As noted earlier, it was Ohio State that brought the news to the NCAA that Terrelle Pryor and four other players -- Devier Posey, Solomon Thomas, Daniel "Boom" Herron, and Mike Adams -- had violated NCAA rules by selling their championship rings and other apparel last year. They did so in part to get a lesser suspension for their players, but after the NCAA ruled that the four players would be out for the first five games of next season, Ohio State has decided to appeal.
In a press conference yesterday, coach Jim Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith said they are hoping the NCAA will reduce the suspension because of "mitigating circumstances." Via the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
In a news conference Thursday, on the same day the players were informed of their suspensions, Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith and football coach Jim Tressel said the school will appeal, hoping to have the suspensions reduced based on mitigating circumstances.
Smith said the five students sold their apparel to help their families, who were struggling through the recession. He blamed himself and the rest of the program for not making the players more aware that their actions violated NCAA bylaws, but he hopes the intentions of the players is enough to limit the suspensions.
Smith called the sanctions severe, and they said the players sold the merchandise for more than $7,000 in 2009 to help their families while unclear on the rules forbidding it. They became aware of the rules in November of 2009 after another compliance briefing.
Smith said the rules were made more clear to the players only after they already sold the merchandise.