Sugar Bowl CEO lobbied Ohio St. to keep players eligible

December 30, 2010

Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan admitted to lobbying Ohio State officials to keep their players eligible for Tuesday's bowl game against Arkansas.

The NCAA suspended five Buckeyes, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, last week for receiving improper benefits in 2009.

The players were penalized for selling awards, gifts and university apparel.

But the group remained eligible for the Sugar Bowl and will miss the Buckeyes' first five games in 2011.

Meanwhile, the NCAA defended its recent rulings in violations cases involving Ohio State and Auburn, saying it does not play favorites or make decisions based on financial considerations.

•Penn State athletic director Tim Curley plans to meet with Joe Paterno next month and expects the 84-year old coach to return for the 2011 season. Paterno's contract runs through next season. He is the all-time leader in bowl victories with 24. … Ohio State and Georgia have agreed to play a two-game series next decade. The schools are scheduled to square off in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

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