By Bruce Hooley
Bob DiGeronimo, the disassociated Ohio State booster at the center of the “failure to monitor” charge the NCAA levied against the school on Thursday, says OSU athletic director Gene Smith is lying in an attempt to save his job.
“I understand when people are trying to save their jobs that they’re going to say and do certain things,” DiGeronimo said in an interview with Mark “Munch” Bishop on Cleveland’s ESPN 1540 WKNR2. “But to out and out lie, those things are a little hurtful to me, you know?”
DiGeronimo said Smith never contacted him by telephone in 2006 to reduce the booster’s involvement with OSU’s coaches or players.
DiGeronimo said the first time he spoke to Smith was upon meeting him during a lunch with former Ohio State coach John Cooper in 2008.
DiGeronimo said OSU’s assertion in its response to the NCAA that he hid in a locker in an attempt to overhear a pregame speech by then-coach Jim Tressel in 2001 or 2002 is not true.
DiGeronimo also said OSU did not attempt to remove him from the team’s sideline in 2003, as it contends to the NCAA.
“I was on the sideline until 2006,” DiGeronimo said. “So, I mean, for them to say that something happened and I was escorted out of there, like, wow.”
DiGeronimo admitted to being involved in OSU players receiving cash in violation of NCAA rules at charity event he helped organize in Februrary, but maintained that Smith is using him as a scapegoat in an attempt to save his job.
“I’m not going to let somebody slander me, whether it be Gene Smith or anybody else,” DiGeronimo said. “I just can’t let them get away with that.”
Hear the entire DiGeronimo interview on Cleveland’s ESPN 1540 WKNR2 at www.espncleveland.com