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Blue chip recruit Stanley McClover says he received money & sex at OSU, then even more money from Auburn

31 Mar

O-H…

Ut-oh!

Jim Tressel spent over an hour yesterday apologizing for disappointing OSU alumni & fans after being suspended for witholding emails from the NCAA & his own athletic office in Columbus.  The emails detailed star QB Terrelle Pryor’s involvement with a tattoo parlor dealer who was at the center of an FBI probe last April. 

Tressel kept the emails private until after the 2010 regular season was over, leaving OSU to try to buy off the NCAA by imposing 5-game suspensions on Tressel, Pryor, & 4 other players who violated NCAA rules. 

Tressel’s university-imposed suspension started at 2 games, then OSU upped it to 5.  It’s unclear whether the NCAA will make OSU increase its offer.

Luckily for OSU & Auburn, no real-life equivalent to Ed O'Neill's suspicious sports writer character in Blue Chips existed on campus back in 2003 to document any of McClover's allegations, so his claims have yet to be substantiated. Still, McClover's story would make one heck of a solid sports flick!

What is certain is that Tressel may have to schedule another press conference to address a completely different matter involving players under his watch & a recruit back in 2003.

In a story straight out of the movie “Blue Chips,” ex-Auburn DE Stanley McClover claims he was offered booster money & sex during a 2003 recruiting trip to OSU hosted by Buckeye star WR/CB Chris Gamble, who has played CB for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers since 2004.

McClover took up the offers, but then chose Auburn after asking the Tigers for “a lot” of money & allegedly getting it delivered in a backpack.

Wow. 

All we’re missing is Nick Nolte, a Lexus like Shaq’s character received in the movie, & a tractor delivered to McClover’s father & we’re all set for a “Blue Chips” sequel!

From South Florida.com, with Steve Gorten of the Sun Sentinel reporting:

McClover told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Jan. 12, 2003 that he had orally committed to Ohio State after an official visit. According to the SportsbyBrooks transcript, McClover’s decision had to do with more than a gut feeling. McClover told Andrea Kremer in the interview that during his official interview to OSU, he received money handskakes from alumni of about $1000.

“They send girls my way. I partied,” McClover reportedly told Kremer. “When I got there, I met up with a couple guys from the team. We went to a party and they asked me to pick any girl I wanted.”

Kremer asked McClover if they offered sexual services. “Yes,” he answered.

Did you take them, she asked. “Yes,” he said again.

Here’s Gorten’s full story:

FORT LAUDERDALE – Former Dillard High defensive end Stanley McClover, who reportedly admitted to accepting improper benefits from Auburn and Ohio State during recruiting, didn’t appear to have Auburn on his radar until very late in his recruitment.

McClover’s allegations were made in an interview with HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumble earlier this year. That interview, part of an overall story on corruption in college sports, is to air tonight at 10 p.m. Three other Auburn players allege NCAA violations by Auburn and other schools. The news was first reported by the website SportsbyBrooks.com. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel received an advance copy of the show.

McClover told the Sun-Sentinel on Jan. 12, 2003 that he had orally committed to Ohio State after an official visit. In the HBO interview, it seemed McClover’s decision might have been more than a gut feeling. McClover told Andrea Kremer that during his official visit to OSU, he received money handskakes from alumni of about $1,000.

“They send girls my way. I partied,” McClover told Kremer. “When I got there, I met up with a couple guys from the team. We went to a party and they asked me to pick any girl I wanted.”

Kremer asked McClover if they offered sexual services. “Yes,” he answered.

Did you take them, she asked. “Yes,” he said again.

McClover committed to Ohio State right after that weekend. He told the Sun-Sentinel at that time that former Dillard player Chris Gamble, now with the Carolina Panthers, was his host for his official visit at OSU. The Buckeyes’ 2002 roster featured two other players from South Florida – receiver Santonio Holmes (Glades Central) and guard Bryce Bishop (Miami Killian).

When he orally committed to Ohio State, McClover told the Sun-Sentinel that the University of Miami had been his second choice and that he would not be taking a visit to UM or Florida later that month. McClover did not mention Auburn as one of the schools he was strongly considering.

McClover told the Sun-Sentinel in January 2003 that the outcome of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, in which Ohio State beat Miami in a controversial ending for the 2002 national championship, “had a lot of effect on my decision.” In explaining why he chose Ohio State, he noted:

“I always had Ohio State as one of my top choices – you can recognize a good team – but I found some more respect for them when I saw how they played against Miami. It was, like, ‘Maybe these boys are for real.’ Instead of just being good, they’re great. And they’re bringing back the same guys next year, so we have a chance to repeat it.”

That changed 17 days later when he told the Sun-Sentinel that there was a 50 percent chance he’d sign with Auburn

“I’m still committed (to OSU), but I’m torn between Ohio State and Auburn,” McClover said on Jan. 29. “I’m going to end up making that decision on signing day with those two scholarships in front of me. I’m just going to go with my gut feeling when I wake up.”

McClover ultimately signed with Auburn.

McClover told Kremer in the HBO interview that he asked Auburn for “a lot” of money and he received that, delivered in a bookbag. The exact amount was unknown.

Kremer asked McClover what he thought when he opened the bookbag.

“I almost passed out,” McClover told Kremer. “I literally almost passed out I couldn’t believe it was true. I felt like I owed them.”

“You felt obligated to them [Auburn],” Kremer asked McClover.

“I felt totally obligated,” McClover responded.

“Because of the money?” she followed up.

“Yeah.”

McClover told the Sun-Sentinel at the time that he had started to sway from Ohio State and consider Auburn because it was closer to home and had shown interest in him since his freshman year.

“I guess we get caught up in the hype at one moment,” McClover told the Sun-Sentinel of his commitment to the Buckeyes. “Everything is going good, you go ahead and commit. Then when the smoke clears you think, ‘Dang I might have rushed it.”

sgorten@tribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @sgorten

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For Love and Honor? Wins and greed appear to trump honesty and integrity for Tressel and Ohio State football

10 Mar

Here’s a great opinion piece by Detroit News’ Bob Wojnowski on how OSU’s 2-game suspension is a slap on the wrist:

We know Tressel won't be on the field against Akron & Toledo, but the Buckeyes should be able to roll out of bed & beat those MAC teams with a bartender from Columbus' Park Street Cantina playing HC.

Ohio State’s punishment for Jim Tressel is a joke

It’s comical and fake and borderline insulting. Jim Tressel did about the worst job imaginable trying to explain his program’s ugliest misdeed, quasi-apologizing for whatever it was he did, or didn’t do, or should have done.

Ohio State football is reeling, and Tressel will need all the Teflon he can pack inside his sweater vest. The NCAA needs to keep looking and keep hammering, and keep asking why it was misled and duped about the involvement of five players in a memorabilia-for-tattoos setup.

The Buckeyes’ 2010 season must be thrown under immediate scrutiny for the use of ineligible players, with all the victories possibly wiped out. Tressel has earned multiple layers of Teflon in 10 years with Ohio State. Winning does that, and beating Michigan does that.

But if you think Ohio State is untouchable, you probably thought Michigan was untouchable. Whatever you think of the seriousness of the NCAA violations under Rich Rodriguez, Michigan owned up to it.

The difference here is the coach’s standing. Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee practically giggled when he said Tressel wouldn’t be fired, and even joked he hoped the coach wouldn’t dismiss the president.

I half-expected during his rambling comments Tuesday night for Tressel to do one of those fake coughs and mutter under his breath, “Nine, cough-cough, and one.” That’s his record against Michigan, which is why he can lie and get away with it. Well, he didn’t totally get away with it, suspended two games and fined $250,000. Those two games are against Akron and Toledo, which is ridiculous.

At the very least, Tressel should be suspended for the same five games as five of the players — Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas — involved in Tattoo-gate. This is Buckeyes buffoonery at its finest, and after years of watching the Ohio State beat up on Michigan, it’s fascinating to watch the behemoth’s lips quiver.

Coach does nothing

Rivalries are great, and hey, maybe the Wolverines are partly culpable for Tressel’s arrogance because their failures added to his stature. But there also are signs the Buckeyes are willing to pay a higher cost to stay on top, as they again dance around eligibility issues with players.

Tressel is a tremendous coach, 106-22 in Columbus, including a national title with the troubled Maurice Clarett. But what he tried to pull here is deplorable, misleading the NCAA and lying to his bosses, then pretending it was all about protecting a couple of players in the midst of a confidential federal drug investigation.

Tressel probably would have kept deceiving if the school didn’t discover e-mails from the attorney who first alerted him players were exchanging memorabilia for cash and tattoos.

The tattoo parlor owner, Eddie Rife, apparently was a target of the federal investigation, and upon learning this in April, Tressel did what any deeply concerned, father-figure coach would do:He did nothing. He reported it to nobody because he said he didn’t know who to report it to.

He kept practicing the players, then used them all season, until the story finally came out in December. Even then, Ohio State made darn sure the players were eligible to beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, with the backing of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. You think Delany feels duped today?

In the e-mails released by school officials, the confidentiality request wasn’t made by the lawyer until the second one, two weeks after the first. And Tressel’s response decidedly was tepid. That makes it even more laughable when he talks about keeping quiet because he was “scared.”

Scared of drug guys? Or scared of going into the Buckeyes 2010 season without Pryor and other stars?

“Thanks for your help … keep me posted as to what I need to do if anything,” Tressel wrote back to the unnamed lawyer.

History of violations

Even if Tressel legitimately was confused and truly thought he was protecting his players, and even though it violated his contract by not reporting an NCAA violation to his superiors, how does he justify lying in December? Tressel said he knew nothing about it until then, although the e-mails confirmed he knew in April.

An uncovered cover-up always makes it worse. I know Tressel has an image of a conservative, honorable man, but ask yourself this: Does an accomplished head coach, at the age of 58, suddenly develop an affinity for deception?

Considering the Buckeyes reportedly have 375 self-admitted (mostly minor) violations the past 10 years, and previous stars Clarett and Troy Smith were suspended for various offenses, it’s hard to believe this is Tressel’s first ride on the Double-Speak Deception Carousel. In fact, he has NCAA violations going to his days as the coach at Youngstown State.

Tressel said he was sincerely saddened by the whole affair, but you wonder if he’s sincerely sorry. Saddened he got caught, I’m sure, and sorry the strength of the Teflon Tress Vest is finally being tested.

College Football: Breaking the Rules Off the Field

2 Mar

While professional football is stealing most of the football headlines right now thanks to the NFL Combine and the pending lockout set to commence later this week, college football is generating headlines of its own that are worthy of our attention.  The practice of oversigning high school football recruits has come to the forefront of late, and now a special report was released today by Sports Illustrated with the help of CBS.  The article is a fascinating read and deserving of your time if you’re a fan of collegiate sports.  And if your favorite college football program is in the Preseason Top 25 rankings, where do they sit in SI’s rankings of the teams with the most players charged of a crime?  As a fan, would you be okay with your team sacrificing character off the field for results on the field?

The Big Ten may not be able to compete with the SEC on the football field, but it blows away the SEC in terms of having more players possessing criminal mugshots.