Ottawa Rough Riders

Art Schlichter - Quarterback - 1988 - Ohio State

By-CFL-H

 

Art Schlichter finished fourth, sixth and fifth in the Heisman balloting in three years at Ohio State.

 

excerpt associated press - globe & mail Nov 28, 1988

His release from the Ottawa Rough Riders came on Oct. 11, one day after he ended a 30-day stay on the reserve list because of a rib injury he sustained in one of the five games he started for the team.

 

For the year, he completed 41 passes in 89 attempts for 658 yards and three touchdowns, but had seven passes intercepted.

 

''What led up to the release was the fact he was not very productive,'' Rough Rider coach Bob Weber told The Dispatch.

 

''In fact, he was very unproductive.'' But Schlichter said a personality conflict developed when, 10 days into his rehabilitation, Weber criticized him for not practicing. He said Weber might have been trying to rush him into the lineup

because the team was playing poorly.

 

Ottawa finished with a 2-16 record, worst in the CFL this year.

 

''I've played hurt about as much as anybody during the course of my career,''said Schlichter, who set most of Ohio State's passing records between 1978-81 and played for the Baltimore and Indianapolis Colts in the NFL.

 

''You can put me down for a lot of things, but it bothers me when someone puts me puts me down for my toughness.'' Schlichter and Weber differ on the nature of the injury. Schlichter said torn cartilage under his rib cage caused pain so severe he had trouble breathing and sleeping on his back. Weber said the area was very deeply bruised but there was no physical damage.

 

Rumors that Schlichter had been gambling again circulated at the time of his release, but Weber said he heard nothing along that line and Schlichter said it ''as never mentioned and it didn't happen.'' Such rumors ''re going to be wherever I go,''Schlichter said. ''ut nobody ever brought evidence to me that anything happened.'' Weber said, ''e don't question him as a person at all. We really had high hopes for Art. But from a coaching standpoint, how far can you go waiting for the talent to come back?''

 

Gambling's big losers in the sporting world, Don Campbell, CanWest News Service, Friday, February 10, 2006

Who would have bet a one-time can't-miss No. 4 overall National Football League draft pick would, almost 25 years later, be in a Ohio prison cell, serving a 15-year sentence, with a debt in the millions that can never be repaid, while many of his college football contemporaries are finding their way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

Maybe only Art Schlichter himself, the onetime Ottawa Rough Riders quarterback who left Ottawa almost as fast as he arrived in the 1980s, leaving behind a trail of bounced cheques.

 

All the result of a gambling obsession that ruined his life and his family, making him sport's most pathological gambler - well, at least until Pete Rose.

 

Schlichter, now in his mid-40s, had everything going for him when Sports Illustrated flashed the Ohio State Buckeye quarterback on its cover in 1979.  He was a home-state hero, Ohio-born, a golden-boy pivot with good looks and a rifle arm.

Three years later, the Baltimore Colts made him the fourth pick overall in the 1982 draft and the sky seemed the limit.

Instead, the gambling problem he managed to keep secret through college would rob him of his entire $350,000 signing bonus and send him on a downhill spiral that would see him spend every year of his life since either in prison, or on the run from authorities or bookies.

Schlichter stole from everyone from his parents to his in-laws, to even fans of a call-in show he once ran - all in the hopes of hitting the big one. And if he did win a bet, he merely tried again. And if he lost, he tried to go bigger.

Schlichter was suspended in 1983, then re-instated in 1984, but his obsession continued. After the Colts cut Schlichter in 1985, he played a few seasons of arena football and finally finished his career in the CFL with Ottawa in 1988.

 

Art Schlichter's 1988 Ottawa Rough Riders Professional football contract paid the former Ohio State all american $100,000 to play in the Canadian Football League during the 1988 CFL season. Art also got a $10,000 signing bonus.  That same year, he filed for bankruptcy, claiming to be more than $1 million U.S. in debt. And he is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence, one of 10 convictions against him since 1995.

His troubles led former wife, Mitzi Schlichter to co-found a national research, diagnostic and gambling treatment centre in Indiana, and she often speaks on the turmoil Schlichter caused them.

She tells people her ex-husband sold whatever the family had of value - cars, furniture, even her wedding ring - to get money to gamble.

Among the pros, Schlichter is hardly alone, though his fall may be the most pitiful:

-- statistics --

 

 

Art Schlichter       Ohio State
    Passing          
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1988 Ott 89 41 658 46.1 3 7 64
Total 1 89 41 658 46.1 3 7 64

 

    Rushing      
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1988 Ott 19 172 9.1 24 0
Total 1 19 172 9.1 24 0

 

-- NFL --

 

 

    Passing        
Yr Team Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg
1982 Blt 37 17 197 45.9 0 2 24
1984 Ind 140 62 702 44.3 3 7 54
1985 Ind 25 12 107 48.0 0 2 16
Total 3 202 91 1,006 45.0 3 11 82

 

    Rushing    
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1982 Blt 1 3 3.0 3 0
1984 Ind 19 145 7.6 22 1
1985 Ind 2 13 6.5 9 0
Total 3 22 161 7.3 30 1