Eminence Front?

By Luke on May 7, 2011 at 9:47a
67 Comments

In lieu of recent events that have transpired, it's a far departure from cynicism to approach even the slightest bit of bad news on the Ohio State horizon with a heavy dose of jadedness. And there's this:

Ohio State University's chief enforcer of NCAA rules said yesterday that he will investigate used-car purchases made by dozens of OSU athletes at two Columbus car dealers to see if any sale violated collegiate rules.

The investigation was initiated after The Dispatch found in public records that at least eight Ohio State athletes and 11 athletes' relatives bought used cars from Jack Maxton Chevrolet or Auto Direct during the past five years. The investigation will involve outside experts and examine at least 50 sales, focusing on whether the athletes received improper benefits.

While the age old process of athletes receiving wink deals in an industry (one heralded by even many common folks as not exactly morally scrupulous to begin with) with rather large deltas for negotiated end prices is hardly a new development, Ohio State and words of suspect car arrangements are unfortunately nothing new of late. Though perhaps less ominiously one of the dealerships in questions was one already cleared by Ohio State and the NCAA for the bizarre loan practices benefitting already suspended Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, far more worrying is the relevelation that Ohio State associate athletic director Doug Archie would be re-opening an investigation after revelations that as many as 40-50 (or perhaps more) Ohio State football players (and maybe more troubling, their families) had purchased cars from the same few dealerships with a common employee (an individual now no longer employed in the craft even in the state of Ohio). While the Dispatch's crack team of word-slingers (non-sports writers at that)'s unearthed revelations include that both Jack Maxton and Auto Direct routinely call Ohio State compliance when an athlete is ready to close the deal on one of their vehicles, sentences like these of late are pretty far removed from being conducive to possessing a semblance of peace of mind:

Auto Direct's showroom is filled with autographed jerseys from former and current players who have purchased cars from Kniffin.

Goss, who said he is a big Buckeyes fan, said he received no memorabilia from players, who autographed jerseys he had purchased while buying their cars.

Then again restaurants up and down High Street have signed memorabilia. As long as the institutions purchased the items legitimately under good faith and the autographs were done with no monetary/proprietary gain, it's innocent enough. Further, with likely little chance to tie together any of the number of former players in the Tressel era (Thad Gibson, Doug Worthington, Rob Rose, Solomon Thomas, Kurt Coleman's brother, Boom Herron's father, DeVier Posey, Chris Wells, Maurice Wells, Chris Wells' mother, and Terrelle Pryor's brother and mother) and those falling under Matta's jurisdiction (William Buford as well as Jon Diebler's parents) to individuals within the respective coaching circles possessing any direct knowledge of the transpirings (should circumstancial evidence prove damning), it'd be a stretch to afford all the blame (should illegitimacy in the NCAA's eyes come to light) to either staff. That said, it doesn't exactly provide much credence in the school's on going case to prove that they're operating within the bounds of the same competitve landscape as the rest of the NCAA's member institutions at a time they need to the most. The sheer volume there of a-names on the list and particularly coming across four of the individuals tied into the existing memorabilia scandal does nothing in the area of making the story seem any less likely to have legs. There are situations and times when maybe having athletes reap grey (and by grey I only mean subjective) "benefits" afforded them in every major college town across the country and then there's this, amidst the most contentious, divisive time in Ohio State's modern athletics history:

Public records show that in 2009, a 2-year-old Chrysler 300 with less than 20,000 miles was titled to then-sophomore linebacker Thaddeus Gibson. Documents show the purchase price as $0.

Whether this is on any individual and whether anyone knew about it or not, the mountain of allegation and innunendo makes it harder and harder to think the future can't hold some kind of major sea changes, be at the coaching level, administrative, or perhaps even university wide.

67 Comments

Comments

thePhilipJFry's picture

offseason sucks, when do they play football again?

The_Lurker's picture

These fishing expeditions are getting absolutely ridiculous. Forget for a moment that investigating things that have already been investigated is a supreme waste of time and dollars. There are wink auto deals in every college town in this country and there are kids on every single team in this land with tattoos that are far too intricate for them to possibly afford. We need to decide whether we're going to nitpick one university that by and large has done things right for many years, or if it'll be inspected deeply everywhere.

While the southern schools sit back, NOT self reporting, buying Heisman winners and laughing at our offseason from hell, we will continue to dig deeper and deeper until we have compliance officers following our players to Skyline to make sure they don't get too many oyster crackers, because a regular student doesn't have access to that many oyster crackers, so therefore it's a violation.

Luke's picture

Sadly the "EVERYBODY'S DOING IT" defense has long since been shot down by the Supreme Court of Mothers in the landmark Tattle v. Tell.

The_Lurker's picture

Perhaps you could pull out the quote where I defended anyone getting a discount for anything for being an athlete. I did point out that everyone does it and that one school is getting the anal probe for it based on something completely unrelated. This investigation is not even about the Tat5. This came about because of Tressel's misdeeds and the extreme media scrutiny it has created. It's simply impossible to stop every athlete from getting free or discounted stuff from every possible businessman willing to give those discounts/freebies, short of locking them in their dorm when they're not in class or on the practice field. And I believe there are so much bigger fish to fry if it was all about cleaning up college football.

Reens's picture

Unfortunately, I don't see this as nitpicking when a school is in the midst of sanctions like these. Once the first pieces were revealed, you had to know that more was coming. If it wasn't done by OSU, it was going to be done by the NCAA.

Yes, it happens everywhere. But until the NCAA finds their reasons to investigate others further, it will go as just "assumed" like it has in the past. If there is any silver lining to this, it's that OSU is the first to take a fall like this. I have ZERO facts to support this, but I feel that the NCAA will be going after schools much, much harder and others will experience the same. They might try to button things up now, but the NCAA does more digging than archaeologists and will get what they want.

Again, I have nothing to support this whatsoever - it's half speculation and half hope.

buckeyedude's picture

That would really suck The Lurker, because Skyline chili is the best, IMO. I get your point though. I wonder if each player will be assigned an "oyster cracker compliance officer?"  This is getting out of hand.

 

 

NW Buckeye's picture

Repost of my original in another section.....

The original story is in the Dispatch (and no, I am not posting a link to that rag).  Seems like a lot of this is old news to Doug Archie (OSU Compliance officer) with the exception of sales to relatives.  Looks like more Pulitzer work by the esteemed Dispatch writers.  For some reason they seem to have a real hard on for OSU compliance.

Looks like the real problem could fall on the used car dealers.  Appears that they were fudging sales figures on state reporting to help bring down the cost of the car - i.e. they report the car sold for less than it did, and the dealer pays less sales tax to the state.  It's a way of getting the overall price down to the consumer without the consumer's knowledge that this is happening.  Gee, imagine that, used car salesmen acting like.... used car salesmen.  There is a reason they are the brunt of many jokes.

That said, this is going to create another pain in the ass head ache for OSU.  But, I would really hate to be one of those car dealers right now.

poop's picture

We're f**cked. I always saw these athletes driving around in these nice chromed out cars and thought it was so obvious. Prepare your anus.

Pam's picture

This is an Ohio St. investigation, not an NCAA. We are not f***ed until they say we are.

poop's picture

My point still stands.

Reens's picture

"Nothing is f*cked here, Dude. Nothing is f*cked. They're a bunch of f*cking amateurs!"

Pam's picture

Your point being that we are f***ed before the investigation ends? What if eveything is legit? Are we still f***ed?

poop's picture

We're not f**cked yet. We're eventually going to get f**cked by this, that is my point.

Alex's picture

Don't want to piss anyone off, but this could be REALLY bad. Key word here is COULD, but just be prepared for the worst as more cats keep getting out of the bag.....Who would have ever thought we'd be sitting here saying that we hope the Tat Five thing is all that we have to worry about? At this point, you have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. We always said appreciate OSU's dominance of the Big Ten the last 6 years, because once it's gone you'll be upset you took it for granted. Well, if this stuff comes through, that dominance will be over faster than we ever thought and we could be backtracked for 4-5 years.

poop's picture

I would guess closer to 10 years. Most elite recruits won't even sniff OSU if the hammer gets dropped. Hopefully other programs are investigated as intensely as we have been. The results won't be pretty for college football.

tampa buckeye's picture

Are you kidding me?  As long as we keep Ohio on lock down we have the best team in the big ten.  The kids in Ohio will always want to play for Ohio State.  

Pam's picture

Ten years?? 'Bama has been on probation forever and won a NC and Heisman and has had no drop off in recruits even though Saban oversigns his roster and then they mysteriously have to take a medical redshirt. 

nick_ferguson58's picture

Bama is on probation.  If this is proven, we will WISH we were on probation.  What will happen to us will be like being in a level 2 prison for 20 years without parole and we will just be longing for the day we get to start pissing in a cup on probation.  Oh man I hope nothing foul occurred here but I just don't see anything good coming from this.  Assume the worst, prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Nick

Pam's picture

"Public reprimand and censure; five years of probation; postseason ban for 2002 and 2003; reduction in grants in the sport of football to 17 in 2002-03; 18 in 2003-04 and 19 in 2004-05; prohibiting of athletics representatives from traveling with football team charters, attending football team practices, participating in any fashion with the university's football camps and accessing sidelines and locker rooms before, during and after football games; the permanent dissociation of three athletics representatives; disassociation of another athletics representative for a period of three years and annual reporting. " 2002

"Public reprimand and censure; three years of probation; vacation of records for all wins in which any of the seven involved football student-athletes competed while ineligible during the 2005-06 and 2007-08 academic years. Further in the sports of men's tennis, men's track and women's track the records of the 15 involved student-athletes shall be vacated and team point totals shall be reconfigured accordingly; the institution shall pay a fine of $43,900; annual compliance reporting required. " 2009

'Bama won a NC in 2010 and had a Heisman winner. They are considered a "repeat violater"   Kids line up to play for Saban.

poop's picture

Shoot me when our program parallels Alabama's. National Championship or not, I don't admire that program at all. Filthy.

NW Buckeye's picture

Thanks for your stats, Pam.  Good work.  Amusing that some think we are parallelling Bama.  We can't even come close. 

Bucksfan's picture

All shared sentiments, Alex.  This stuff couldn't have come down at a worse possible time, moving into the new era of the Big Ten with the championship game and all.  The last thing anyone could have wanted or needed was Ohio State to get hammered down to the mediocre level everyone else is at.  Without a legit national championship contender every year, we're going to look like the ACC.

anchorman's picture

Thad Gibson said he is still paying on his Chrysler 300 and has the documents to prove it. The athletes were referred to this place by the tOSU compliance office. This article doesn't say that anything bad was done. Other then players bought cars there-which is not a violation.

If the article said there were violations then I would be worried. It didn't.

Plus the compliance officer at tOSU said he was very confident there were no violations.

So some of you guys quit being drama queens. If anything comes out, we will deal with it then.

Jason Priestas's picture

Drama queens? The guy got a new car for $0 according to the title. I know there's supposedly paperwork to show he paid for the car (and still is), but imagine for a second how we'd react if something like this came out of UF, FSU, USC or another power?

anchorman's picture

Not uncommon for a dealership to allow a customer to take a car home for a night or two, especially if it on the weekends and the bank or other creditor is closed. The dealership would have run a credit check, known that the customer would have good credit and would be approved. Hence putting Zero on the title before changing it.

Gibson says he can prove he is still paying for it.

Nothing to this article as of right now. Dispatch is just embarassed they didn't get the Tressel allegations first and it came from Yahoo! These print jockeys are elitist douches who look down at their noses at Internet sites like Yahoo.

As of right now, nothing to this article. Especially after the compliance officer at tOSU knew about these transactions and is confident no violations took place.

I dont recall our fan base initially screaming over Cam Newton, Reggie Bush, Bruce Pearl, etc. Either the story went on for awhile or the initial article had a HELL of a lot more fire then this article. Which has no smoke or fire. Again, things could change.

Reens's picture

First off, our fan base isn't exactly "screaming" over this either. There are 23 comments. I think we're all reacting very much like we did over the list you have above, plus some more for obvious reasons. But if you think that there is nothing to this article and there's no smoke or fire, I'm speechless. If this information came out when 8 months ago when things looked to be clear, I'd agree with you. But we're in the heart of the the biggest scandal in tOSU's history, so we're no longer granted the innocent until proven guilty or the "smoke" that some schools might.

There's a big difference between a dealership allowing a customer to drive something home for the weekend and marking it "$0" as a purchase price.

anchorman's picture

Oh and as far as Pryor's mom and brother buying cars from this dealership, they are under the same rules as TP. So it makes sense that they would go to a dealership where the university recommends so the paperwork will be much easier to track down.

Bernie19Kosar's picture

I'm guessing Pryor never plays another down for tOSU.

Bernie19Kosar's picture

Already suspended and now his family is mentioned as part of the car dealership fiasco.

Why risk further violations for tOSU by letting him play? Move on with this program. We aren't winning a NC, let Miller or Guiton take over this team.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Your opinion is fair as long as you are in favor of letting Jim Tressel go as well. Can't have a double standard. I disagree with you none-the-less, and you must realize that this is a probe. Ohio State probes a lot things, most of them never go public.

Bernie19Kosar's picture

Sadly you're right. I think Tressel has to go as well. 

Long story short, we got caught with our hand in the cookie jar. No matter how many other schools do it, we got caught and have to pay the price.

I think this season is going to end with a bowl ban, so I would rather get it all done now. Anyone mentioned in this car fiasco, doesn't play. Tressel is fired and we throw ourselves in front of the NCAA to take our medicine.

Next season, tOSU is the preeminent job avilable and we have our choice of coaches (Meyer, whoever) and we turn the page from all this ugliness. The longer we let it linger, the more damaging it is to the school and football program.

I appreciate everything Tressel has done for this program, but when you break the rules, you should be held accounatable, especially when you are in charge of young men.

William's picture

I say we say screw the NCAA and stand by Tressel and Pryor. It's ridiculous that any act the NCAA takes can even be considered just or credible. The NCAA in itself is unjust, they reap the benefits of having to pay nothing for the athletes underneath it, yet they gain billions in profits. How many businesses are run like that in the real world? Free labor, and unbelievable profits, what a load of crap.

Seth9's picture

If I recall correctly, SMU shared your attitude in the '80s.

buckeyedude's picture

That's interesting, and makes me wonder: if OSU gets banned from bowls, what happens if we win the regular season? Does OSU get banned from the B1G Championship Game in Indy too?

Regardless, as much as I like Tressel, this is all getting too ugly. I cannot see how he possibly survives this. And if he does go, I hope the hell Gee goes too.

 

 

JakeBuckeye's picture

We wouldn't be able to win the conference.

And really, you hope Gee goes over a football scandal? I may be wrong, but I perceive Gee's "involvments" in the football program to be merely a formality. The guy is a great school president. Sure this whole entire situation is a knock on him, but worth a termination? If you are going to climb higher up than Tressel here, I suggest you look towards Gene Smith before you do President Gee.

cronimi's picture

+1.  Gee isn't the problem -- Gene Smith is.  Frankly, I'd rather see Smith go than Tressel.  

William's picture

Frankly neither Smith nor Gee are the problem. This is Tressel's fault and Tressel's alone. Those who are crying for the firing of Smith or Gee are being completely irrational. They have done no wrong people...

JakeBuckeye's picture

Just to confirm I wasn't crying for the firing of Smith, I was just saying that IF you wanted more than just Tressel gone, you should look at Smith before you do Gee. I think Gee being fired over this would perhaps be the most ridiculous thing Ohio State could do here.

Conroy's picture

I'm going to puke.

omahabeef1337's picture

FWIW, in 2008 a friend of mine got in a fender bender with a guy who ended up being a started on last year's team. The car had lot tags on it, not real liscence plates.

Sometimes these guys' families saved up money for college, then all of a sudden they don't need the savings anymore because of the scholarship, so they buy a car. I know for a fact some athletes do that. That said, OSU athletes driving around with lot tags on doesn't look good.

nick_ferguson58's picture

Honestly, this, if proven true, will be the worst of all the revelations around the program.  This sounds similar to the Reggie Bush thing except instead of a house it is cars and instead of 1 person violating the rules it is possibly 50.  IF this is true(and I automatically assume the worst now) we are F*cked.  And by F*cked, I mean more F*cked than anyone since SMU.  This on top of the Tat 5 and the Tressel stuff would guarantee MAJOR sanctions.  USC got hit big time for Reggie, OJ, and a few others and because no one seemed to care.  While they might not be able to prove that anyone at OSU knew about this, they already know the coach or the AD didn't care to report previous violations and if 50 athletes or family members are involved in both BBall and Football we will certainly get a lack of institutional control.

I could honestly see us getting the worst sanctions since SMU got the death penalty if and only if all of this proves to be true and they find that Tressel, Smith, Gee, or anyone else acted egregiously in regards to the other violations.  I had a lot of hope untill today.  I really think without this we could have gotten off with maybe several scholarship reductions and obviously a vacated 2010 and possibly losing Tressel but probably just an extended suspension. 

If this is true though I don't see any hope that this can end in anything but disaster.  I mean I could see them sending the program to the level of an Illinois or Minnesota for several years with the amount of sanctions we would get.  That would be devastating.  I don't see any way Tressel OR Smith would be able to keep their jobs if this is true and who knows what they find with Matta if they start digging around the basketball program and all the great recruiting classes they have had since he got here.

Please.  Someone talk me off the ledge.

Nick

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

It is FCBD and MC2 is taking the court. Ignoring potential bad news until Monday......

Nitz25's picture

Are you kidding, did you guys even read the article? The guy is selling cars in a different state now, personally owes the IRS $130,000, and is having his half a million $ home foreclosed on.  A title price of $0?  Sounds like the guy was evading taxes and using other ethically questionable business practices to sell cars at firesale values while maintaining margins lucrative enough to finance things like a +$500,000 home.  If I knew of a guy who was selling cars w/ 20,000 miles for 50% of the blue book price I would tell my entire family to buy from this guy too.  How can anyone prove any of this related to them being OSU athletes?  I bet this guy is in some serious trouble with the IRS, and all of the OSU athletes are in no trouble at all. 

Let's remember that the reason we're even under the mircroscope is because Tressell knowingly hid things from the OSU compliance department, a department that is held in high standing with the NCAA for being on top of its athletic program(rogue coaches aside).  It's not up to the athlete to investigate the blue book value of the make/model he is purchasing to see if he is maybe getting some kind of benefit before making a purchase.  That's on the University's compliance department, and if OSU compliance reviewed these purchases and was OK with them I am 95% confident we are fine.

AngelHeartsBuckeyes's picture

On a more positive note, men's vball doin work!

Let go Bucks!

Buckeye born and bred. Buckeye til I'm dead.

JakeBuckeye's picture

LET'S GO BUCKS! I hope me and Angel aren't the only ones watching!

Bernie19Kosar's picture

Anyone else think that #1 on UCSB is a complete a-hole?

RoweTrain's picture

This guy is watching too.

JakeBuckeye's picture

I'm a bit worried. I wish we would have closed it out in the fourth set.

RoweTrain's picture

Same here. It seems to be going back and forth and with all the errors on the serves we're giving them that could definitely come back to bite us.

nickma71's picture

I remember when a buddy of mine was at Syracuse. He originaly was to take journalism like all the other at ESPN.  He took math instead. On to the point. Lawernce Moten had a brand new Acura Legend at the time. It seems like the Randy Ayers superclass at the same time did the same thing. Charles Macon, the kid from Kentucky, I can't remember all their names. They had cars from the same dealership also.

RoweTrain's picture

What a run to end it! That's how you close!

Bucksfan's picture

One of the most exciting matches I've ever watched.  5 sets, amazing!  GO BUCKEYES!

Conroy's picture

Finally some good news.

Lee in Altoona's picture

It's a great night to be a Buckeye... in Central Pennsylvania.

I needed the good news. You know, volleyball isn't an entirely bad television sport. I'm surprised that it's never gotten more popular in the US. But whatever. We won. California loses. I'm going to bed.

Marshall's picture

O-H!

Marshall
2002 graduate of The Ohio State University
National champs.  Coincidence?

Brutus's picture

First off, congrats to the vball team. This post should be all about them, but it won't be. Perhaps I'm just numb to the constant allegations and shady business, but for some reason, this story about the used cars doesn't strike me as that big a deal. I'm sure the NCAA will find some sort of violation, because just about everything is a violation to the NCAA (except of course committing an actual crime), and we'll probably get hammered for this. But unless they can show that the reason these players are buying cars from this place is because they are able to trade gear or tickets for great deals on cars, I don't see a problem necessarily. Jack Maxton has been around for ages. I'd venture to guess that selling cars to OSU athletes has been their bread and butter for a long time. Are they selling cars to athletes because they are super fans who are trying to get close to the program? Or is part of their business model just based on generating repeat business from college students who happen to be athletes and relying on referrals to create profits based on volume? What else could this salesman's motivation be? I doubt he's saying to himself "I'm going to sell these kids cars at bargain prices, thus cutting my commission and the dealership's profits, because I want to go to a couple football games". It just seems to me that the most obvious explanation makes the most sense and that's "hey kid, I'm going to cut you a good deal. Go back and tell all your friends and have them come in and I'll cut them a good deal too."

40-50 players in the last few years is a staggering number, but I actually think that makes this less suspicious. This obviously was not a well kept secret and it wasn't intended to be. I'd be more concerned if everyone was denying any of this happened. Also, show me how many OSU students total these two dealerships have sold to in the same period of time. 40-50 may not be a statistically significant number at all.

One more point, this is absolutely nothing like the Reggie Bush situation. Bush got a great price on a house extremely under market value because the guys who were paying for it were trying to represent him once he went pro. I've not seen anything to suggest that this salesman has any such aspirations.

Alright, I'm done speculating/rationalizing/sticking my head in the sand. Once again, congrats to the vball team. You've done a much maligned fan base proud.

NW Buckeye's picture

As I said before, and your post seems to agree - this is old news, with the possible exception of sales to relatives.  Doug Archie (OSU compliance officer) stated that all sales to athletes are reviewed.  The Dispatch glomped onto this hoping to make more headlines to discredit Tressel.  However, it was a piece of shodding reporting.  Yes, they did point out that up to 50 or 60 athletes purchased autos.  They even did some nice work to show that the dealers may have been fudging state reporting figures in order to avoid sales tax.  However, they tried to allege that athletes and/or families were getting sweet deals.  That's fine and dandy, but a real journalist would have delved into this matter deeper and offered comparisons on similar vehicles to non athletes. They also would have investigated the reporting of dollar amounts on all sales to the state.  No such figures were offered. 

Used car sales are so arbitrary.  When is the last time any of you paid the asking price for a used car?  And, if any of you did, you got taken to the cleaners.  I have never paid as much as  "Blue Book" price for a used car - not even close.  Hell, I have never paid full retail on a new car. There is no need to.  That is the nature of car sales.  And, as for the demo of a used car for a full weekend, I have done that twice in my lifetime without buying the cars.  The salesmen offered me the use of the cars for the weekend for an extended test drive.  And that is in Washington State - gee, that practice seems to be one of the sales tactics out there.  All they wanted to know was that I was a good credit risk.  And, what better risk is there than knowing there is a compliance office monitoring the situation? 

The real story here is most probably the false reporting of dollar amounts to the state - they appear in some of the allegations in the story to be much lower than the actual sales price.  No one has a good opinion of used car salesmen - no matter what their company is.  This is just more proof that profession deserves the sleezy reputation it has. 

Other than reviewing the actual sales contracts and financial arrangments that the athletes make on the purchase of autos, what more can a compliance office do?  Prohibit them from driving cars altogether? 

anchorman's picture

Amen, Brutus and NWBuckeye. Great points. The article never pointed to one specific price, other then the Zero for Thad Gibson and he says he can prove he is making payments. I would be concerned if they showed certain dollar or sales figures, but they haven't.

Dispatch is p*ssed that they didn't get the Tressel story before Yahoo. Period.

Plus, Archie said they have monitored this, so I believe our compliance department. Ever since the MoC and Obie thing, they have been on top of things.

I saw 10's report on this yesterday at 6. They had video of a player in a Chevy Impala that he bought for $9100. I believe-I could have been dreaming-that he paid more then what the Blue Book said it was worth!

Buckeye Black's picture

This is a non-issue.  Drive by any university during football practice and look at the cars the kids drive, they are all the same company and damn near brand new.  The coaches and dealers have found a way around the rule, by "selling" the car then getting minimal to no payments on it until the player is making big bucks.

BuckeyeChief's picture

NOTHING will ever top Rickey Dudley's mid-90's Geo Tracker with the hard top. Swear to God son that sh*t was hot.

 

"Damn I miss El Guapo"