All five Ohio State juniors who have suspended for the first five games of next season apologized for what they described as selfish actions.
In a six-minute press conference at the team’s Woody Hayes Athletic Center, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Dan Herron, Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas took no questions and asked fans and alumni to forgive them for having sold Big Ten championship rings and other personal items during the past two years.
“I’m deeply sorry about the young, selfish mistakes that I’ve made a few years ago and bringing down this university and bring embarrassment to myself and the coaching staff and former players and alumni, especially the students and Buckeye Nation,” Pryor said. “My selfish acts were very young and immature. I’m just very deeply sorry about it. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody at all or bring anything down or bring embarrassment to our university because it’s the greatest university in the nation.
“Hopefully one day throughout my actions and also on the field hopefully I can get your forgiveness.”
In addition, redshirt freshman linebacker Jordan Whiting must sit out the first game of the 2011 season and repay $150 for having received discounted services. He did not issue a statement.
Of the five players, the quarterback must repay the highest total for benefits received: $2,500, according to an NCAA press release. Pryor sold his 2008 conference championship ring, a 2009 Fiesta Bowl sportsmanship award and his 2008 Gold Pants, a charm earned by players for beating rival Michigan.
Although each player offered his apology, one pledged to return for his senior season. That would be Posey, one of the team’s top two wide receivers. Reading from a statement, Posey spoke first and said it “hurts him deeply” that he put the university in this position.
“I promise to return for my senior year, to be a leader on and off the field and to receive my degree from The Ohio State University,” he said. “I promise to pride myself (and demonstrate) conduct in the manner that Buckeye Nation can be proud of. I hope that there is a day that you guys and Buckeye Nation and the former players and alumni can one day forgive us because we are truly remorseful and sorry. God bless and go Bucks.”
Posey must repay $1,250 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring and receiving discounted services for $50.
Herron was the only other one to bring a prepared statement but he did not appear to be reading from it line-by-line.
“My mistake and judgment (and) my selfishness are something that hurt me,” he said. “It has really embarrassed me. OSU is definitely a special place in my heart. I hope there will be a day I am forgiven. I just want to say I’m very sorry and I hope Buckeye Nation can forgive me.”
He must repay $1,150 for selling his football jersey, pants and shoes and also receiving discounted services valued at $150. Herron emerged as the team’s top running back this season and was poised to open next season as the starter provided he did not opt to leave early for the NFL draft.
Likewise Adams, a first-team all-Big Ten left tackle, latched onto a starting role this season and was poised for a big senior season after prepping at nearby Dublin Coffman. He must repay $1,000 for selling his 2008 championship ring.
“I want to start off letting you guys know how much this university means to me,” he said. “As a Columbus kid growing up, I’ve watched the Buckeyes on TV. It’s always been a dream to play here. When I did what I did I didn’t intend to hurt anybody or tarnish the great reputation that this university has. I realize that my actions were truly selfish. I just hope that there’s a way somehow that Buckeye Nation and the alumni can forgive me.”
Thomas, a reserve defensive lineman, must repay $1,505 for selling his 2008 Big Ten championship ring, his Gold Pants from the same year and receiving discounted services amounting to $155.
“I don’t think any of us realized how hard this would affect people around us,” he said. “It’s something that is life-changing. This has made us all really look at things very differently. We’re very remorseful to everyone around us. We realize we made a mistake.”