INDIANAPOLIS — Former Colts quarterback Art Schlichter was found unresponsive at an Ohio Hampton Inn in June — less than a year after he was released from prison for federal fraud charges related to a massive ticket scheme that bilked millions of dollars from his victims.
Inside Schlichter’s hotel room, officers found a substance they believed to be cocaine.
According to court documents, police responded to a report of an overdose at the Hampton Inn on Lyman Drive in Hilliard, Ohio. Officers could not get Schlichter, 62, to respond.
He was resuscitated with the help of Narcan, a nasal spray used for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose that includes signs of breathing problems. Schlichter was then taken to the hospital.
A test of the substance found in Schlichter’s hotel room came back as cocaine, court documents said. Schlichter was charged with possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony.
Schlichter, a former Ohio State star quarterback, was picked fourth overall in the NFL draft by the Baltimore Colts in 1982.
He will appear Friday in Franklin County Municipal Court.
After a run of prison sentences that spanned two decades — brought on by a gambling addiction that led to financial fraud, theft and shattered an NFL dream — Schlichter was released from prison in June 2021.
Court records showed Schlichter became eligible for parole June 13, 2021, and was released from the Trumbull Correctional Institution in Leavittsburg, Ohio, the next day.
According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, Schlichter was listed as being under “APA Supervision” for the next five years. That meant Schlichter would be supervised by the Adult Parole Authority in Ohio, responsible for adult felony offenders returning to the community.
As part of his parole, Schlichter was required to sign a contract agreeing to a number of rules, including not to own guns, use illegal drugs or leave the state without notifying his parole officer.
“My advice to anyone coming upon Mr. Schlichter is that they not engage in any business transactions or any purchases or any other transactions that would involve giving him any money,” Ron O’Brien, former Franklin (Ohio) County prosecutor who fought to keep Schlichter in prison, told IndyStar in 2021.
“(He) is a career criminal engaged in fraud as a career,” O’Brien said. “He just cannot help himself. He will do this the rest of his life.”
IndyStar reached out to Schlichter’s attorney Stephen Palmer, who did not immediately respond Wednesday night.
Schlichter pleaded guilty to a massive ticket scheme that bilked millions of dollars from his victims in September 2011. In that scheme, he promised college and NFL game tickets to buyers, but never delivered the tickets despite being paid for them. He was sentenced and released on bond.
Four months later, in January 2012, Schlichter’s bond was revoked due to drug use. According to court records, Schlichter was charged with violating the terms of his house arrest, testing positive for cocaine twice and then refusing to give urine samples. He was taken into custody.
In May 2012, Schlichter was sentenced to nearly 11 years in the Federal Correctional Institute in Florence, Colorado, and 10 years in an Ohio penitentiary. The two sentences were to be served concurrently, and with good behavior Schlichter was to be released Aug. 18, 2020.
But from inside the walls of prison, just months before his scheduled release, Schlichter was having women outside the prison place bets for him, O’Brien told IndyStar.
‘It’s sad and it’s tragic’:Ex-Colts QB Art Schlichter’s life behind bars
He was also betting with other inmates, O’Brien said. Prison officials found out through e-mails and phone calls Schlichter was gambling from inside. He was banned from email for 90 days due to his gambling, according to prison records.
In 2020, IndyStar spoke exclusively with Schlichter from behind bars. He said he wanted to tell his story of how he had been treated unfairly by the courts and prosecutors.
When Schlichter was released in 2021, O’Brien said, “he is past the point of rehabilitation.”
Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via email: email@example.com.