The NCAA made the announcement on Thursday, just before an Ohio State news conference on the issue. The suspensions come after an investigation into players selling gifts, jerseys and awards, and receiving discounts on tattoos, according to a release from the NCAA. These violations fall under preferential treatment under NCAA bylaws.
“I don’t know what’s in the minds of a 19-year-old, but it could be ‘I’m going to win four more of these,’” head coach Jim Tressel said. “It’s disappointing.”
The NCAA release said Pryor sold his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, his 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants.
The players will still be able to play in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas on Jan. 4.
The other players suspended for five games include running back Daniel Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, defensive end Soloman Thomas and offensive lineman Mike Adams. The NCAA also ruled they must also pay from $1,000 to $2,500 to charities.
Linebacker Jordan Whiting will sit out just one game and will be required to pay $150 to a charity, according to the NCAA.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said on Thursday that they plan to appeal the NCAA ruling.
“Whatever the next step after gut-retching is, that’s how we feel,” Tressel.
The players were made aware of the investigation on Dec. 16.
“Then when we got into interviews they were very remorseful. There were tears,” Smith said.
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