Five former Ohio State football players involved in the 2010 “Tattoogate” scandal have asked the NCAA for their records to be restored after they were removed as punishment following the NCAA’s investigation. A statement released on the Twitter account of ex-Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor requests that the NCAA reinstate the team’s 12-1 record along with individual records, while mentioning the legacy of their coach, Jim Tressel.
The statement comes on the heels of the NCAA’s new name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation, which allows college athletes to earn money while remaining eligible. Pryor, along with ex-Buckeyes receiver DeVier Posey, running back Daniel Herron, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, were suspended in December 2010 for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling items such as championship rings, jerseys and gold pants trinkets for beating Michigan. The players also received free or discounted tattoos from a local parlor.
On top of their suspensions, the players, nicknamed the “Tattoo 5,” were forced to repay various amounts of money for the benefits they received.
“The affirmation of the NCAA athletes’ right to make a living from their name, image, and likeness is a huge step in the right direction. Armed with the correct resources and support, we know they’ll show what we felt to be true all along — not letting athletes capitalize on what ultimately is their hard work was unjust and unnecessary,” said the statement, which was co-signed by all five players.
“Now that the fundamental right has been granted to a new generation of athletes, now that they finally have the freedom to share in some of the millions of dollars in revenue they generate for their coaches, their institutions, their conferences, and the NCAA as a whole, we would like to see our hard-won accomplishments reinstated.”
The statement notes that the 2010 Buckeyes team went 12-1, won the Big Ten championship and defeated Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Despite the NCAA’s suspensions, all five players were allowed to participate in the bowl game. Tressel was initially suspended two games for the 2011 season for knowingly playing ineligible players, a punishment that was later increased to five games at Tressel’s request. Tressel eventually resigned on May 30, 2011, even though university president E. Gordon Gee had previously stated that he would not lose his job.
This is not the first time the NCAA has been asked to retroactively change past decisions based on NIL laws. Calls have been made for Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy to be reinstated, too. The trophy was taken away from Bush following a 2010 investigation into impermissible benefits he received while in college. The Heisman Trust has said that it would gladly welcome Bush back to the list of winners should the NCAA change its rules.