Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Pryor had role in OSU player payments
By Adam Rittenberg
The Columbus Dispatch tracked down the Ohio State booster who played a role in payments provided to three Buckeyes players at a charity fundraiser in February.
Robert "Bobby" DiGeronimo told the newspaper that he accepts responsibility for the $200 payments given to Jordan Hall, Travis Howard and Corey Brown that led to their suspensions from the NCAA. The three players sat out Ohio State's first two games before the NCAA reinstated them Tuesday.
The money was meant as reimbursement for travel expenses to the event, held in Independence, Ohio.
Now here's the twist:
DiGeronimo confirmed reports to The Dispatch that former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor gave the cash envelopes to his three teammates. DiGeronimo said the money was intended as reimbursement for travel expenses.
"However Mr. Pryor got the money, I take responsibility. I am responsible for those kids coming up here from Columbus," he said. "I handled it wrong. I should not have handled it the way I did."
C'mon, did you really think there would be a layer to Ohio State's recent off-field issues that wouldn't involve Mr. Pryor? Bennett was spot on this summer when he described Pryor as the opposite of the gift that keeps on giving.
DiGeronimo cooperated with NCAA investigators and was relieved that the players were reinstated. Two other Ohio State players who attended the event said they didn't receive any money, although their attendance wasn't approved by the school's compliance office.
This situation seems to be resolved, and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith doesn't think it will have any bearing on the school's more serious ongoing infractions case.