Clarett didn’t sink Ohio State and Jim Tressel, but Pryor did

Maurice Clarett after snatching back a Miami interception in the Fiesta Bowl. (AP photo)

Maurice Clarett after snatching back a Miami interception. (AP photo)

Ohio State got away with one high-profile recruit who was trouble. Maurice Clarett won the Buckeyes a BCS title and stamped Jim Tressel, two years removed from Youngstown State, as the hottest coach in the land. Ohio State upset Miami in overtime in January 2003 — the freshman Clarett scored the winning touchdown — and the program of Woody Hayes and Hopalong Cassady and Archie Griffin was again No. 1.

Clarett never played another collegiate down. He wound up leaving school after filing a false police report. (It involved a car he’d borrowed from a Columbus dealership.) In 2006 he landed in jail after pleading guilty to charges including armed robbery.

Clarett was trouble, but from an OSU standpoint he was worth it: He lifted the Buckeyes to a championship and didn’t get the program on NCAA probation in the process. In the merciless world of big-money football, that constitutes a victory. And if he went on to mess up his life … well, Buckeye Nation would always have the Fiesta Bowl.

Clarett was USA Today’s 2001 high school offensive player the year. In 2007, Terrelle Pryor won the same award. He signed with Ohio State — more than a full month after Signing Day 2008 — over Michigan and Penn State. On Tuesday he announced he was leaving school. He’d helped win a couple of big bowls (the Rose and the Sugar) but no BCS title. He’ll be remembered as the man who brought Tressel low.

Yes, there were others involved in the gear-for-tattoos case, and yes, Tressel could have saved himself had he told superiors what he’d heard when he heard it. But Pryor was the biggest man on the big campus from the moment he arrived, same as Clarett had been. The Buckeyes brought dishonor on themselves by allowing Pryor and four other players — all of whom had been assessed five-game suspensions — to participate in the Sugar Bowl, but hey, the Ohio State University had grown sick and tired of losing to SEC opposition.

Terrelle Pryor: Goodbye, Columbus. (AP photo)

Terrelle Pryor: Goodbye, Columbus. (AP photo)

On cue, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported Tuesday that a “former friend” said Pryor had made “between $20,000 and $40,000″ autographing memorabilia. (A.J. Green obviously was undercharging.) The Columbus Dispatch had already reported that the NCAA was investigating the cars driven by Pryor and other Buckeyes. (Yep, cars again.) And the Dispatch has reported that Tressel, who waited to share his knowledge of gear-for-tattoos with his bosses, nonetheless engaged in a telephone and text-messaging dialogue with a Pennsylvania businessman known as Pryor’s mentor.

One big-name recruit lifted Jim Tressel into the pantheon of championship coaches. Another big-name recruit was at the center of a storm that swept Tressel away. I’d call that a cautionary tale.

By Mark Bradley

174 comments Add your comment

Jay Dorkman is an idiot

June 8th, 2011
10:33 am

What’s funny about all of this is it won’t change the fact that UGA sucks at football.

ted williams head

June 8th, 2011
10:35 am

difenitely a cautionary tale but it wont be long before it happens somewhere else

DawginLex

June 8th, 2011
10:37 am

All of us Dawgs complain about Mark May being anti-UGA since he has never gotten over 1980 and the belief that Pitt was better than us.

However, he hit the nail on the head regarding Pryor. If you recall Pryor’s recruitment, he delayed commiting to OSU and affected 6 other recruits. May called hi selfish and said he would always be a problem at OSU.

He nailed it didn’t he?

UGA

June 8th, 2011
10:38 am

this is so auburn 2012

Harrison

June 8th, 2011
10:39 am

This is like SMU situation all over again, but the NCAA doesn’t have the cojones to give the Death Penalty, especially to a team that they generates so much money annually. God forbid if this was a “mid-major,” the NCAA would bring the hammer down on them. Such hypocrisy.

PMC

June 8th, 2011
10:40 am

If they had a functioning compliance department that did it’s job these would be secondary violations that wouldn’t amount to anything like they were so many times before with Clarett…Troy Smith etc etc.

Everyone knows this goes on at every school without exception that is successful and or wildly popular at football. The compliance department is what allows the coach plausable deniability and or ensures that the violations are not rampant. They were at Ohio State. They were in the open and there is a paper trail.

I am sad for the fans and alumni that they had a dirty coach a non functioning compliance department and a culture of non compliance but at least they got to enjoy winning the last 10 years I guess.

NoGaGator

June 8th, 2011
10:40 am

Mark- OSU sunk themselves.

OSU has a compliance staff of 6 people. How can an outside reporter from SI come into town and, in a very short timeframe, uncover all the stuff that’s in the SI article?

This kind of stuff has been going on for years at that school with everyone working hard to look the other way – just like Tressel. He’d introduce players to unsavory boosters and would later claim he didn’t know anything about violations.

C’mon Mark, the adults fostered the behavior, the kids took advantage and then everyone looked the other way.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

June 8th, 2011
10:41 am

Where is Ohio Sate and who cares? As far as tattoos, nobody comes close to us when we want to get tattooed right. Tattooing is something that is expected here now and it may even be necessary for me to get a tattoo if I am going to be accepted by the players. You’ll see me wearing my gold chain at the home opener.

PMC

June 8th, 2011
10:43 am

I should have said any money sport, and even then some depending on the alumni.

The rules regarding selling your own likeness/signature/property for athletes need to be changed immediately.

It wouldn’t stop much of the lying and decit that in this case was what ultimately and correctly brought down the Buckeyes but it’s ridiculous one can’t sell ones own property.

Jay Dorkman is an idiot

June 8th, 2011
10:43 am

GT Trumpet

June 8th, 2011
10:45 am

As a college student I must admit…if I somehow legally or illegally got $40,000 for something I would be set for almost 2 years with that money on my current budget. How much does Pryor need???

Jay Dorkman is an idiot

June 8th, 2011
10:46 am

“this is so auburn 2012″

Why are dawg fans so obsessed with Auburn? Oh, that’s right, Auburn beat the living crap out of them last year.

You UGA fans can keep hoping and wishing for Auburn to fall, but it won’t happen. The NCAA has investigated for many many months now and nothing, I repeat NOTHING, has come of it.

Fact: UGA went 6-7 in 2010
Fact: UGA won the Fulmer Cup.
Fact: UGA hasn’t been relevant since 1980.
Fact: UGA is on the decline.

FACT: Auburn won the BCS Championship.

Get over it puppy dawgs.

Dan

June 8th, 2011
10:46 am

Dawgin how can you be a Dawg fan? Just messing….UGA won 1980 over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl for the National Championship and Pitt and Penn State were better than us? They beat us in the following Sugar Bowls

Mark Bradley

June 8th, 2011
10:49 am

Probably not, GT Trumpet.

GT Trumpet

June 8th, 2011
10:51 am

Mark, I was wondering if you believe that if the football players were paid royalties for being in the NCAA Football video games, if that would be enough to stem the tide of all this under the table dealing. Those royalties wouldn’t be too much, but I think it would be enough to give those kids some spending cash for nice dinners, medical help for family members, etc.

All I'm Saying Is....

June 8th, 2011
10:53 am

I’m not an OSU fan or hater but, come on, Bradley, your column is completely full of it. Pryor brought OSU and Tressel down? What planet have you been living on? Do you even read Sports Illustrated? Do some research, dude, and you will quickly learn that Tressel has left a trail of stench since his days at Youngstown State and TRESSEL ALONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS DEMISE!

I cannot fathom (other than you are dwelling in mediocrity, again) how you can suggest that a kid did this to OSU. Really? Seriously? As if old Jim was completely unaware of what was going on…oh, wait a minute…that’s the line (i.e. LIE) he originally told OSU and the NCAA. That’s right, Jim Tressel and Bruce Pearl did the same misdeed—-lying to investigators. And that will get you fired every time especially if you present yourself, as Tressel did, as an integrity-filled, God-fearing, class teaching football coach instead of the win-at-all-costs opportunist and scumbag that he really is and has been all along.

Shame on you, Bradley, as you are better than this (and I know you are a bit smarter too). Beginning to wonder about your motivations as you try to blame the kid in this case for the sins of the coach and the program both of which pre-dated Pryor.

Mark Bradley

June 8th, 2011
10:54 am

Oh, and kudos, Jay. Though I wish you’d get a different screen name.

SimpleDawg

June 8th, 2011
10:54 am

Hey Dorkman…..bite me.

schmeckdawg

June 8th, 2011
10:54 am

Jay Dorkman is an idiot

June 8th, 2011
10:46 am
“this is so auburn 2012″

Why are dawg fans so obsessed with Auburn? Oh, that’s right, Auburn beat the living crap out of them last year.

You UGA fans can keep hoping and wishing for Auburn to fall, but it won’t happen. The NCAA has investigated for many many months now and nothing, I repeat NOTHING, has come of it.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

I wouldn’t be so sure that it is over for you guys. It looks as though the NCAA has finally grown a pair. They nailed USC, they are going to nail Ohio State and probably Tennesssee to some degree.

KD

June 8th, 2011
10:56 am

What is so bad from all of this, is Pryor, with him leaving for the NFL, will get off scott free and will never be penalized for any of this. He will begin to make millions on top of the $ 40,000 he already has in is pocket. Maybe when he signs his contract, maybe he could pay back OSU, the money he owes them, NAAAAAAA, we all know that will never happen.

RxDawg

June 8th, 2011
10:56 am

I think Tressel’s history speaks for itself. 2 major violations at 2 different schools? The point blank facts are Tressel was not above cheating and covering up to help with recruiting and keep ineligible players on the field all in the name of winning games. It all starts with the head ball coach.

The Spirit of UGA VII

June 8th, 2011
10:57 am

I see that the black-butted Russ is at it again. Tell him that one of our progeny will shortly usher him back to Sonny Seiler’s yard. We don’t need white-painted dirty butts posing as our mascot.

joe

June 8th, 2011
10:58 am

First was USC
Ohio St up next
Auburn to follow

Bill

June 8th, 2011
10:59 am

To those Auburn fans out there I have but one thing to say. In the spring of my last year of high school I received a letter in the mail from Auburn University.

It said:”Congratulations, you have been accepted for admissions to Auburn University. Please fill out the enclosed application.”

Yep, they accepted me before I could even get around to applying. I decided to go to UGA instead and am a very proud Bulldawg graduate!

JB

June 8th, 2011
10:59 am

GT Trumpet……My guess is 20 of the 25 teams in this years pre season top 25 have compliance issues. I also believe most of the coach’s DON’T know about them. Tresell did. There is way too much money in college sports being made for the participants and their “advisers” not to figure out a way to cash in on some of it.

moops

June 8th, 2011
11:01 am

Dorman –

Congratulations on setting the alltime record for the Fulmer Cup in 2011.

Oh, congratulations on your first ever National Championship (1957 doesn’t count, you were on probation for paying players… sounds familar). Hopefully you’ll get to enjoy this one for a few years before it’s taken away just like USC’s!

schmeckdawg

June 8th, 2011
11:03 am

@joe

And don’t forget that Tennessee has a date with the NCAA coming up.

John

June 8th, 2011
11:04 am

I find it hard to believe that Pryor and apparently other players past and present have been getting away with infractions for so long without the knowledge of someone at the top of OSU’s food chain. So although Pryor is a seedy individual at best, he and others like him were probably only doing what they and the boosters were being allowed to do by OSU’s leadership. Blaming Pryor is not getting to the root cause of OSU’s problems. This is also what happens when fans and schools worship and slobber over guys who aren’t even old enough to drink.

Also, OSU got caught. Don’t think for one second that this isn’t happening anywhere else.

bigdawg

June 8th, 2011
11:04 am

Makes the innocent recruitment of Hershel seem small potatoes but at least we got our only Championship in 80 off of it before all of todays publicity. How many years of probation would that Trans-Am and house have cost us?

Calvin

June 8th, 2011
11:05 am

As a devoted Michigan Woverine, I am happy to see that the deceitful Jim Tressel has finally been caught in his web of lies. Just like Rich Rodriguez, who is also unemployed now, they are what gives college sports a black eye. Both were liars, who would do aand say anything to win even if it meant cheating. And as for Tressel’s statement on Saturday, we will see whose a*% gets kicked in November.

RxDawg

June 8th, 2011
11:05 am

GT Trumpet, if current players got royalties from the NCCA video games it wouldn’t put a halt on anything. The whole point for the under the table paying and benefits is to get a leg up on the competetion. So if the players get some amount of money legaly, then there will still be rogue boosters and coaches that pay them more then the competetion does in order for the atheletic services. In fact, it might make it easier to cover up.

That said… I do believe the players scholarship value should be increased so they have at least some spending money on regular stuff. Movies, dates, dinners, etc…

schmeckdawg

June 8th, 2011
11:05 am

@moops

Hopefully it won’t take the NCAA half a decade to nail Awbarn like it did with the Condoms!

lovelyliz

June 8th, 2011
11:06 am

Who sank Ohio $tate? The same $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ that has corrupted just about everybody else.

DC

June 8th, 2011
11:07 am

How could you not nail USC…there was EVIDENCE ie money exchanged hands..along with car keys..500k..vacation trips..mansion home…something lil different with the AU case..only discussions..no money found…wake up.

schmeckdawg

June 8th, 2011
11:10 am

@DC

Just wait! Old man Newton got $180K from someone and I seroiusly doubt that Miss. State would have paid him if Scam wasn’t going there. Also, if you can tell me with a straight face that Scam didn’t know that his father was pimping him out for 180K you are delusional.

BG

June 8th, 2011
11:11 am

Cheating always catches up in due time. Bama will be the next program in deep trouble.

DC

June 8th, 2011
11:13 am

Bama is still grounded BG..and I hate Bama like the next AU fan..but just b/c a team is good doesn’t mean they cheat. They have tradition and the devil as a coach..

1953Dawg

June 8th, 2011
11:13 am

UGA fans don’t have to worry about Auburn falling, they will do that on the field this year. UGA has owned Auburn 4 of the last 5 years. And they will own them again this year. Auburn was lucky to buy SCAM, and they tried to buy Russell Wilson this year to try and bail them out, but it didn’t happen. Auburn was lucky to play 8 games in the state of Alabama last year, that schedule is reversed this year, with all of their hardest games on the road: Clemson, S.Carolina,LSU,Arkansas, and UGA. Enjoy your one year in the limelight, reality will hit Auburn fans this year.

Cam Newton

June 8th, 2011
11:17 am

I had to sign with Auburn. The money was just too much.

Sorry Dogs

June 8th, 2011
11:17 am

Start a “Super Conference”. Any school that would sell their souls for football. Charter members Ohio State, and Southern Cal. Add all SEC teams except Vandy. Throw in Southern Methodist and a few others you can name. No rules – minor league NFL football. Then realign all other schools into conferences that make sense, and want to play football and and make it student athletes – don’t let the football tail wag the dog.

the guy who calls himself "jay dorkman is an idiot" is an idiot

June 8th, 2011
11:20 am

Nobody at UGA is upset that Auburn won the ncaa title last year, or beat the Dawgs… It was another loss in a season that saw six other losses. UGA fans are upset that Nick Fairley is a cheap-shot artist and that nobody with authority to do anything about it, did anything about it. I’m sure you’ll write something back about “UGA being a sore loser” and whatnot. But if you defend how Fairley played against UGA… then you’re a douchebag. Plain and simple.

ChopAttack

June 8th, 2011
11:20 am

Auburn is synonymous with cheating. OSU will have to cheat for another 50 years to reach that level of tradition.

the guy who calls himself "jay dorkman is an idiot" is an idiot

June 8th, 2011
11:22 am

Enter your comments here

juvenal

June 8th, 2011
11:23 am

most criminals come with a list of pryors…….

Mr. Obvious

June 8th, 2011
11:23 am

Ohio State was sunk by the same thing that has sunken Georgia and will end Mark Richt’s career:

Recruiting undisciplined, classless, fatherless degenerates from “The Hood” with no morals, ethics, values, integrity or collective sense of good sportsmanship who just happen to be able to run fast.

Get over it

June 8th, 2011
11:24 am

When will UGA fans stop being so jealous of AU’s success last year? I’m so tired of their whiney excuses …. win some games and then talk smack. GET OVER IT. Auburn put the hurt on you and will do it every year from now on until good ole boy Mark is out of Athens.

The Greatest Game Ever Played

June 8th, 2011
11:24 am

45-42, November 2008. Enough said.

jumbeauxtiger

June 8th, 2011
11:27 am

Well said NoGaGator.

Pryor will have the IRS on his case next.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

5$ Dawg

June 8th, 2011
11:28 am

I just hope the moronic Carolina Panthers don’t draft Pryor with next year’s #1 pick.

the guy who calls himself "jay dorkman is an idiot" is an idiot

June 8th, 2011
11:29 am

“get over it” see my comments above. nobody’s jealous of auburn. believe me.