Of Course Jim Tressel Knew About His Players Selling Memorabilia

Surprise! Jim Tressel is good. Really good. Not at coaching football, that’s obvious. He’s also good at being the smartest man in the room. Especially if the room consists of student athletes and anyone from the NCAA.

Not only did he coerce the players involved in this memorabilia ring to come back another year, he basically got the NCAA to go with it all on the grounds that Tressel has things under control. I mean, he suspended those guys for five games next season. He has to have things under control, right?

Well, he did until Yahoo! Sports dropped a story detailing how Tressel knew about the memorabilia ring well before it became public. And now, Tressel continues to look like a smart, though tarnished man and the NCAA once again is caught with its pants down.

Silly NCAA. You will never learn.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was informed that several Buckeyes players were selling memorabilia more than eight months before the school claims it was made aware of the scheme, a two-month Yahoo! Sports investigation has found.

Tressel received information that players were selling items to Edward Rife – the owner of Fine Line Ink Tattoos in Columbus – as early as April 2010, according to a source. However, neither Ohio State nor the NCAA investigated the transactions or the players’ relationship with Rife until December 2010, when the school claims it was informed of the situation by the local United States Attorney’s office.

Ohio State director of compliance Doug Archie declined immediate comment when reached Monday by Yahoo! Sports. Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith were unavailable for comment. The NCAA declined comment.

According to a source, a concerned party reached out to Tressel last April, alerting the coach that memorabilia transactions had taken place between Rife and a handful of Buckeyes players, including Pryor. The selling of items violates NCAA eligibility rules. The source said Tressel was troubled by the information, and the coach indicated that he would investigate the matter and take appropriate action.

Whether the coach initiated an investigation of the accusation is unclear, but all five players remained on the field in the coming months, playing out the 2010 regular season.

Better pull those pants up, NCAA. Looks like you have a little problem on your hands.

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