Ohio State investigating potential violations

Ohio State officials are investigating potential NCAA rule violations involving football players just weeks before the Buckeyes play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The school is looking into whether players traded autographs for free tattoos, which qualify as extra benefits. An Ohio State spokesman told me late Wednesday afternoon that the school has "nothing to share" and wouldn't confirm the investigation. But sources told me Tuesday that Ohio State compliance officials have been looking into the matter.

I hear that penalties are possible if not likely, although they may or may not affect the Buckeyes' upcoming Sugar Bowl matchup against Arkansas. We need to take a wait-and-see approach with this story, but obviously the implications could be significant.

The Sugar Bowl already has been taken off the board in Las Vegas.

There has been a lot of speculation about the players involved, and while I've heard several names of marquee players, I won't list any specifics until the school makes some type of announcement.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor addressed the speculation on his Twitter page late Wednesday, writing, "I paid for my tattoos. GoBucks." What would we do without Pryor and his tweeting?

It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds and whether Ohio State will announce anything Thursday. All players went through practice Tuesday before breaking for the holiday. Players are scheduled to report back to campus Sunday and will depart for New Orleans on Dec. 29.

Keep checking the blog as the story unfolds.