Ohio State was warned via email about Dennis Talbott’s potentially improper relationships with the school’s football players as early as 2007.
The warnings came long before a recent ESPN report that detailed payments ranging between $20,000 and $40,000 to former Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported late Friday.
In 2007, Jim Tressel received an email about Talbott, a Columbus, Ohio-based freelance photographer who also engages in memorabilia sales, selling autographed merchandise.
The email said that "he has sold over 50 items with underclassmen signatures before their eligibility expires and would seem to be someone that both you and the university is aware of. I have a full report of his eBay activities if you would like to explore further or require documentation."
It is likely that Tressel read the email since Columbus attorney Chris Cicero used the same email address a few years later to alert the former head coach about Ohio State players selling memorabilia. It was Tressel’s failure to disclose Cicero’s information that would ultimately force him to resign.
Despite the 2007 email, Talbott continued to receive free tickets from an Ohio State player to eight Buckeye games during the 2008 season, according to school records.
Ohio State did not specify which player or players were responsible for leaving tickets for Talbott.
Another warning about Talbott reportedly came in the summer of 2009 from the Scioto Reserve Golf Club.
Two club employees contacted members of the Ohio State athletic department after seeing Talbott and Pryor playing a round together. Talbott did not deny golfing with Pryor but claimed he never paid for Pryor to play.