COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio State recruit has told the Buckeyes he will not attend the university, according to several published reports, amid concern that a convicted sex offender had interactions with players and recruits associated with the program.
Alex Anzalone, one of the nation's top linebacker recruits, committed to Ohio State last month in what was turning out to be a stellar class for new coach Urban Meyer.
But Anzalone, of Wyomissing, Pa., will reopen his recruiting process, after being contacted by Charles Eric Waugh, 31, of Ashland, Ky. In 2008, Waugh pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of underage sexual content. And this year, across Twitter, he contacted several Ohio State coaches athletes, and even recruits, including Anzalone. He also posed for photos with some of them.
Dr. Sal Anzalone, Alex's father, told the Reading (Pa.) Eagle late Friday that "something is just not right at Ohio State. It's not for him."
As news spread of Anzalone's decision, and of Waugh's past, the school put out a statement on Friday night.
"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 statement said.
"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."
Anzalone visited Columbus last month during spring game weekend. While there, he and other potential recruits posed for a photo with Waugh, who later posted it on Twitter.
"You don't want your son to go to a place where there's a potential issue," Sal Anzalone told the Eagle. "You expect the staff to have some sort of control on how things are handled with recruits when they visit. This is ridiculous."