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OSU boots booster for violations

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On top of announcing that Ohio State football players DeVier Posey, Dan Herron and Marcus Hall are suspended for Saturday’s game at Nebraska, athletic director Gene Smith also announced that Robert DiGeronimo, the booster who overpaid the players resulting in their suspensions, has been “disassociated” from OSU.

In a letter dated Sept. 20 issued to DiGeronimo from Smith, the Department of Athletics informed him that he has been disassociated from the university because of his “failure to meet with the university to discuss these important issues,” pertaining to

DiGeronimo not consenting to being interviewed by OSU, though he did talk to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The athletic department took their time before making the move, hoping DiGeronimo would consent to an interview before ultimately disassociating him.

“It was an effort to try and gain cooperation before we ultimately disassociate. We realized that was not going to happen, so we ultimately disassociated,” Smith said. “On this particular one, we made a request last week when we saw that this might be coming, requesting that consideration be given to try to expedite this.”

So what does it mean to be disassociated?

In the football program distributed at every home football game, it states on a page titled, “NCAA Compliance Regulations,” that disassociation results in “a loss of all benefits or privileges offered by the department of athletics and may involve other penalties as appropriate.”

Smith’s letter states DiGeronimo is to be “completely eliminated from any involvement in the University’s athletics program.” He is also not allowed to donate any money to the school, employ student-athletes, purchase season tickets for athletic events, access complimentary tickets, contact any student-athletes, coaches or administrators, or attend any practice or competition relating to a sporting event.

DiGeronimo’s tickets to the games have been “deactivated” from the Colorado game onward. In fact, not even his family members are allowed to give him a ticket if they buy one.

This all stems from the fact that DiGeronimo overpaid five football players — Posey, Herron and Hall, as well as Marvin Fellows and Etienne Sabino — for summer jobs.

Herron was overpaid $292.50. He was paid for 104 hours of work, even though he only worked 84.5 hours.

Posey was overpaid by $720, being paid for 70 hours of work, despite actually working only 21.5 hours. He also received $102 in impermissible benefits for a round of golf.

Hall was overpaid by $225. He was paid for 66.5 hours of work, despite only working 51 hours.

DiGeronimo is a booster, who is defined in the football program as a person who has ever “made any financial contributions to Ohio State,” among other reasons.

The program also defines what “extra benefits” are, which includes giving cash or loans of any amount, and also states a booster who provides extra benefits “may be disassociated from the university’s athletics program.”

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