NCAA Allegations Reveal Mystery Player “G”
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — At first glance, there wasn’t much “news” in the NCAA’s “notice of allegations” delivered to Ohio State University president E. Gordon Gee on Monday.
According to Ohio State’s release, “The allegations are largely consistent with what the university self-reported to the NCAA on March 8, 2011, and which were widely covered in the media.”
The eight-page notice—which was preceded in perfect bureaucratic fashion by a six-page cover letter— read more like a filibuster. About the most interesting proclamation in the entire report was the fact the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions will consider Ohio State’s response to these allegations during their August 12 meeting in Indianapolis.
Another look at the fine print, however, reveals a much more significant detail; one that, until now, was omitted by both Ohio State and the NCAA: there was a previously undisclosed seventh OSU player who violated NCAA Bylaws between November 2008 and May 2010.
This mystery player, whose name was redacted from section “G” on the first page of the “Notice of Allegations,” was listed separately from the other six, and identified as a “then football student-athlete.”
Although he is apparently no longer a member of the Buckeye football team, this mystery player “G” was still a student-athlete at Ohio State when he allegedly sold his 2008 Big Ten championship ring ($1,500), his 2008 and ’09 gold pants charms from victories over Michigan ($250 each), a game helmet ($15) and a pair of game pants ($30) from the 2009 Michigan game, along with a watch from the 2010 Rose Bowl ($250).
The NCAA estimated the total value of those items at $2,430. This player, who appears to have left the football team after the 2009 season, also allegedly received a $55 discount on two tattoos as well as $100 for obtaining team autographs on two replica football helmets.
If that wasn’t enough, Rife also allegedly gave player “G” an estimated $2,420 discount on the purchase of a used vehicle, along with an $800 loan for vehicle repairs.
In all, player “G” received cash and discounts equaling an estimated $7,435 from Rife, making him by far the most egregious offender in the entire scandal.
Why is Player “G” a Mystery?
There is little doubt that the identity of player “G” will eventually be revealed, much like the author of Jim Tressel’s emails, Chris Cicero, and that of the person Tressel forwarded them to, Terrelle Pryor’s mentor Ted Sarniak.
Ohio State may even release the name, but whether or not they do, it is curious that the identity of this former player has been concealed for the last five months.
According to the first line of the NCAA’s “notice of allegations”, the university self-reported this former player along with the six current ones back in December. Yet, while the others prepare to serve their NCAA-mandated suspensions to begin the 2011 season, there has been no mention of this mystery player.
Until now, there was no outside knowledge of his existence and now player “G” may be the only one to walk away from the incident without facing the consequences.
While Ohio State has argued from the beginning that Pryor and his five teammates did not know that what they were doing was wrong at the time, there is little question that player “G” knowingly committed at least some of his violations.
The OSU compliance office addressed the team in November 2009 to educate players on the fact they could not sell items given to them by the university, but the NCAA allegations state that player “G” continued to sell his through May of 2010. He also knowingly accepted a discount of over $2,400 on a used vehicle as well as a loan of $800, two blatant NCAA violations that needed no explanation from the compliance department.
Six players and a head coach are suffering public consequences for their actions, yet the player who gained the most gets off without even being mentioned. What’s wrong with that picture?
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