Star linebacker Alex Anzalone decommits from Ohio State after photo with sex offender
After its spring game last month, Ohio State picked up a commitment from linebacker Alex Anzalone for its 2013 class. Anzalone, of Wyomissing, Pa., is a four-star recruit and the 16th-ranked linebacker in the country, according to Rivals.com. But on Friday, Anzalone decommitted from the Buckeyes after a picture of him with a Kentucky sex offender began circulating on the Internet.
Following the Scarlet vs. Gray spring game, for which Anzalone was in attendance on an unofficial visit, 31-year-old Charles Waugh (pictured), who was convicted on child pornography charges four years ago, asked Anzalone and fellow recruits Mike Heuerman and Joey Bosa for a picture with them. Waugh posted the photo along with others taken that day on his Twitter account, which has since been deactivated. According to ESPN, that was disturbing enough for Anzalone, who already wasn’t solid on his committment, to pull back and reconsider his options.
The university has been aware of Waugh’s previous interactions with current and former student-athletes both in-person and over social media. OSU’s compliance department sent an email this week to Buckeyes athletes warning them about Waugh.
“You would think that these kinds of people would be kept at a distance away from recruits,” Anzalone’s father, Sal, told ESPN. “The fact that he got close to recruits was the issue. Keep people like this away from them. I can’t be everywhere.”
It’s unclear if Anzalone’s decommitment and the university’s email are related. OSU’s student newspaper obtained the email on Thursday, the day before the Buckeyes lost Anzalone. But the linebacker’s father confirmed he played a part in his son’s decision.
“Separate yourself,” Sal Anzalone said, “because you don’t want the NCAA thinking that you’re being influenced by this joke.”