A day after the news about the contact between a convicted sex offender Charles Eric Waugh and Ohio State student-athletes, the OSU athletic department released an official statement addressing the matter.
“The issue surrounding the individual from Kentucky is being treated by the Department of Athletics as a student-athlete welfare issue,” the OSU athletic department said in a press release late Friday. “When the University became aware that this individual had been seen in pictures-taken in public places-with student-athletes, proactive precautions were taken and the Department of Athletics alerted more than 1,000 OSU student-athletes about this person.”
On Thursday, The Lantern obtained an email sent from OSU athletic director for compliance Doug Archie informing Buckeye student-athletes that the university was aware of the contact made between OSU players and Waugh.
Listed on Kentucky’s sex offender registry, Waugh, 31, made contact with OSU student-athletes and coaches through social media, using the Twitter handle, @BdubsTriviaGuru.
One of the players Waugh made contact with was four-star linebacker recruit Alex Anzalone from OSU’s 2013 class. In a photo circulating around the web, Anzalone is seen with Waugh, fellow 2013 OSU recruit Joey Bosa and Notre Dame verbal-commit Mike Heuerman.
On Friday, Anzalone announced his de-commitment from the OSU 2013 class. At this time, it is not clear whether the de-commitment is related to his contact with Waugh.
Other OSU student-athletes in contact with Waugh on Twitter include Buckeyes football wide receiver Verlon Reed and former OSU offensive lineman and Cleveland Browns signee, J.B. Shugarts on May 3 and April 28, respectively,
In the email sent to OSU student-athletes, Archie warned student athletes of the potential problems that could arise when making contact with a registered sex offender.
“The individuals who you associate with on social networking sites (i.e., Twitter, Facebook) can have negative implications on your reputation and the university,” Archie said in the email. “Please remember to choose your ‘social media friends’ carefully!”
Archie’s email also included a mugshot of Waugh, as well as links to informational sites about how to block Twitter and Facebook users.
Waugh was not made available after The Lantern requested comments from him on Thursday. However, Charlene Waugh, Charles’ Waugh’s mother, told The Lantern she was not aware that the email had been sent to OSU student-athletes, but said that plans were in the works “to clear her son’s name on Tuesday.”
In its official statement, the OSU athletic department said Waugh is not associated with OSU in any manner.
“He is not a booster. He has not engaged in any activities on behalf of the University,” the athletic department said. “The Department of Athletics will continue to monitor this issue and it will remain proactive in its efforts with regard to precautions for its student-athletes.”