Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four other Buckeyes were suspended by the NCAA for the first five games of next season for selling championship rings, jerseys, and awards, and receiving improper benefits from a tattoo parlor. All can still play in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.
Along with Pryor, running back Daniel Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams, and defensive end Solomon Thomas must sit out and repay between $1,000 to $2,500 to charity.
Pryor must repay $2,500 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring; Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award; and his 2008 gold pants, a trinket given to players who are a part of a team that beats rival Michigan.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said the school would appeal the suspensions.
"While we believe sanctions should be rendered, we do believe they are severe," he said Thursday at a news conference. "We do believe we can give mitigating circumstances for the NCAA to consider."
The NCAA did not suspend the players for the Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl against the eighth-ranked Razorbacks because the "student-athletes did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred."
"These are significant penalties based on findings and information provided by the university," Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs, said in the release.
Lennon said a game was added on to the usual four-game penalty "because these student-athletes did not immediately disclose the violations when presented with the appropriate rules education."
Ohio State's first five games next season are: Akron, Toledo, at Miami, Colorado, and Michigan State.
Pryor is the team's star, while Herron is the leading rusher and Posey is the second-leading receiver. Adams is a starter at left tackle and Thomas a top sub on the defensive line. All are juniors, skilled enough to at least consider skipping their abbreviated senior seasons and trying to play professionally.
Coach Jim Tressel said at least one of the players had filed paperwork to have his NFL draft status assessed, but didn't not specify which.
A sixth player, freshman linebacker Jordan Whiting, must sit out the first game of the 2011 season and pay $150 to a charity for the value of services that were discounted by the tattoo artist because he was a Buckeyes player.
"We as coaches feel the buck stops here," Tressel said. "We're the ones who need to make things even more crystal clear."
Smith said Ohio State was not "explicit" in instructing players about the sale of apparel, awards and gifts.
LSU investigation complete. The NCAA has informed LSU that it did not find any additional violations beyond what the university reported following an internal investigation into allegations of improper contact between a former player and former assistant coach.
The initial probe, which began in fall 2009, centered on wide-receivers coach D.J. McCarthy, who resigned last season, and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, a junior-college transfer who never played.
LSU reported its findings to the NCAA in March and has since sanctioned itself with the loss of two scholarships for 2011-12 and with a reduction in recruiting visits.
LSU chancellor Michael Martin said the NCAA's notice of allegations, delivered this week, affirmed LSU's findings.
San Diego State 35, Navy 14 - Freshman Ronnie Hillman scored four touchdowns and tied his career best with 228 yards rushing on 28 carries to lead San Diego State to its first bowl victory since 1969, a win over Navy in San Diego.
The game was played on a slick field after 1.5 million gallons of rainwater were pumped out of Qualcomm Stadium overnight. Players went slipping and sliding all night, but organizers met their promise of kicking off on time after several days of torrential rain flooded the field and a portion of the parking lot.