Santonio Holmes issue closed out
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State has closed a brief investigation of alleged payments by an agent to former Buckeyes football player Santonio Holmes five years ago after consulting with the NCAA, which is not pursuing the matter.
The alleged incident was reported in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated.
"During an interview on Wednesday, Holmes stated he never received money or benefits from an agent," Ohio State said in a statement released Friday. "The institution has contacted the Agents, Gambling and Amateurism staff at the NCAA, and the NCAA has stated it does not intend to investigate anything further related to the allegations."
The university did not say why the NCAA was closing the books on the matter, but since it allegedly took place in November 2005, it would be beyond the organization's four-year statute of limitations for infractions.
In the SI article, former agent Josh Luchs said he approached Holmes in November 2005, right after Holmes' junior season at Ohio State. Holmes, who caught the winning touchdown pass in the 2009 Super Bowl while with the Pittsburgh Steelers, now plays for the New York Jets.
"We met him outside the football building," Luchs said in the article. "And he said, 'Listen, I want to save you the time. We don't need to meet. I've been taking money from [an agent] the last couple years, and he's been taking care of my family too."
Coach Jim Tressel said Thursday that he was troubled by the report but was reassured by Holmes' denial.
"Oh, you're always concerned when anything is brought up," Tressel said. "I personally haven't talked to Tone. [Ohio State assistant coach] Darrel' [Hazell] has, because we wanted to get a hold of him right away. ... Even his statements to Darrell obviously put your mind at ease. But you never like to be mentioned in any other way other than glowing."
Tressel said he did not bring up the Sports Illustrated article as a cautionary tale to his players this week because the top-ranked Buckeyes have enough to deal with preparing for the big showdown at No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday night.
Tressel, who has frequently spoken out about agents who make improper inducements to college athletes, said there is a constant threat to student-athletes' eligibility.
"I guess it just reminds you that stuff is out there," he said. "We've told our guys many times that there are 1,200 registered agents and only 300 have clients, so that means 900 desperate folks. And desperate people do desperate things, whether it's to try to get clients or to try to clear their name or whatever. So, it's part of life."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press