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OSU says 3 more players took benefits

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Three more football players are in hot water at Ohio State.

As a result, Ohio State might be in even more trouble with the NCAA.

The school reported late Thursday afternoon that running back Jordan Hall, defensive back Corey Brown and defensive back Travis Howard each received impermissible benefits of $300 or less earlier this year — after several players were suspended for accepting cash and free tattoos from the subject of a federal drug-trafficking probe.

All three were suspended for the Buckeyes season-opening game on Saturday against Akron at Ohio Stadium.

“We take this matter seriously,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement.

“Our commitment to institutional integrity is steadfast, and we must hold everyone associated with our athletics programs accountable for lapses in judgment. We believe in transparency with the NCAA, all regulatory bodies and all of Buckeye Nation.”

Hall and Howard, both juniors, were listed as the starters on Ohio State’s two-deep roster for the game. Brown, who goes by the nickname “Pittsburgh” to distinguish him from Buckeyes wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown, was listed as a backup at safety.

Ohio State is awaiting final word on what sanctions it will receive from the NCAA for memorabilia-for-cash violations which occurred in 2010 that led to coach Jim Tressel’s forced resignation in May. Several players have already been suspended and the 2010 season was vacated because of the earlier problems.

The latest admission could affect Ohio State’s previous case before the NCAA, which was heard on Aug. 12.

According to a release issued by the university, after finding out about the violations involving Hall, Brown and Howard, Ohio State looked into the situation and self-reported the infractions to the NCAA and the Big Ten. All three were suspended from the team, with the university then asking the NCAA for their reinstatement for the rest of the season.

The university also is considering institutional sanctions for the three.

Smith declined further comment.