- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2011

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says had he known then what he knows now he might not have defended the five Ohio State players who were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl.

With Delany, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith asking for leniency from the NCAA, the five players were permitted to play in the bowl game and wait until this fall to begin serving a five-game suspension for accepting money and tattoos from the owner of a Columbus tattoo parlor.

It wasn’t until more than a week after the Buckeyes’ 31-26 victory over Arkansas that Ohio State officials discovered Tressel had known about the players’ violations for more than nine months.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ A newspaper reports that Ohio State football players are alleged to have improperly traded dozens of items to the owner of a tattoo parlor, receiving tattoos, $14,000, and in one case a sport-utility vehicle.

The report by The Columbus Dispatch says it obtained a letter Thursday that was sent from the U.S. Department of Justice to Ohio State officials in December. The document lists 36 items that players are said to have sold to Eddie Rife or traded for tattoos since 2008.

The newspaper reports that investigators say one player received a 2003 Chevy Tahoe, purchased by Rife for $3,500, in exchange for a watch and passes to the 2010 Rose Bowl.

Only a portion of the transactions were deemed violations by the NCAA, and five players have been suspended for the first five games of the upcoming season. A related NCAA investigation into coach Jim Tressel continues.

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