Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Art Schlichter, whose NFL career was ruined by his addiction to gambling, was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison.
The latest conviction resulted from a scam to sell tickets to high-profile sporting events. Marion County (Ind.) Superior Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt accepted the terms of a plea agreement in the case and ordered Schlichter's sentence to run concurrent to a 60-month stretch in federal prison for money laundering.
The judge ordered Schlichter to pay restitution of $500,000 to 22 victims. Prosecutors acknowledged, however, that his victims are unlikely to ever receive restitution, given the state of Schichter's finances and pending prison time.
"It's very unlikely that Art Schichter will ever pay back all of the people that he's ripped off in his life," conceded deputy prosecutor Larry Brodeur.
A former first-round draft choice, and onetime Ohio State star, Schlichter pleaded guilty last month to corrupt business influence and to being a habitual offender. Schlichter has now been convicted at least 10 times since 1995 of crimes including or related to forgery, fraud and theft.
Schlichter, 44, was the Colts' first-round choice in the 1982 draft, when the franchise was still located in Baltimore. Following a rookie year in which he appeared in three games, he was suspended by the league in 1983 for gambling on NFL games. Schlichter that year actually turned to NFL security officials, essentially turning himself in, as he sought to gain protection from bookies to whom he owed large debts.
He remains one of few players ever suspended by the league for gambling.
In 1984, Schlichter returned to the Colts, but was then released in 1985. In all, Schlichter appeared in just 13 regular-season games, completing 91 of 202 passes for 1,006 yards, with three touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. At one point, he attempted to revive his career by playing in the Arena Football League.