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George Clooney Image Credit: AFP

In 2020, Sports Illustrated published a report by Jon Wertheim that delved into a list of disturbing allegations lobbied against the Ohio State University sports doctor Richard Strauss, including sexual abuse of athletes and administering steroids to players. It also outlined a damning lack of response from university officials.

Now the grim story is being re-told in the form of a TV series.

Hollywood actor George Clooney is teaming up with Grant Heslove’s Smokehouse Pictures to produce a docuseries chronicling the “devastating and tragic” abuse scandal that lasted for decades within the Ohio State athletics department.

“This article uncovers the most widespread sexual abuse scandal in the history of American higher education. It is a story about power, abuse, enabling and the hierarchy of college sports that had been concealed for far too long,” said Wertheim, who joins the series as executive producer.

He called the stories that emerged from the scandal “harrowing”.

“Because these courageous men made the decision to remain silent no longer, we can finally begin to hold the abuser, and those who were complicit in their silence, accountable for their actions — and inactions,” he said.

Marc Rosen, the president of entertainment at Authentic Brands Group, which founded Sports Illustrated Studios in 2020, called the project “enormously important”.

“We are lucky to be able to tap into the exceptional journalism of Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim and we are incredibly proud and humbled to bring even more awareness to his investigation,” said Rosen.

The docuseries will “shine a light on this ongoing, painful story and further explore its wide-ranging effects,” he added.