Ohio State star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four of his teammates have officially been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season.
The disciplinary action come on the heels of an investigation that looked into whether players were trading autographs for tattoos. After a thorough investigation, though, it was determined the players also sold pants, jerseys and Big Ten championship rings.
On Thursday, the NCAA announced that along with Pryor, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas will all be suspended. Further, all five players will need to make charitable donations to balance out the improper benefits they received – totaling anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.
College sports’ governing body insists that it would be unfair to suspend the players for the upcoming bowl game because they don’t believe the players knew about the rules they were breaking.
While Pryor hasn’t announced whether or not he plans to enter the NFL following this year, this punishment all but confirms it. After all, it's unlikely that Pryor would want to return to Ohio State in 2011 only to sit out half of the season.
Despite the suspensions, all five players are still eligible to play in the Sugar Bowl on January 4 against Arkansas.