Report: Terrelle Pryor received upwards of $40K for signed memorabilia — in one year

74 Comments

How does the old saying go, when it rains it pours?  At the moment, the Ohio State football program is under a deluge of such biblical proportions that Noah could very well be the school’s next head coach.

On the same day that Terrelle Pryor announced he was “foregoing” his senior season with the Buckeyes, another damning report that could cause significant additional damage to the program has surfaced.

According to the report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and citing an unnamed source who claimed to be a friend of Pryor’s until “their relationship soured when Pryor began taking on a more ‘arrogant’ attitude after his 2009-10 season”, the QB was involved in an autograph-for-cash scheme with freelance photographer Dennis Talbott, one that reportedly netted Pryor upwards of $40,000 in one year’s time between 2009 and 2010.

Suffice to say, the following allegations would constitute major NCAA violations:

The signings for cash, which would be a violation of NCAA rules, occurred a minimum of 35 to 40 times, netting Pryor anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 that year, the former friend says. The source spoke to ESPN under the condition that his face not be aired on TV and that his name not be published.

He said Pryor was paid $500 to $1,000 each time he signed mini football helmets and other gear for a Columbus businessman and freelance photographer, Dennis Talbott. Talbott twice denied to ESPN that he ever paid Pryor or any other active Buckeye athlete to sign memorabilia. He said last week he has only worked with former players to set up signings. On Tuesday evening, he declined to comment whether he had ever operated a sports memorabilia business and said he was not an Ohio State booster.

Pryor’s former friend also told “Outside the Lines” that the player often received preferential treatment in the Columbus community, receiving thousands of dollars in free food at local restaurants and convenience stores, free drinks at bars and free tattoos. In addition, he said the quarterback had access to free loaner cars from local dealerships. The source said he spent nearly every day with Pryor before their relationship soured when Pryor began taking on a more “arrogant” attitude after his 2009-10 season.

He said Pryor would get the merchandise to sign from Talbott, who would “bring it to TP, and he would sign it and he would bring him cash. Dennis would give him cash.” He said he witnessed the transactions occur about three to four times a week at Pryor’s apartment.

(Allow me to also add this, as it’s been gnawing at me since this report first came out: how big did The Ohio State University cash in on Pryor’s signature No. 2 jersey during his three years in Columbus?  Not condoning the alleged scheme in the least, just sayin’…)

Pryor’s attorney denied the most recent allegations leveled against his client, and Talbott, who the report notes had sold images from sporting events to ESPN.com in the past, initially denied a claim that he had been on the receiving end of game tickets from an unnamed OSU football player.  When confronted with, the website writes, “records from Ohio State [that] show that he and his wife were on a player’s will-call ticket list multiple times throughout the 2008 season”, Talbott claimed he couldn’t remember receiving ducats.

The piece also goes on to detail the financial issues Talbott is currently facing, including IRS and State of Ohio tax liens totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“He’s the type of person that … I think he really took advantage over TP because he was that person, and he would bring him, he would bring TP like memorabilia to sell for other people,” the former friend told OTL. “So Dennis is not a good guy for college athletes. That’s the guy you really don’t want to be around.”

Ohio State is scheduled to appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions Aug. 12.  This most recent revelation, on top of everything else that’s gone down regarding the football program in the past couple of months, will do nothing to help what was an uphill climb to begin with.  And could very well make USC’s sanctions seem like they were delivered by a piker wearing an NCAA blazer.

VIDEO: UCF head coach Scott Frost shows off wheels running the option as scout team QB

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In terms of accomplishments as a college football player, few coaches have the resume of Scott Frost.

After all, the now-UCF head coach won a national title back in 1997 with Nebraska and compiled a 24-2 record as a starter with the Cornhuskers. What made him so dangerous? Well, he was the perfect fit for the team’s triple option offense and was one of the best in terms of using his arm and his legs in leading the team to all those wins.

“I love option football,” Frost told the Associated Press “I lived it. I feel like option quarterbacks now are kind of like giant pandas, they only exist in zoos and military academies now.”

That’s particularly relevant this week, as his Knights are set to play Navy on Saturday in a huge AAC matchup that will have an impact on who receives this year’s Group of Five bid. Given how well the boss is at running the option, it seems he decided to put on a helmet and run the scout team offense to better prepare his defense for what they’ll see out of the Midshipmen and signal-caller Zach Abey.

From the looks of things, Frost still has it even if he’s got 20 years on his players.

Ohio State reportedly opting for all-gray alternate uniforms for Penn State game

AP Images
Leave a comment

Recruiting never stops, even for a blue-blood like Ohio State. That’s one reason why the team is reportedly set to go with an all-gray alternate uniform for the team’s biggest game of the year when Penn State rolls into Columbus.

Team site Eleven Warriors posted that they have obtained images of the retail uniforms the Buckeyes are set to wear, which includes a top that is completely gray with only a sliver of scarlet for the team’s logo on the chest:

OSU opting for alternate uniforms in big games is nothing new for the program under Urban Meyer, especially since a new Nike deal kicked in a while back. They donned some for the Michigan game last season and have worn several versions in other contests. This latest monochrome look, which is still a report and subject to change mind you, still seems a bit bland all things considered.

If nothing else, it could make things very hard for the broadcasters despite all eyes being on the horseshoe for one of the most important Big Ten games of the year.

ESPN apologized to Washington over cupcake stunt during broadcast

Getty Images
3 Comments

It seems that budding feud between ESPN, Washington and Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is starting to die down just a bit.

ESPN has apologized to the school for a stunt on a broadcast two weeks ago during the Washington-Cal game, in which commentators took the team’s weak non-conference schedule to task and used literal cupcakes to represent the Huskies’ opponents during the first few weeks of the season.

“I felt more like that was such a disrespectful move for the people we play,” athletic director Jen Cohen told the Seattle Times. “For those that do this, we do this because we love the kids. These are somebody’s sons, somebody’s brothers. They’re 18- to 22-year-old kids, and so I was more offended, not for us, as I was for our opponents.

“It was a class act (to apologize), and he made the right call.”

According to the Times, Cohen received a call from Peter Derzis, ESPN’s senior vice president of college sports programming and events, offering the apology.

As nice as the mea culpa was from ESPN, Cohen and Petersen were probably even more elated to hear the news that their October 28 game against UCLA was slated to be televised at 12:30 p.m. PT after an oft-criticized string of night games that made the head coach quite ornery last week. It might not make up for the fact that the team lost to Arizona State on Saturday but there are definitely a few baby steps being taken to repair the relationship between the school and one of the Pac-12’s primary broadcast partners.

Athletic director Tom Jurich officially fired by Louisville board

Getty Images
7 Comments

It’s official: Tom Jurich is out as Louisville’s athletic director.

The Cardinals board of directors voted 10-3 to oust the embattled AD on Wednesday afternoon, completing a pair of sweeping changes in the department following the growing college basketball scandal that has enveloped the school. Once one of the most powerful people in college athletics, Jurich was fighting to remain in his job ever since he was placed on administrative leave after the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York announced details of a wide-ranging investigation.

Vincent Tyra will continue to serve as acting athletic director until a permanent hire is made.

Perhaps the biggest effect on the football program following Jurich’s ouster is on the contract of Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino. Notably, his buyout is set to be halved if Jurich was ever fired… which means it could be more likely he leaves the school this offseason for another job. Given potential openings such as Tennessee, it’s not out of the question that the halving of the buyout will come into play for some schools if the dominoes fall in the right way to allow somebody to hire Petrino away.

Oh, and for those wondering, yes that is indeed the Papa John of the pizza chain fame who voted to fire Jurich on Wednesday.