10-plus years prison term for ex-NFL, Ohio St QB

Associated Press Modified: May 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm •  Published: May 4, 2012
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The painful saga of ex-Ohio State and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Art Schlichter came to a close Friday when a federal judge sentenced him to nearly 11 years in prison for scamming participants in what authorities called a million-dollar sports ticket scheme.

Schlichter, 52, had been down this road before, spending time in prison in Indiana related to his gambling addiction, which he claimed to have overcome. But he continued to struggle, by his own admission, and his stumbles included testing positive for cocaine use while on house arrest following his guilty plea in the ticket case.

The 127-month sentence handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson in Columbus reflects both punishment for the ticket scheme and time for violating probation from Schlichter's 1997 forgery and theft conviction in Indiana.

Schlichter's original plea deal last year in federal court called for him to serve eight years in prison, to run at the same time as a 10-year state prison sentence on related charges.

But Marion Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins in Indianapolis refused to cancel Schlichter's arrest warrant in Indiana until the extra time was added.

The new deal, which Schlichter agreed to in the fall, increased the federal time by 27 months. Watson signed off on the deal Friday before sentencing Schlichter.

Watson opened the hearing by telling Schlichter he was the perfect candidate for receiving maximum consecutive sentences, and then proceeded to detail over several minutes all of Schlichter's past convictions and sentences. He called Schlichter's criminal history shameful and predatory.

Assuming Schlichter earns federal good-time behavior credit, he'll serve just over nine years in federal prison, compared with just over seven under the original deal.

He'll still have a few months left on his state prison term at that point, although he'll also receive credit for jail time since his February arrest.

When Schlichter's turn came to speak, Watson forced him to turn around and address victims of the scam, as well as his mother, Mila Schlichter. He apologized tearfully.

State and federal authorities say Schlichter, whose NFL career was derailed by a gambling addiction, promised college and NFL game tickets, including the Super Bowl, but never delivered despite receiving thousands of dollars in payments.

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