Maybe it would be best for Ohio State if Terrelle Pryor moved on

Ohio State University quarterback and MVP Terrelle Pryor (2) celebrates after his team defeated the University of Arkansas during the NCAA BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl football game in New Orleans, Louisiana January, 4, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

For the moment, let’s refrain from calling Terrelle Pryor an entitled “punk kid” who just got his coached fired. That may be an accurate statement but that isn’t what this is about.

This is about the Ohio State football program and more specially, what’s best for the Ohio State football program. Gerardo Orlando touched on this briefly when Jim Tressel resigned on Monday but the statement is worth revisiting: Ohio State is bigger than just one player. It’s bigger than Terrelle Pryor and it was bigger than troublemaker Maurice Clarett. Whether the Buckeyes suffer the same fate as USC did for the Reggie Bush scandal remains to be scene but nevertheless, they will recover. Ohio State is still going to be Ohio State in the end, even though their rivals to the north would like to believe that the program is falling apart.

With that in mind, maybe it would be best if Pryor got lost – left Columbus with his bags packed and headed for destinations unknown. The Buckeyes have enough to worry about these days without fielding questions about whether or not their star quarterback will be under center after he serves his five-game suspension for trading his sports memorabilia for free tattoos.

Is Terrelle Pryor a special player? No doubt. Since he’s arrived in Columbus, the Buckeyes are 33-6, which includes two-straight bowl victories over Oregon and Arkansas. He’s the type of player that, had he and his tattoo buddies not been suspended for five games, could have taken the Buckeyes to a national title.

But again, he’s only one player. He also represents a massive headache for a program that needs to do some major damage control right now. After Tressel announced his resignation on Monday, Pryor, while being investigated for possibly receiving free cars from a dealership mind you, had the stones to show up at a players-only meeting driving a Nissan 350Z with temporary tags. I guess if he thinks he hasn’t done anything wrong then there’s no reason to take the bus or carpool with a teammate, but is he serious? That ride is valued around $30,000, which is hardly the type of money that a college athlete would have between his couch cushions.

Ohio State doesn’t need this. Not right now, not ever. Pryor might be able to help them win but, as rare as this is, winning might not be the most important thing right now. And again, the Buckeyes will recover.

USC is currently in year two of a two-year bowl ban thanks to the Bush infractions. And while their recruiting has taken a hit, Lane Kiffin isn’t going to have trouble getting California kids to come to Southern Cal. That’s not to say that they’ll win under him, but he won’t need to try very hard to convince high school athletes to be a Trojan.

The same can be said for Urban Meyer when he starts recruiting as the head football coach at Ohio State. (I’m kidding – relax.) Let me start over: The same can be said for whoever takes over as head coach of the Buckeyes. Even given the current state of the program, they’re still on the top step of the Big Ten ladder. Prospects in Ohio and surrounding regions aren’t suddenly going to flood Purdue, Illinois or even Notre Dame (which has high academic standards) because Ohio State is in turmoil. The Buckeyes will still be able to recruit after this.

That’s why it may be beneficial for OSU if Pryor applied for the NFL supplemental draft. Or was suspended indefinitely. Or drove one of his 12 new cars to South Beach to hang with LeBron and never return. Many people in Columbus are already blaming him for the program losing Tressel and chances are he is guilty of violating NCAA rules. With that in mind, maybe Pryor can do OSU a favor and exit stage left.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Should Pryor apply for the NFL supplemental draft?

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) passes the ball to DeVier Posey (8) against Michigan during their NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio, November 27, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATESSPORT – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

With the future of Terrelle Pryor’s career at Ohio State in doubt, there’s speculation that he could apply for the NFL supplemental draft this year.

On Tuesday, an NFL official told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the supplemental draft would be held sometime in July – as long as there are applicants, that is.

“So far, there have been no applicants,” a league official told ESPN. “If there is one, the supplemental draft would be held mid-to-late July, no later than 10 days before the first training camp opens.”

A total of 45 players have been selected in the NFL supplemental draft since its inception in 1977. The supplemental draft is intended for players who missed the filing deadline for the annual NFL draft or had issues that affected their college eligibility. (You know, like if some player swapped championship memorabilia for tattoos or were given the opportunity to ride around in cars they never paid for.)

In order to be eligible for the supplemental draft, players have to be out of high school for at least three years. That’s obviously not a problem for Pryor, who is heading into his senior season at Ohio State. Teams then submit picks to the league and if their bid is the highest, they receive the player but lose the corresponding draft pick the following year. So in other words, if the Dolphins took Pryor in the third round this year, they’d forfeit their third round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Seeing as how Ohio State and the NCAA are investigating whether or not Pryor received cars and extra benefits during his playing days as a Buckeye, now might be the time for him to jet off to the NFL. There’s no guarantee of course that he’ll be taken in the supplemental draft, but he may wind up being suspended for the entire 2011 college season. If that happens, he’ll have to wait an entire year to see if some team will take a flier on him in the 2012 NFL Draft, which seems highly unlikely.

If Pryor did apply for the supplemental draft, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for Ohio State. He has already been suspended for the first five games of the season and with Jim Tressel resigning on Monday, the program doesn’t need this Pryor investigation hanging over its head all year. Granted, just because he’s gone doesn’t mean the university or the NCAA will halt their investigation, but at least from a media standpoint, Pryor wouldn’t be around.

Ohio State has enough on its plate then to worry about the constant stream of questions from the media regarding Pryor’s eligibility in 2011.

Ohio State, NCAA to investigate Terrelle Pryor

Ohio State University quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) drops back to pass while taking on the University of Arkansas during the NCAA BCS Allstate Sugar Bowl football game in New Orleans, Louisiana January, 4, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

According to 10 TV News in Ohio, the NCAA and Ohio State University have opened a separate investigation into quarterback Terrelle Pryor and whether he received cars and extra benefits as a Buckeye. This news comes on the heels of head coach Jim Tressel’s resignation on Monday.

Records obtained by 10 Investigates showed that Pryor owns a 2006 Dodge Charger. However, video taken by 10 Investigates showed Pryor entering a 2009 Dodge Challenger with dealer license plates, 10 Investigates’ Paul Aker reported.

The 2009 vehicle was tracked to Auto Direct, located at 2300 E. Dublin-Granville Rd.

NCAA rules prohibit players from getting free access to cars because of their status as players.

10 Investigates spotted Pryor in the performance car from late March through mid-April at his home, around Columbus and at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, where the football team practices.

Traffic tickets showed that Pryor was pulled over at least three times in the past several years, driving cars that belonged to dealerships, Aker reported.

One of the vehicles was a GMC Denali that belonged to car salesman Aaron Kniffin. In the past, Kniffin and Pryor denied any wrongdoing involving the vehicle. Kniffin recently told 10 Investigates that he gave Pryor the Denali because he wanted to trade his Hyundai and planned to take the Denali to Pennsylvania to show his mother.

The story goes on from there but you get the point: Pryor is in deep trouble here. His career as a Buckeye is certainly in doubt and while we can only speculate what the fallout will be from this NCAA investigation, there’s reason to believe that Pryor has taken his last snap at OSU.

It seems pretty clear from these reports that Pryor was receiving more than just free tattoos. I’m sure it’s like this for other major college programs across the nation, but that doesn’t matter. Ohio State has gotten caught and they’re the ones in the spotlight right now. You get the feeling that things are only going to get worse for the Buckeyes before they get better.

Jim Tressel resigns from Ohio State

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel pauses while speaking during a news conference in Columbus, Ohio March 8, 2011. REUTERS/Jay LaPrete (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Jim Tressel has resigned as the head football coach at Ohio State. Tressel had a hell of a run as during his time with the Buckeyes, but the recent scandal involving players trading memorabilia for tattoos and cash became too much for him to keep his job. Luke Fickell will serve as interim head coach during the 2011 season.

Tressel finishes with a 106-22 record at Ohio State (66-14 in the Big Ten). He won a national championship in 2002, seven Big Ten championships, including the past six, and a 9-1 record against Michigan.

Ohio State also has more BCS wins than any other program, so Tressel leaves as one of the elite coaches in college football.

Yet with all of his accomplishments, Tressel couldn’t overcome his terrible decision to not disclose information he received about his star players and OSU memorabilia. The violations seems trivial in one sense, yet Tressel was looking at a season where his team would be battling for a National Championship, and keeping this a secret certainly helped his team’s chances. When the scandal broke after the regular season, Tressel still failed to disclose what he knew about the matter, probably hoping the emails would stay buried. Once these came to light, it was only a matter of time.

There may be even more issues as Ohio State is still investigated car sales, but letting Tressel go probably helps the university dodge some of the tougher sanctions. In the end, the university is more important than any one player or coach. Given that Tressel preached this for years, it’s somewhat surprising that it took him so long to apply the standard to himself.

Related Posts