Making the morning rounds.
• A little accounting. Ohio State has released the nine-page letter from the Department of Justice that initially alerted the school to NCAA violations involving five current Buckeyes uncovered in the feds' probe into drug trafficking at a Columbus tattoo parlor. The letter, dated Dec. 7, 2010, is mostly an inventory of dozens of OSU-related items confiscated from the shop, most of them coming from the four offensive starters — Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, DeVier Posey and Mike Adams — suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. Specifically:
• Four 2008 Big Ten championship rings, sold for a combined $5,000.
• Four sets of 2008 Gold Pants (commemorating a win over Michigan) sold for a combined $2,000.
• A 2008 Fiesta Bowl ring sold for $850.
• A Fiesta Bowl watch sold for $200.
• A pair of signed game-worn cleats sold for $1,000.
• A set of cleats, football pants, gloves and a Fiesta Bowl jersey sold for $1,000.
• A pair of football pants, 10 gloves (four of them signed), a signed Ohio State ball cap, two signed football helmets and a pair of signed cleats exchanged for free tattoos.
• A 2009 Rose Bowl plaque, a 2010 Rose Bowl watch and three pairs of signed shoes worn against Michigan that were apparently given away as gifts.
• A 2010 Rose Bowl watch exchanged for a 2003 Chevy Tahoe purchased by tattoo shop owner Edward Rife for $3,500. (For which Rife also received four Rose Bowl tickets, although not the ring and game pants he was promised.)
Including the value of the Tahoe, that amounts to a grand total of $13,950 divvied among four guys. What's worse: That the players put their careers in jeopardy by pawning off irreplaceable keepsakes, or that their price was so low? [Cleveland Plain Dealer, Associated Press]
• Who hired you, again? In (hopefully) an effort to weed out some of the bottom-dwelling games that put the screws to second-tier programs in the name of a minuscule ratings boost for ESPN, the NCAA has put a moratorium on new bowl games for the next three years and established a "Bowl Licensing Task Force" to review "the purpose, criteria, process and oversight of the NCAA licensing procedures for football bowl games." The bowl explosion over the last decade has nearly doubled the number of active games (35 last year) since 1992, when there were eighteen.
The first on the chopping block could be the Ticket City Bowl (aka the "Zombie Cotton Bowl"), which joined the embattled Fiesta and Insight bowls Thursday as the only three postseason games that weren't renewed for 2011 by the NCAA Postseason Bowl Licensing Subcommittee. The subcommittee pushed back its decision on the Ticket City's license "pending further information and discussion of its business plan." [NCAA]
• Life on the hot seat. A day after calling out running back Washaun Ealey in front of a roomful of boosters, the elusive "Evil Richt" took the stage again Thursday night to set a disgruntled fan straight at a stop in Macon. "I see your frustration, I understand your frustration," Richt said in response to a question about Georgia's struggling running game. "I wasn't born yesterday, I've coached football for 25 years, so I know what the hell I'm doing, OK? I appreciate your passion, I appreciate your support for this football team. Everybody can just calm down and know that we're in good hands." [Macon Telegraph]
• Can't keep a good bro down. Another sign that we haven't seen the last of beleaguered South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia after his latest suspension from the team: Gamecock beat writer Travis Haney relayed Thursday that "Every single person I've spoken with expects Garcia to be allowed back on the team in June," in time to resume workouts and take aim at both a repeat SEC East championship and the school's career passing record. [Charleston Post & Courier]
Quickly… The NCAA strengthens academic credit requirements for eligibility. … Phil Taylor and Danny Watkins are the first Baylor teammates to go in the first round of the same draft since 1957, and neither one was even the Bears' best player. … Rutgers center Dallas Hendrikson will miss the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL. … And Tyron Smith is USC's highest first-round offensive lineman in 15 years, but he's not letting it go to his head.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.