Former NFL quarterback Art Schlichter is the focus of an investigation by local and federal authorities centering on a scheme to sell dozens of Super Bowl tickets at a high profit, The Columbus Dispatchreported Saturday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Schlicter, a former All-American who led Ohio State to the Rose Bowl in 1979 but struggled in the NFL, is a notorious gambling addict who has served time in 44 prisons or jails since 1994, mainly for fraud and forgery.
Law enforcement officials believe Schlichter solicited people for money as part of an "investment opportunity" involving brokering and selling tickets for Ohio State football games and other events, including Sunday's Super Bowl XLV matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. It is believed the scheme had been in motion for two years.
Schlicter's Super Bowl plan went awry when he wasn't able to produce any tickets to Sunday's game, sources told The Dispatch. Some people who took Schlicter at his word have been stranded in the Dallas area without any way to attend the game.
Schlicter took the money he collected and used it to feed an intense gambling addiction that has destroyed his reputation and badly damaged or ended nearly every relationship in his life. The collected funds went toward bets that reached six-figures in some cases, two sources told The Dispatch.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien sent an e-mail to The Dispatch saying he couldn't confirm, deny or discuss anything involving the investigation. Schlichter said in a text message to the newspaper that planned to speak with authorities soon.
Schlicter was the No. 4 overall draft pick by the Baltimore Colts in 1982, but he lasted just three seasons in the NFL, throwing for 1,006 yards and three touchdowns with 11 interceptions in 13 games. He started in six games.