When Alex Anzalone backed off his commitment to Ohio State on Friday, his father left no doubt about the reason. He was concerned that a registered sex offender had contact with OSU players and recruits, including his son. Alex Anzalone, a Wyomissing, Pa., native ranked among the country’s top linebacker prospects, posed for a photograph with the man during his visit to OSU last month.
“You don't want your son to go to a place where there's a potential issue [like this]," Sal Anzalone told the Reading (Pa.) Eagle newspaper. “You expect the [football staff] to have some sort of control on how things are handled with recruits when they visit. This is ridiculous.”
He added: “Something's just not right at Ohio State.”
A day later, after speaking Friday night with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, Sal Anzalone changed his tone. He told the Reading (Pa.) Eagle newspaper his son will still consider attending OSU.
“I want people to understand, I have no beef with Ohio State, at all,” said Sal Anzalone, who declined to discuss his talk with Meyer. “My issue is not with Ohio State: It’s a great institution, they have a phenomenal president, Urban Meyer is nothing but a class act to me.
“There's nothing wrong with Ohio State; it's a great institution. When I said there was something wrong with Ohio State, I was talking about the visit - there was something wrong with the visit, not with Ohio State.”
Charles Eric Waugh, 31, of Ashland, Ky., who pleaded guilty in 2008 to downloading child pornography from the Internet, recently began reaching out via Facebook and Twitter to dozens of OSU players and recruits. After the spring game, he posed for a photo with Anzalone and two other recruits at a Columbus restaurant.
“We can't implicate Ohio State for what happened (during that visit),” Sal Anzalone told the newspaper. “That's wrong. That had nothing to do with the university itself. I don't hold them accountable; they're not responsible for what fans do; it's not their fault.”
Sal Anzalone initially said his son, who holds scholarship offers from nearly every major program in the nation, had eliminated OSU from consideration. On Saturday, he said, “There's no reason we wouldn't consider the Buckeyes.”
“We love Ohio State,” he said. “The academic opportunities there are tremendous.”