRONICLE says suffered a knee injury in the Rockets’ 107-103 loss to the Trail Blazers that Mutombo says is career-ending. And whom was he battling with when his knee exploded? Of course it was Greg Oden - he’s now made knee injuries viral. But let’s honor the defensive beast and great humanitarian by sexing someone tonight.

Which fans are the most obnoxious and overzealous about defending their semi-popular sport?

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It Hurts Greg Oden To Be Hurt; USA A-OK In WBC

Greg Oden is on the shelf again with another injury, but what pains the Portland Blazers star more is the grief he’s getting from the fans.

greg oden depressed

• The Americans make it to the second round of the WBC. U-S-A! U-S-A!

• Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich ran out from the ruined Russian economy just in time.

Amos Zereoue: From Steelers RB to Manhattan bistro runner.

• Which video clip is cooler - a UFC fighter dropping an f-bomb, or a soccer fan having pseudo-sex with a sports reporter?

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Greg Oden Is Just Fed Up With Being Greg Oden

Ever since the Portland Trail Blazers made Greg Oden the top pick of the NBA draft back in the summer of 2007, not much has seemed to go right for the oldest-looking 21-year old in the world. He missed his entire rookie season thanks to microfracture surgery on his right knee, which isn’t the best way to start off a career. Still, Blazers fans and Oden looked to this season as a new rookie year, and hoped he’d help turn things around.

Then Greg banged knees with Golden State’s Corey Maggette on February 12th, and even though team doctors knew that he’d chipped his left knee cap, the Blazers reported it as a day-to-day injury. That’s most definitely not the case, and in fact, it’s more likely Oden will miss the rest of the season. As you’d expect, he’s catching a lot of grief for it, and Oden wants you to know that he’s tired of it.

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Speed Read: Nothing Meek About Wildcat’s Game

We know what you’re saying: “Wait, who scored how many on which team now?” The answer to that is not as significant as the subset in which the points came: A college basketball game in the SEC.

jodie meeks kentucky

That’s right, Jodie Meeks, a junior guard for Kentucky, had the night of a lifetime, dropping a whopping 54 points on the No. 24 Tennessee Volunteers in a shockingly one-sided 90-72 win. Meeks hit 10 of his 15 three-point attempts, helping the Wildcats take control of a game that was still up in the air in the second half. In the process, he set the Kentucky record for most points in a single game. Really. It’s also the most points scored by one player in regulation in a decade, and six teams scored fewer total points on Tuesday night than Meeks did himself.

Not surprisingly, his coach and teammates had some choice quotes about the junior sharp-shooter.

“It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen,” said his coach, Billy Gillispie.

“I wouldn’t be talking at all,” Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson said about Tennessee players who he said continued to talk trash. “My mouth would be shut. Especially when a guy’s got 54 in your own gym. They can talk all they want. Jodie’s shots speak for themselves.”

If you’re like us, you saw the name of the NCAA nightly stud and thought, “Who is this Meeks guy?” Well, here’s some things we should all get to know about the most legitimate single-game college output since Kevin Durant was still wearing orange.

  1. Meeks is averaging more than 24 points-per-game this season, which means we probably should have known about him already.
  2. He was on the 2007 All-SEC Freshman Team and All-America Freshman Team (so we really should have known about him)
  3. He’s from Norcross Georgia (how did he possibly not end up at Georgia Tech?)
  4. Meek’s 24 ppg (before Tuesday’s avalanche) were a stunning improvement from his prior seasons, when he averaged 8 ppg … despite playing fewer than 10 minutes less per game.
  5. While the 54 points were beyond what anyone could have expected, these big busts aren’t unanticipated; he dropped 46 on Louisville at Freedom Hall back on December 20. Guess he really likes playing on the road.
  6. And, like any 21 year-old worth his athletic salt, Meeks already has a fan web site.

Here are the highlights from Meeks’ absurd performance. Grab your popcorn, you don’t want to miss any of it.

The best part about Meeks? His demeanor actually matches his name. There was no jersey-popping after his big night, just honest answers. When asked why his performance was so special, he just dropped this gem: “We just never won here before.” Priceless.

If Kevin Garnett thinks Paul Pierce is Superman, what does that make LeBron James? We ask because LeBron’s triple-doubles have become almost matter-of-fact, with last night’s triple-double — it was just another workmanlike 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists — in Cleveland’s 102-87 win in Memphis almost seemed like an afterthought. With the Grizzlies on the schedule, you actually expected LeBron to drop a triple-double with at least 30 points.

The most amazing thing is that the points and rebounds weren’t even the most impressive part about LeBron’s night. No, that would be his defense, which included an early block that clearly set the tone for Cleveland’s defensive pressure.

Then there are plays like this, which really just aren’t fair.

It’s almost impossible to think about just how significant a cultural factor LeBron will be if the Cavaliers somehow win the title. He’s on the cover of this month’s edition of GQ. He makes his own commercials for Nike. Heck, he’s making the city of Cleveland relevant. That’s astounding in itself.

In fact, LeBron is already such a household name, and his cultural morays thereby tacitly acceptable, that he may subtly do for tattoos what Michael Jordan did for baggy shorts. Think about it. BronBron sports nearly full-sleeve tattoos on both arms, with images swirling into one another. He’s added to his tat collection each season, and it almost seems like a matter of time before the shirts with all of his tattoos start flying off the shelves (remember the Iverson edition back in the day?). By 2020, don’t be surprised if 75 percent of the people you know are sporting tats of some kind, and a lot of that may be due to LeBron, whether we want to admit it or not.

Hey, Buckethead is already a fan, so sky’s the limit.

Speaking of basketball and the (not so) distant future, this announcement seemed to slip past most radars yesterday: Billy Packer and Bob Knight are going to be providing NCAA Tournament analysis for FOX SPORTS from Las Vegas during the opening weekend of this spring’s tournament. And, because they’re in Vegas, Packer and Knight are going to be televising their rants from a casino sports book.

billy packer
(Get thee to Vegas, and quick!)

That seems like a good idea. After all, a sports book is definitely the place to catch all the first and second round action. And all of this would be well and good except, as FANHOUSE delicately points out, for the fact that the NCAA absolutely, positively does not condone gambling on its games.

That’s right folks, FOX SPORTS is openly thumbing its nose at the NCAA, taking a preeminent coach and a recently deposed preeminent broadcaster and having them talk about the tournament from the very site that the NCAA wants to believe won’t touch the games themselves. It’s a little like holding a dieting workshop at the entryway to a Twinkies factory. Sure, Packer and Knight may not talk about the gambling lines, but they’ll be surrounded by them. You might even be able to see them scrawl across the backdrop behind their set.

Just one more incident that proves the NCAA has much less power than it thinks it does. That and that alone should at least give the rest of us hope that eventually we’ll get that football playoff, by hook or crook (smart money’s on crook, sad as it may be).

After last night’s performance, where will Jodie Meeks be picked in the 2009 NBA Draft?

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Porn Producers Make Play For Shiancoe’s Talent

• If Visanthe Shiancoe’s NFL career doesn’t pan out, there’s always the open invitation to join the adult film industry.

Visanthe Shiancoe Bubble Butt BBQ

Carmelo Anthony’s favorite kind of record - 33 in the 3rd.

Vassily Ivanchuk could face a two-year ban for doping - not from the NHL, but from the World Chess Federation.

• Boys & girls playing basketball together? That’s too sinful for our schools!

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Oden Is Headed For A Ricky Williams Breakdown

When Greg Oden entered the league, he was seen as a fun-loving kid who just happened to look 45. Well, now his persona is reportedly matching his appearance, taking a nose dive just when a number of middle-aged stock brokers watch their retirement pension funds go up in smoke. Hey, you’d be pretty depressed, too, if you lost $3 million in a week.

oden with puppy

(Leave Greg and his puppy alone. They’re sulking.)

Oden? This guy should be happy with one of the world’s greatest lives. He’s an immensely compensated professional athlete who lives in a beautiful city that wants nothing more than to love him as he resurrects the franchise. The problem is that, while the Trail Blazers are clearly on an upswing, Oden hasn’t been the catalyst. That’s left the big man more than sulky, according to PORTLAND OREGONIAN beat writer Jason Quick on Portland’s 1080 THE FAN sports radio on Wednesday. Here’s the best pull from what Quick had to say:

I can’t really stand to be around him. He’s such a downer. He’s not a very fun guy to be around and he’s not a very fun guy to talk to. I think his teammates like him, but that guy is not interacting with very many guys in the locker room right now. He can’t let go of being Greg Oden. I think he’s obsessing with all this expectations. Until he starts having fun again playing basketball, he’s not going to get better. I don’t know how he’s going to do that.

That sure sounds like early burnout, doesn’t it?

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Greg Oden Loves Him Some Gossip Girl. Really.

Greg Oden is already known as a quirky big man. He’s eco-sensitive, openly campaigned for the president-elect before he even had the Democratic nomination and is all to happy singing horrible karaoke. Still, new developments may push him right up into the stratosphere currently occupied by only Brook and Robin Lopez: Oden watches Gossip Girl.

gossip girl cast

(Greg Oden’s Monday night: Just add popcorn.)

That’s right, folks. The show that your girlfriend keeps trying to rope you into unsuccessfully is a staple on the Oden television set. How do we know he’s into the New York City exploits of Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf (They had to name a New York-based character Waldorf? Really? They couldn’t come up with something more subtle?)? Well, as THE BIG LEAD first pointed out, Oden brings it up himself in his YARDBARKER blog:

Then in New York i just like it, me and Steve Blake went out to dinner and i got to see some of the places that were on this weeks episode of Gossip Girl.

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