One of the most notorious names in sports betting history, and a cautionary tale for athletes everywhere, is a conditionally free man. Former Ohio State star quarterback Art Schlichter was released from state prison in Ohio on June 14, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction records.
He is on Adult Parole Authority under department supervision for five years for crimes related to compulsive gambling and financial fraud.
Records indicate Schlichter’s residence during parole supervision as Franklin County, home of OSU in Columbus.
Aside from being a standout for the University of Michigan’s biggest football rival, Art Schlichter has more Michigan threads: He quarterbacked the Detroit Drive to an Arena Football League title in 1990.
In a comeback after his gambling addiction derailed his NFL career, Schlichter won league MVP as the Drive continued their dominance in the AFL, winning their third straight title. Schlichter was the biggest name to ever play for the Drive.
Art Schlichter served more than nine years in prison
Last year, Schlichter exchanged emails with the Indianapolis Star as his release from a federal prison in Colorado neared. While in prison, the Star reported, Schlichter had been diagnosed with dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
He was also still placing bets from CO prison through women on the outside via telephone, the Franklin County prosecutor told the Star. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Schlichter was released from the Federal Correctional Institute in Florence, Colo., on Aug. 18 of last year.
After his release, Schlichter was then jailed in Trumbull Correctional Institution in northeast Ohio near Warren on Oct. 2 of last year, according to Ohio records. The final eight-plus months of jail time in Ohio stemmed from a conviction for a massive scheme, where he collected millions in exchange for event tickets that he did not deliver on.
Schlichter, 61, was incarcerated in federal prison on May 2012 with an 11-year sentence. Previously, he spent 10 years in Indiana prison on gambling-related crimes, then went on a crusade against casinos and the gambling industry upon his release. He publishing a book, “Busted,” about his struggles.
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Art Schlichter was a four-year starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes under coach Woody Hayes, going 2-2 against rival Michigan. He finished fourth, sixth and fifth, respectively, in Heisman Trophy voting in his final three years in Columbus.
He was drafted No. 4 by the Baltimore Colts, but his gambling troubles continued during his short NFL career. Still, he played parts of three seasons for the Colts, including two after the franchise’s relocation to Indianapolis.
In 1983, however, then-commissioner Pete Rozelle levied on Schlichter the NFL’s first gambling suspension in two decades. Previously, Alex Karras of the Detroit Lions and Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers were forced to miss the 1963 season. Both players still went on to Hall-of-Fame careers.
Schlichter, derailed by compulsive gambling, would have no such comeback.
Expert: Athletes more at-risk for compulsive gambling
Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council of Problem Gambling, told PlayColorado this year that student athletes are at a higher risk for problem gambling.
It’s an issue also being raised by former Michigan wide receiver Amani Toomer, who has worked as a spokesperson for the GVC Foundation in educating athletes about the pitfalls of gambling in their careers.
Michigan residents suffering from problem gambling should call the Michigan Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-270-7117.