NCAA Sanctions Five Ohio State Football Players

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Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four of his teammates can still play in the January 4th Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, but they’ll have to sit out the first five games of the 2011 season for accepting improper benefits. The five buckeyes were suspended Thursday by the NCAA.

The NCAA says Terrelle Pryor sold items that included his Big Ten championship ring and his 2008 gold pants that were a gift from the university. Other players sold rings, jerseys and shoes and received discounts from a tattoo parlor. Head Coach Jim Tressel says the university should have done a better job educating players about rules against such transactions.

“Well obviously we don’t feel good about the fact that we fell short,” Tressel said. “We’re proud of the way our kids responded to their mistakes. We’re looking forward to making sure that we get a heck of a lot better in every area and this one in particular.”

Terrelle Pryor, leading rusher Daniel Herron, second-leading receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas must sit out and repay between $1,000 to $2,500 to charity. Tressel described the situation as a gut wrenching worse than a loss. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith says the players sold the items out of concern for their families.

“The time that this occurred with these young men, was one of the toughest economic environments in our history,” Smith said. “The decisions that they made they made to help their families. So these young men went into their decision with the right intent. So we feel that there are some mitigating circumstances that we can present.”

That means, Smith said, that Ohio State will submit an appeal.

“While we believe sanctions should be rendered, because a violation did occur, we do believe they’re severe and we do believe that we will be able to submit some mitigating circumstances for the NCAA to consider and hopefully reduce the number of games that our young men are currently being sanctioned with,” Smith said.

The Buckeyes open next season with back-to-back home games against Akron and Toledo before going on the road to Miami and then returning for home games against Colorado and Michigan State.

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