Blacklisted by OSU, Talbott Now Works MGOBLUE

UPDATE (Sept. 21, 2011, 12:36am PT): The ASSOCIATED PRESS corrects the record, noting that Dennis Talbott did not cite his affiliation with This Week In Football - or Icon SMI - when obtaining a sideline media credential under the name “Jay Talbott” for the Sept. 3 Michigan-Western Michigan game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

Dennis Talbott Ohio Sports Weekly

(Website? Dormant. Talbott Facebook page? Awash in Michigan pics!) 

Instead, Talbott duped Michigan into gifting him a field pass by noting his affiliation with the website OhioSportsWeekly.com. What Talbott neglected to tell UM when he obtained his precious credential on August 31 was that he himself owned the OhioSportsWeekly.com domain - and had slapped up an empty storefront at the web address designed only to persuade media relations personnel into thinking Talbott was a member of the working media.

In the three weeks since Talbott shot the Michigan-Western Michigan game, he has added dozens of photos of the game - including one of himself shooting the action from the sideline - to his Facebook page. Yet the so-called media outlet Talbott claimed as his sole reason for being at the Big House, OhioSportsWeekly.com, not only hasn’t been updated since the UM-WMU game, the site has remained virtually unchanged since Feb. 1, 2011.

UPDATE (Sept. 20, 2011, 1:05pm ET): Michael Rothstein of ESPN reports that after learning from the SbB report below that Ohio State-blacklisted photog Dennis Talbott had gained sideline media access for the Sept. 3 Michigan-Western Michigan football game at Michigan Stadium, the school announced today that Talbott “has been banned by the Michigan athletic department.

Dennis Talbott: Banned by Michigan after SbB report

(Talbott fallback? Shooting rogue OSU booster’s favorite high school coach)

Rothstein reported that Talbott used an “unfamiliar” name while claiming affiliation with the very same publication that scored him sidelines at Ohio State beginning in 2009 - and access to the high school coach who has sent the most players to Ohio State the past decade, Cleveland-Glenville head coach Ted Ginn, Sr.

- - -

Three months ago an anonymous source alleged to ESPN that Dennis Talbott, a Central Ohio-based businessman with a sudden, new-found love for photography, “made at least 35 payments to [Terrelle] Pryor in 2009 and 2010 for signing memorabilia, for a total payout of between $20,000 and $40,000.

Dennis Talbott shooting Michigan game on Sept. 3, 2011

(Banned By Ohio State, Talbott Now Employing Northern Exposure)

Following the ESPN report, SbB revealed details of those transactions and an eBay account and now-defunct company from which Talbott sold dozens of collectibles featuring the signatures and likenesses of then-current Buckeye football players.

So how did Talbott acquire the access needed to enable such a “business“?

One way was to affiliate himself with a small Ohio-based online publication called This Week In Football. Talbott struck up that relationship in large part to (somehow) obtain photographer media credentials from Ohio State - despite having never shot as a professional photographer until 2009. Talbott actually stumbled upon the idea of posing as a pro photog after snapping some pics from the sidelines of 2008 Fiesta Bowl.

Jim Tressel signing memorabilia for Dennis Talbott

Starting with the 2009 Ohio State football season, armed with sideline access provided by Ohio State, Talbott accumulated his own product - which he reproduced for signings  and sales - while also gaining the acccess needed to develop personal relationships with players like Pryor, DeVier Posey, Doug Worthington and Thaddeus Gibson.

It wasn’t long before Ohio State-licensed memorabilia dealers caught on to Talbott’s “photography” con thanks to his prior reputation as an unafraid purveyor of the sale of unlicensed OSU product - along with his alleged penchant for forging the signature of a head coach known for his flagpin affinity.

It was that steady stream of beefs from upstanding memorabilia dealers, not anyone at Ohio State compliance or within the athletic department, that caused Talbott to eventually be stripped of his prized, Ohio State sideline pass. Between that loss, his eBay account being outed and the 2011 ESPN reports, Talbott’s trafficking of Ohio State current player memorabilia, save a stealth eBay account or three, seems to have ground to a halt.

Sufficiently shunned at the ‘Shoe, there was only one thing left for a hopeless black-marketer like Talbott to do.

Work MGOBLUE.

Dennis Talbott Facebook Photo Gallery

(All of Talbott’s shots from the Michigan-W. Michigan game on Sept. 3)

Thanks to his previous association with a small sports photo distribution company called Icon SMI - derived only from the legitimacy provided by OSU sideline access - Talbott was given sideline photographer media credentials by Michigan for its opening game of the season against Western Michigan. A staggering fact of which, if Talbott’s profile photo on his personal Facebook account is any indication, he’s quite proud.

As he’s paid by Icon SMI only for individual shots bought by media outlets, Talbott’s relationship with company has always been more about accesss to players than actual compensation. So it was gravy for him to be paid - albeit a modest sum - by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for this shot of Denard Robinson from the Sept. 3 game:

Dennis Talbott shot of Denard Robinson

(Okay I added the inset)

Probably not a coincidence that Talbott’s prize-winning shot was of Denard Robinson, considering the seeming vast demand (and supply) of Denard Robinson-signed” items for sale online. (Here’s another sweet 16 shot from the artist formerly know as “D. Jay Talbott” - coming to an eBay auction near you!)

So far there’s no obvious indication that Talbot transacted monetary gain from UM media access like he did Ohio State, but remember, our favorite fake photog isn’t a trader - he’s an investor!

Don’t believe me? Ask Thaddeus Gibson and Doug Worthington.

While still current Ohio State players, Gibson and Worthington were receiving a wide variety of NCAA-rule-violating benefits from Columbus-based NFL agent Brad Cicala as Talbott was employing his photography-fueled grift. So if Talbott wanted a Pryor-like arrangement with Gibson and Worthington, he’d have to go through an NFL agent.

Below is a shot from an ESPN’s Outside The Lines investigative piece in which Talbott was seen - coincidentally or not - outside the office complex where Cicala’s Columbus agency was located.

Dennis Talbott outside Brad Cicala's office on ESPN's Outside The Lines

(More from ESPN’s exhaustive reporting on Talbott)

Cicala also currently reps journeyman NFL player and former Buckeye Roy Hall. It was Hall who helped Cicala connect the NFL agent with then-current Buckeye Worthington - who helped Cicala get in with Gibson, a former Cleveland-area high school star. Cicala later signed Gibson as an NFL client, a coup considering Gibson’s Ohio State position coach at the time was Luke Fickell - who has long been known for his close relationship with Cleveland-area NFL agent Neil Cornrich.

Helping Cicala land Worthington and Gibson was benefits like sweet seats to the Oct. 28, 2009, Jay-Z concert in Columbus, an actual recording studio in Gibson’s Columbus apartment and, of course, Cicala’s arrangement with Talbott.

But then again, who’s to say Worthington and Gibson wouldn’t have signed with Cicala anyway!

Just look at OSU booster Bobby DiGeronimo, who enjoyed the company of dozens of Buckeyes over the years at his annual charity event in Cleveland despite providing them no benefits of any kind.

Why, I still can’t believe Bobby D. threw away his 30-year relationship with Ohio State because, in a completely isolated case, he felt like paying three Ohio State football players $200 each at his 2011 charity event.

Three players who’d never started a game.

With envelopes.

Did I mention it was a one-time deal?

Brooks can be reached on Twitter, Facebook and directly at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

Gold Pants Has Ex-Buckeye Dancing The Dougie

Earlier today I reported that a 2008 Ohio State gold pants charm given only to Buckeye football players who beat Michigan was seen during an episode of Pawn Stars on the History Channel last night.


Last December the NCAA suspended Ohio State football players Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas five games during the 2011 for, in part, selling their 2008 gold pants charms for cash and tattoos.

According to the man who sold the ‘08 pants on the show to Pawn Stars cast member Rick Harrison, the player-only keepsake was previously owned by ex-Ohio State defensive lineman Doug Worthington, who was a teammate of Pryor and Thomas on the 2008 team that beat Michigan 42-7.

Worthington appeared on WBNS-FM in Columbus today and assured show hosts Anthony Rothman and Dimitrious Stanley that all five pairs of his gold pants “are accounted for.” Though Worthington admitted later in the interview that he hadn’t seen his gold pants since 2009 and that all five pairs were apparently in the possession of family members.

Worthington also noted during the interview that there was a possibility his gold pants were stolen when his home was burglarized last year - but that he then subsequently recalled giving the priceless Ohio State items to his family.

Who knew just how much gold pants could enhance “The Dougie” dance?

That is, at least in Columbus. And Indianapolis perhaps?

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Ohio St. Item Cited By NCAA Seen On Pawn Stars

Two pairs of Ohio State gold pants, which are charms given to Buckeye football players who beat Michigan, were featured items Monday night on a new episode of History Channel’s Pawn Stars.

Doug Worthington Gold Pants on Pawn Stars

On Dec. 23, 2010, the NCAA suspended five Buckeye football players for five games during the 2011 season after Ohio State reported the players sold 2008 and 2009 player-only OSU gear and memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor owner. In addition to selling the items for cash, Ohio State reported that players also bartered Buckeye memorabilia for tattoos.

Among the Ohio State items cited by the NCAA in its report were 2008 gold pants sold by Terrelle Pryor and Solomon Thomas.

Ohio State players suspended five games for selling 2008 Gold Pants

Of the two pairs of OSU gold pants sold in the Pawn Stars episode, one was from the same 2008 season.

The items were sold by a man identified as “Bob” to Pawn Stars cast member Rick Harrison.

Here is the pertinent exchange from the television show regarding the 2008 Ohio State player-only memorabilia between Bob and Harrison: Read more…

DUI Doesn’t Keep OSU’s Worthington Off the Field

When the #2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes took the field to open up their season this afternoon with Youngstown State, their redshirt junior defensive tackle Doug Worthington was there with them. No not as an emotional leader on the sidelines in his sweatsuit, but with the Buckeyes on the field in uniform.

Doug Worthington

A little more than a month ago Worthington, 20, was caught driving his white Cadillac Escalade with a blood alcohol content somewhere between .o8 and .17. That’s not enough to keep him out of today’s game, however. Coach Jim Tressel allowed Worthington, who figures to be a key contributor to the Buckeyes, to take the field despite the fact that his case is still open and headed for pre-trial on October 1st.

THE DETROIT FREE PRESS (that’s in Michigan where they don’t think too kindly of OSU) reminds us that Tressel sat out third string quarterback Antonio Henton for seven games last season while waiting out his case for an arrest for soliciting a prostitute. So a third stringer looking for some love, and by love I mean sex with a professional, sits out seven games and a key contributor driving 42 in a 25 with some booze in the system gets more playing time.

Read more…