Columbus tattoo parlor owner charged in federal court

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The man whose purchases of Ohio State memorabilia  from and discounted tattoos given to football players led to multi-game suspension for five Buckeyes has been charged in federal court, the Associated Press is reporting.

Edward Rife, the owner of a Columbus tattoo parlor, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 200 pounds of marijuana, and one count of money laundering, the documents showed.  Rife could face up to 20 years in prison.

It was the federal investigation into Rife that ultimately brought the potential of NCAA violations to the attention of head coach Jim Tressel.  Rife’s attorney, however, says the drug and money laundering charges are in no way connected to the five players suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season.

“His criminal allegations and what are going on in federal court really has little or nothing to do with the Ohio State football players,” attorney Stephen Palmer said. “He’s dealing with a very troubling time anyway and to have the heat from the Ohio State situation come down on him has been terrible. …

“He didn’t want any harm to come on any players or the university or the program or coach Tressel or anyone. If he’s responsible for anything, it’s being a quality Ohio State fan.”

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor running back Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, tackle Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas were all found by the NCAA to have sold OSU-themed items — Big Ten title rings, gold pants for beating Michigan, etc. — and accepted discounts on tattoos from Rife’s parlor not available to the general public.

Tressel learned of the potential issues in April of 2010 from a lawyer and former OSU football player, but covered up his knowledge of the issue for more than nine months.  The head coach was ultimately slapped with a five-game suspension and $250,000 fine for failing to disclose the information.  He will appear before the NCAA in August, and could be subject to further sanctions.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.