Ohio State makes players return 'JT' wristbands honoring Jim Tressel

COLUMBUS, Ohio - When Ohio State's freshman football players faced the media for the first time earlier this week, their support of the coach who recruited them was clear—displayed with a tribute on their wrists.

Several of the players wore black wristbands emblazoned with the letters "JT" as a way to honor former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel.

"I wear it because (Tressel) was a good guy to me," defensive end Steve Miller told the Columbus Dispatch. "It meant a lot to me coming here, because he recruited me strong. That's why I wear it. I miss him."

But that tribute to Tressel didn't last long, as the university forced players to return to wristbands after Wednesday's media session.

Ohio State spokesman Jerry Emig told NewsChannel5 in an email that the wristbands were "taken back out of caution...not knowing if there could be an issue with them."

Once concern was that the wristbands might be perceived as a promotion for the sale, a violation of NCAA rules, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

After players were asked to return the products, the company that produces them, Core Synergy, responded on Twitter with a message that read, "just more of the same from the sewer that is college football -- endorsing a SWOOSH is ok -- how dare you endorse a human being?"

When asked about the difference between the "JT" wristbands and other commercial products, Emig responded "I don't think there is anything different. Taking them back – and giving the players' their money back – was simply a proactive, cautionary response as the news about them grew."

Players had bought the wristbands for $15 from a "friend of the program," but the players returned the products to the individual, who gave them back their money, the OSU spokesman said.

Core Synergy started selling the titantium-infused wristbands Thursday for $25 after receiving a large volume of requests for them, and said that they have received a "massive positive response from all over the country."

A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Ray Mendoza Leadership Fund. Mendoza was a former Ohio State athlete who was killed in 2005 fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"I know Coach Tressel made mistakes in the eyes of the NCAA, but no leader is perfect," Core Synergy CEO Michael DiSabato said in a release. "I hope Buckeye Nation will remember how the Tressel family went above and beyond the call of duty to help local nonprofits, military families and other community organizations."

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