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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
OSU: Pryor ineligible, banned five years

By Adam Rittenberg

Here's the final odd twist in a college career full of them ...

Ohio State on Tuesday declared Terrelle Pryor ineligible for the 2011 season and banned the former starting quarterback from associating with the program for five years.

Terrelle Pryor
Ohio State's letter declaring Terrelle Pryor ineligible is good news for Pryor and agent Drew Rosenhaus.
The school's decision was exactly what Pryor wanted.

Pryor's attorney Larry James asked Ohio State for a letter stating that the quarterback wouldn't have been eligible for the entire 2011 season, rather than just suspended for the first five games for selling memorabilia items to Edward Rife. In order to be eligible for the NFL's supplemental draft, Pryor needed to show that his circumstances with Ohio State had changed significantly after the Jan. 15 deadline to apply for the NFL's regular draft.

Ohio State's declaration Tuesday certainly qualifies as changed circumstances.

The NCAA launched a new investigation into Pryor and his car usage while at Ohio State around the time of Jim Tressel's resignation as coach. Pryor's failure to cooperate with the NCAA's investigation led to him being declared ineligible as well as the five-year ban from the program. As James told the Associated Press, failing to cooperate with an NCAA investigation is "the death knell" for a player's eligibility.

Then again, if he knew he was leaving Ohio State and had hired an agent (Drew Rosenhaus), what incentive did Pryor have to cooperate? Ohio State, meanwhile, likely faces no repercussions from declaring Pryor ineligible for this reason.

The ban prohibits Pryor from using Ohio State's athletic facilities or receiving free tickets to games from coaches, players or alumni. The only association Pryor can have with Ohio State athletics -- as athletic director Gene Smith wrote in the letter James requested -- is the use of tutoring facilities should he return to complete his degree.
"I have appreciated your willingness in the past to consent to lengthy interviews by the institution and the NCAA, and to provide certain financial records," Smith said in the letter. "I was disappointed to learn from your attorney that as of June 7, 2011, you have chosen not to interview [any more] with the representatives of the NCAA and the Ohio State University.
"In light of that decision the university must declare you ineligible for intercollegiate competition because you failed to cooperate with the university in violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1 [which requires, among other things, cooperation and forthright, honest answers]. In addition, due to that failure to cooperate, the university must disassociate you from its athletic program for a period of five years."

Although Pryor has to be pleased with the decision in the short term, being persona non grata around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center has to sting a bit. Many former Ohio State players return to Columbus to work out in the NFL offseason -- there were a ton who showed up this spring during the lockout.

I wouldn't expect to see Pryor in Columbus any time soon. But his path to an NFL training camp now appears to be clear.