On a day when five Ohio State players said they were sorry for violating NCAA rules, Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan was unapologetic for pressuring OSU to try to keep the players eligible for the game.
On Dec. 22, Ohio State announced that six players would be suspended for selling memorabilia and/or accepting discounts on tattoos sometime early in 2009.
Linebacker Jordan Whiting drew a one-game suspension and was not part of yesterday’s apology. The other five were suspended for five games: offensive tackle Mike Adams, running back Daniel Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, quarterback Terrelle Pryor and defensive end Solomon Thomas.
But those suspensions will not take effect until the start of the 2011 season. OSU officials, along with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, successfully lobbied the NCAA to reinstate the players for the Sugar Bowl.
Hoolahan said he was first told of the possible suspensions a few days after Ohio State learned of them on Dec. 7.
He said athletic director Gene Smith said to him that OSU was trying to push the suspensions back to the 2011 season, and Hoolahan then told Smith how strongly he felt about the players participating in the Sugar Bowl.
“I made the point that anything that could be done to preserve the integrity of this year’s game, we would greatly appreciate it,” Hoolahan sa