Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finally a Fitting Punishment For Pryor - Five-Year Ban From Ohio State Program

In a case of unusual timing by the officials at Ohio State, the University officially banned former quarterback/star player Terrelle Pryor at a time when Pryor really needed it.

Pryor is applying to be admitted into the NFL Supplemental draft (yet to be scheduled), but there have been recent questions as to whether he was actually eligible.  As of last week, all that was known of his situation was that he would have had to serve a 5-game suspension at the beginning of the 2011 season, but would have been allowed to play the remainder of the season.  NFL Supplemental draft rules usually stipulate that a player has to have circumstances that would prohibit them from taking the field at all in order to be eligible to come into the NFL.

Ohio State had no real reason to speed up any process that might help Pryor's NFL situation.  After all the violations that he had committed concerning memorabilia trades, which has left a gigantic black mark on the program and led to the dismissal of head coach Jim Tressel, Ohio State didn't owe Pryor anything.

See the Columbus Dispatch's Timeline of Events Relating to Pryor's Time at OSU 

However, they came through for him when he needed it most.  In a letter dated Tuesday and sent to his lawyer, Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith said:

"I have appreciated your willingness in the past to consent to lengthy interviews by the institution and the NCAA, and to provide certain financial records," Smith said in the letter to Pryor. "I was disappointed to learn from your attorney that as of June 7, 2011, you have chosen not to interview (any more) with the representatives of the NCAA and the Ohio State University.
"In light of that decision, the university must declare you ineligible for intercollegiate competition because you failed to cooperate with the university in violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1," which requires, among other things, cooperation and forthright, honest answers."
While that may have been the exact response that Pryor wanted from Ohio State, what came next in the letter was the only punishment that OSU could actually levy on Pryor going forward.
"Due to that failure to cooperate, the university must disassociate you from its athletic program for a period of five years."

What that means for Pryor is that he can't use the Ohio State facilities to work out, can't have any contact with current players or recruits, and can't get complimentary tickets to OSU games for a period of five years.

Not being able to workout at team facilities can be a big deal for some players, as many former Buckeyes do come back in the off-season to workout on campus.  Pryor is allowed, if he wishes, to continue to take classes in the future to complete his degree. 

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