Pryor, running back Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike
Adams and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas were also suspended five games.
Linebacker Jordan Whiting was also suspended one game for a lesser infraction.
All six, though, will be able to play in the Sugar Bowl on January 4 against
According to the NCAA, the players were penalized for selling awards, gifts
and university apparel. In addition to the suspension, the players must repay
money and benefits ranging in value from $1,000 to $2,500. The repayments must
be made to a charity.
“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,” said Ohio State athletic
director Gene Smith 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.”
According to NCAA policy, suspensions can be withheld for a championship or
bowl game if it was reasonable at the time the student-athletes were not aware
they were committing violations. In addition, there must not be any
competitive advantage related to the violations, and the student-athletes must
have eligibility remaining.
The usual penalty for receiving such improper benefits is four games, or 30
percent of a season, but because it was not immediately disclosed an extra
game was added to the suspensions.
Ohio State starts next season with a September 3 game against Akron and
follows with a contest against Toledo. The Buckeyes then visit Miami-Florida
on September 17 and return home the following week against Colorado before
opening the Big Ten schedule on October 1 at home against Michigan State.
Pryor 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. Adams must repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship
ring and Herron must repay $1,150 for selling his football jersey, pants and
shoes for $1,000 and receiving discounted services worth $150. Posey must
repay $1,250 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,200 and
receiving discounted services worth $50, while Solomon must repay $1,505 for
selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring for $1,000, his 2008 Gold Pants for
$350 and receiving discounted services worth $155.
The university can appeal the decision to the Division I NCAA Committee on
Student-Athlete Reinstatement, an independent committee comprised of
representatives from NCAA member colleges, universities and athletic
conferences. This committee can reduce or remove the condition, but it cannot
increase the staff-imposed conditions.