It is unclear how many games Terrelle Pryor would have been eligible for had he returned to Ohio State for his senior year, and it is still uncertain if he’ll enter the NFL’s Supplemental Draft. Columbus attorney Larry James presented a written statement in which Pryor stated: “In the best interests of my teammates, I’ve made the decision to forgo my senior year of football at The Ohio State University.”
When asked if Pryor will make himself eligible for the 2011 NFL season by entering the Supplemental Draft, James responded “I would hope so. Also, he would hope so. But he’s going to take the next couple of days to get his head together.”
Gene Smith, Ohio State’s athletic director, commented “we understand Terrelle’s decision and wish him well in this next phase of his life. We hope he returns to The Ohio State University one day to finish his degree.”
The announcement comes just a week after Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel resigned amidst a controversy of players receiving improper benefits. He had knowledge of at least some of perks being given to players, including exchanging memorabilia for tattoos and players such as Pryor receiving use of vehicles.
Pryor had already been suspended for the first five games of Ohio State’s 2011 season. He is now the subject of an expanded probe into the numerous used vehicles Pryor has driven.
Aaron Kniffin, the car salesman who sold the vehicles to Pryor, said in a statement: “The deals that I did for Ohio State student-athletes were no different than any of the other 10,000-plus deals that I’ve done for all my other customers.” However, Pryor has been stopped for traffic violations three times during this period, and all three vehicles listed Kniffin or the dealership where he worked as the legal owner.
Sports Illustrated speculates that he has driven as many as eight different cars in his three years in Columbus. Most recently, Pryor arrived to a team meeting driving a newer black Nissan 350Z. The sports car had temporary plates, which will add more concern to purchase arrangements for vehicles.
Jeff Mauk of Jack Maxton Chevrolet, Inc., and Jason Gross, owner of Auto Direct Columbus, Inc., complied with requests to offer affidavits to school officials. Transactions associated with Ohio State athletes need to be cleared through their compliance department.
“If the OSU Compliance Department approved the transaction terms, the transaction would be finalized and the vehicle would be delivered to the customer,” Mauk said in his statement
The NFL Supplemental Draft is an option for players that failed to declare for the league’s annual entry draft held in April of each year. Some miss the initial filing for the NFL draft, while others take this route due to concerns or changes in college eligibility. 40 players have entered the NFL vis this route, the highest profile player being Brian Bosworth drafted by the Seattle Seahawks.
Teams submit a bid to the NFL equal to a draft pick in the following NFL Draft. The highest bid receives negotiating rights to the player and surrenders that pick in the next draft. The Seahawks won the rights to Bosworth by offering their first pick in the 1998 draft in July, 1997.
“So far, there have been no applicants,” a league official told ESPN regarding a supplemental draft. “If there is one, the supplemental draft would be held mid-to-late July, no later than 10 days before the first training camp opens.”
Pryor is expected to apply for the supplemental draft, but his godfather and legal guardian, Willie Burns, commented that Pryor “says no one minute and then he may go the next.”
Fellow Buckeye student athletes are not able to comment on the situation, but one of Pryor’s former teammates said “I haven’t spoken with Terrelle and I don’t care to. It really sucks Coach Tress had to take the fall for a couple idiots’ mistakes.”