NCAA Suspends Five Ohio State Players, Including Star QB Pryor

Players sold rings and awards; can play in Sugar Bowl

Five Ohio State football players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were suspended for the first five games of next season after the NCAA determined they took improper benefits last year.

The sixth-ranked Buckeyes, who face Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 4, will be without Pryor, who was expected to challenge for the Heisman Trophy, star running back Dan "Boom" Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas for nearly half of next season. Those players, all juniors, were nailed for selling awards, gifts and university apparel and receiving improper benefits in 2009.

Pryor, according to the NCAA, must repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, a 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants, a gift from the university.

“We were not as explicit with our student-athlete education as we should have been in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years regarding the sale of apparel, awards and gifts issued by the athletics department,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “We began to significantly improve our education in November of 2009 to address these issues. After going through this experience, we will further enhance our education for all our student-athletes as we move forward.”

“Once a student-athlete understands a violation has occurred, they must immediately come forward to report it,” he said. “That did not happen, so the additional one-game penalty was imposed.”

Selected Reading: NBC Sports, ESPN, The Columbus Dispatch.

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