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Monday, May 30, 2011
SI report could impact OSU's 2011 depth

By Adam Rittenberg

We know Jim Tressel won't be walking the sidelines for Ohio State this fall. But who takes the field for the Buckeyes remains very much in doubt.

The most damning part of Sports Illustrated's investigation into Tressel and the Ohio State program is the allegation that memorabilia sold for money and tattoos wasn't confined to the so-called "Tat-5" -- quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, left tackle Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas -- who have been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. The SI report names at least 28 players who allegedly traded memorabilia or autographs for money and tattoos since 2002, including nine players on the current roster.

Ohio State's John Simon
According to an SI report, starter John Simon is one of nine previously unnamed players on the current Ohio State roster who allegedly traded memorabilia or autographs for money and tattoos.
The current players named in the report are: safety C.J. Barnett, linebacker Dorian Bell, running back Jaamal Berry, running back Bo DeLande, defensive back Zach Domicone, linebacker Storm Klein, linebacker Etienne Sabino, defensive tackle John Simon and defensive end Nathan Williams.

Several of those listed are expected to play significant roles this season, most notably Simon and Williams, returning starters on the defensive line. Sabino and Klein are in the mix at linebacker, while Berry competed for the top running back spot this spring.

From the SI piece:
Ohio State's conclusion that only six players broke the rules is based in part on a list of the items the Department of Justice seized in raids of Fine Line Ink and [Edward] Rife's home on May 1, 2010. But that list, which mentioned 42 football-related items that Rife bought, received or acquired in trades from players, covered only a small fraction of what he got from the Buckeyes, Ellis says. "Eddie had storage units all over town," he says, "and he also sold some stuff off to people." (Through Palmer, his lawyer, Rife declined to comment on his involvement with Ohio State players.) Ellis estimates that Pryor alone brought in more than 20 items, ­including game-worn shoulder pads, multiple helmets, Nike cleats, jerseys, game pants and more. One day Ellis asked Pryor how he was able to take so much gear from the university's equipment room. Ellis says the quarter­back responded, "I get whatever I want."

Expect Ohio State and/or the NCAA to investigate these allegations. If the current players are found to have violated extra-benefit rules, they could face significant suspensions for the 2011 season.

Couple this with the new NCAA/Ohio State probe into Pryor and allegations he received cars and other extra benefits, and Ohio State's depth chart could be a mess heading into the 2011 season.

Other key points from the SI report:
So there you have it. Quite a day in Columbus, and not much of a holiday for those of us covering the story.

We'll have much more on the fallout from Tressel's resignation and what's next for Ohio State on Tuesday, so be sure and check in early and often.