The Ohio State University athletic department sent out the following statement Friday evening regarding the Charles Eric Waugh situation:
Statement from The Ohio State University Dept. of Athletics:
The issue surrounding the individual from Kentucky is being treated by the Department of Athletics as a student-athlete welfare issue. 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 Ohio State student-athletes about this person. The email message also reminded them of the negative implications that can be realized through simple associations on social networking sites. This individual is not associated with Ohio State. He is not a booster. He has not engaged in any activities on behalf of the University. 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.
Below is the email sent this week to alert Ohio State's Student-Athletes:
The University has become aware that an individual who is listed on Kentucky's sex offender registry has recently been seen in pictures with our student-athletes. [A news article reported that he pleaded guilty to five counts of "possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor" and noted that the images were all of boys younger than 16.]. The individual's name is Charles Eric Waugh. We have reason to believe that he has a Twitter account under the name: BdubsTriviaGuru. This account has sent tweets to student-athletes and coaches. We strongly recommend that you take the steps (see links below) to block his access to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. In addition, we've enclosed a photograph and a link to a news article regarding this individual.
As a reminder, the individuals who you associate with on social networking sites (i.e., Twitter, Facebook) can have negative implications on your reputation and the University. Please remember to choose your "social media friends" carefully!
Analysis after the jump:
Extreme credit to the university for not only their swift response but owning the message, particularly in response to the somewhat loaded statements from Dr. Anzalone earlier this evening. The athletic department has been the real stars of an unthinkably difficult, trying, and bizarre situation.
The specific word choice regarding "the individual from Kentucky", "not associated with Ohio State", "not a booster", "not engaged in any activities on behalf of the University", and no mention of prospective student athletes1 makes it pretty clear that the school is doing everything in it can to distance itself (and appropriately so) from everything to do with the situation (besides the obvious vow to safe guard student athletes).
While it's completely possible the family of the third recruit in the story still committed to the Buckeyes, Joey Bosa, will sit down and take a reasoned, more long term approach to whether or not to honor Joey's existing verbal commitment to the Buckeyes, it shouldn't come as a surprise nor should they be faulted in any way should they choose to reopen the process or pursue other options altogether.
1. It's completely fair to assume this is because of NCAA scrutiny and what universities can and can't say about prospective student athletes. Still, one would think it would be feasible to sculpt a message to install more confidence to other existing recruits and those recruits' families. ↩