September 14, 2011
Making the morning rounds.
• I honestly don't know how this could have happened. Robert "Bobby" DiGeronimo, a Cleveland-area businessman and Ohio State booster, admitted to the Columbus Dispatch Tuesday that he was responsible for $200 cash payments to three Buckeye players who were subsequently suspended for the season's first two games, though he stopped short of saying he personally provided the payments. According to DiGeronimo, former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor (surprise!) handed cash envelopes to three teammates — running back Jordan Hall, cornerback Travis Howard (right) and cornerback Corey Brown — at a Feb. 19 fundraiser for a charity named for DiGeronimo's grandson, for which DiGeronimo serves as a member of the board of directors.
"However Mr. Pryor got the money, I take responsibility," he told the Dispatch, adding that the money was intended as reimbursement for travel. "I am responsible for those kids coming up here from Columbus. I handled it wrong. I should not have handled it the way I did."
Hall, Howard and Brown were all officially cleared by the NCAA Tuesday to play this weekend at Miami, a little less than a week after Ohio State reported (incorrectly) that they'd be available to play last Saturday against Toledo. [Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain-Dealer]
• Always be prepared. The board of trustees for Florida State University is forming a committee to explore possibilities for conference realignment, according to board chairman Andy Haggard, who said Tuesday that FSU is prepared consider a defection from the ACC to the SEC or the addition of Texas to the ACC. "If you are going to four conferences of 16 teams we certainly want to be ready," Haggard told the Palm Beach Post. "If the ACC is included in that we want to be sure we are included and have a say so in regard to the teams that are coming into our conference." [Palm Beach Post]
• Let the backtracking begin. A felony charge against Florida linebacker Dee Finley for allegedly resisting an officer with violence has been reduced to resisting an officer without violence, a misdemeanor. Finley was arrested Monday after being pulled over on his scooter for driving around a barricade outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, jerking his hand away from the officer and "squaring" to the officer while still straddling his scooter, at which point the officer brought out a taser and Finley complied with the arrest. The same officer was part of a group of university police officers involved in a controversial shooting of a foreign doctoral student in his campus apartment last year, and had also been disciplined for handcuffing a jaywalker to a stop sign. [Gainesville Sun]
• You're the Mannion now, dog. Oregon State has officially named redshirt freshman Sean Mannion its starting quarterback, at least temporarily exiling incumbent Ryan Katz to the bench on the heels of an 0-2 start. Katz has started the Beavers' last 14 games, but was didn't last long in Saturday's 35-0 loss at Wisconsin before ceding the reins to the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Mannion, who was 25 of 28 passing for 244 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in his first significant action. [The Oregonian]
• Broken Badger. As feared, senior Wisconsin cornerback Devin Smith is out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his left foot. Smith, a part-time starter from 2008-10 who had moved into a full-time role this fall, will apply for a medical redshirt with hopes of returning to Madison next year. [Associated Press]
• Cracking down on cracking skulls. The WAC has suspended Fresno State safety Terrance Dennis for one game for a helmet-to-helmet hit he delivered Saturday on Nebraska tight end Kyler Reed with four seconds remaining in the first half of the Cornhuskers' eventual 42-29 win in Lincoln. Dennis should have been ejected, according to commissioner Karl Benson, and will sit out this weekend's visit from might North Dakota. [Associated Press]
Quickly… Missouri gives a backup cornerback the boot following his arrest for leaving the scene of an accident. ... Figuring out how to split an expanded Pac-14. … Bronco Mendenhall feels kinda weird playing Utah in mid-September. … Injuries could force USC to start a true freshman on the offensive line. … Doug Marrone is really excited about the idea of playing a Syracuse game in London. … A really dumb argument against Urban Meyer calling the Auburn-Clemson game. … Brock Osweiler needs to pay more attention in English class. … And that one shirt favored by certain West Virginia students? You know, that one? Yeah, West Virginia's going to have to go ahead and ask them not to wear that anymore.