Blog Entry

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

Posted on: May 7, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 12:34 pm

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's easy to see a headline about Ohio State investigating car deals for its players and automatically assume the worst. Now that the NCAA is already preparing to bring OSU before the dreaded Committee on Infractions for the tattoo scandal and coverup, it's easier to figure that an investigation's going to uncover more bad news.

It's not that simple, though. While this investigation might not uncover any wrongdoing by the embattled Ohio State athletic department or its players, it also might place the very legitimacy of the compliance department at stake.

As the Columbus Dispatch reported today, Ohio State's chief enforcer of NCAA rules is opening an investigation into dozens of car purchases by players and their relatives from two Columbus-area dealerships (both of whom employed salesman Aaron Kniffin), looking for any evidence of special discounts or other impermissible benefits. While it seems like that's a good thing to investigate, seeing the potential for impropriety in large-value transactions, the real issue here is that according to the dealers and salesman under investigation, the deals were already reviewed the first time around by OSU associate athletic director Doug Archie and his compliance department:

Both dealers, whose businesses are not connected, say they routinely call Archie's office when an athlete is ready to buy a car, provide the purchase price and discuss who will co-sign on a loan. Archie said he relies on the car dealers to provide accurate information.

"I'm not a car expert. We have to rely on their integrity and their word when it comes to selling a car," he said. Ohio State runs "spot checks" on some transactions against the Kelley Blue Book value.

Kniffin told The Dispatch that he has sold cars to at least four dozen OSU athletes and their relatives, that the OSU compliance staff directed them to him, and that university officials reviewed all documents before sales were final.

Archie said that he has spoken to Kniffin only once, never reviews sales documents and has not directed players to any dealerships.

Now, this would seem to be little more than a discussion about procedure if it weren't for the fact that according to public records, OSU lineman Thaddeus Gibson "bought" a two-year-old Chrysler for $0 from Kniffin. Gibson and Kniffin both deny that the price listed on the title was the actual sale price, but $0 seems to be what they're telling the government. That's a discrepancy for which the IRS, NCAA, and OSU compliance department are all going to need a lot of explanation.

The Dispatch also found multiple car loans to Terrelle Pryor, including Kniffin's own for a trip back to Pennsylvania for three days. Indeed, four of the six players suspended in the tattoo scandal also purchased cars from Kniffin. Perhaps that's just mere coincidence, and perhaps all four car sales were legitimate and above board. It's undeniable that there's cause for concern, however.

Worse, perhaps there are more questionable transactions yet to be found in the investigation. Perhaps there's not. Only time will tell there, obviously. The fact remains, though, that Ohio State needs to make it clear just how much oversight they were providing with regards to players and their families buying these cars, and how impermissible purchases -- if any -- were allowed to proceed.

There's a very, very bad worst-case scenario here for Ohio State. It's got a lot of ifs, so it's not terribly likely, but it's not out of the realm of plausibility. IF there were special discounts being given out, and IF the compliance department was reviewing sales documents, and IF that office was also directing players to those dealerships, THEN Ohio State would basically have been running a sham of a compliance department. That's a lack of institutional control nonpareil. Again, that's a worst-case scenario, and one that OSU's director of compliance has already denied, but these are the stakes at play here.

That, in fact, is what makes this potential scandal so pernicious: it has little, if anything, to do with Jim Tressel and the previous scandal. Indeed, what was most striking about the allegations levied against Tressel was that they didn't implicate OSU as a whole, leaving open the possibility that OSU could paint Tressel as a rogue coach operating in flagrant defiance of his contract, fire him, and wash their hands of the matter. But here, the possibility exists that players were getting the green light from the compliance department to break compliance rules. That's something that simply firing Tressel isn't going to sweep under the rug.

Again, that's just the worst-case scenario. Ohio State fans had better hope it doesn't come true.


Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: May 10, 2011 6:13 pm

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

Oh, I love the freshs smell of non-compliance in the morning.  The vested one and the Butteye nation seem to be in a little trouble.  But, who am I to judge.  However, I will laugh when the axe comes down.  Hey, let me spell a word wrong so a highly intelligent blogger can feel supperior.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: May 10, 2011 4:57 am

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

Freedom of the press. I hear you, it may suck but Millions of people want to know and that is their job.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: May 10, 2011 4:44 am

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake


Some facts

The NCAA does not have any authority to decide anything!  This is the truth. The Presidents of the University's control what happens as

regards to bowl games versus a playoff.  I can't tell you the why for certain, obviously it's nice to say you won a bowl game and with the

current system we have plenty of winners.  I would hope that the Presidents care more about the students and what is best for them, not

what is best for the fan.

End of story.

Google it if you want but this has been explained to death.

Since: Apr 25, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 9:03 pm

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake


Since: Mar 28, 2009
Posted on: May 9, 2011 8:49 pm

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

All you OSU haters a just jealous, Tressel is a man of good character, so quit the witch hunt. The compliance director said they "Have" no evidence of wrong doing in these car sales! We all know that OSU has the most upstanding Athletic Director and compliance director, heck the AD said he just happy that Tressel has not fired him, that shows how honest he is. Michigan fan and others just want to find a way to beat OSU, even if it means getting rid of a good, honest coach.  - - - -- - - - - - - - - - >>>>>Translation: We as "The Ohio State Community Hick College" don't care what has been done to win, we just care that we are winning. AD and Compliance Director have made sure there is no IN HOUSE document that tie the program with these car or other deals. The only OSU fans I have any respect for are the ones calling for firing of these fools including Tressel.  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --

Kirk Herbstreit had to shut down his twitter account do to all the O-Lie-O State Twit fans harassing one of their for showing INTEGRITY in saying Tressel should be fired. I wonder where Kirk learned his values? Certainly not at OSU. As a NON-Big Ten fan, I can only imagine how the other Big Ten teams feel about this, and I'm sure it ain't pretty. -----------------------------------



This started with the FBI investigating a local business and stumbling onto the players perks plan. O-Lie-O State fan, it does not matter what the NCAA does because the State and IRS are investing the gifts and discounts where taxes we not paid. We all know what compassionate the IRS is. Keep the sweater and keep all the penalties that are sure to come, so so sad, then again what should we expect from an over sized community college.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 5:08 pm

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake


Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: May 9, 2011 5:06 pm

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

Our weekly Lets bash Ohio State and their fans article brought to you from none other than CBS Sports,I know OSU has done some wrongs here but c'mon,with players from other instutions getting arrested,DUI,stealing,etc and they get little or no ink from this site.....but OSU does their OWN investigation and CBS is all over it.If OSU has done some really bad things it will come out and they should get punished for it,but to slam one school as much as this site has in the past several month is crazy and uncalled for.I know when you pump the money into an athletic program and are as  successful  as OSU is  people either love you or hate you but as far as reporting goes  this beyond that.You can't tell me the people that look at this site aren't tiring of Ohio State,fan of or no,I know if they wrote about Michigan every week I would tire of it real fast,CBS needs to understand that people other than their fans don't give a hoot about OSU qnd maybe the writers shouldn't care quite so much either,they seem as though theyr'e making it personal.I am a huge Ohio State fan and it sickens me with what has went on this year in the football program,I still believe in Tressel and will make my judgement after he talks to the NCAA in Aug.,I think for all he has done he deserves that and I would think the writers here would at least give him a little respect.For all the people out there that dislike OSU I can understand you slamming the Bucks,I would do the same if it were U of M,so kick us while were down because it won't take us long to get up and be the menace to all of you that we are now.......GO BUCKS !!!

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:25 pm

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

While I dislike Ohio State as much as the next guy.  Can we all please just wait till we have actual proof before condeming Ohio State for this particular situation.  You want to bad mouth them for things that have allready been proven i'm right there with the loudest of ya'll.

I can't help, but to feel like this is a case of piling it on, and making a story out of somthing that otherwise probably wouldn't be.  While I don't have much respect for the "almost everyone does it whats the big deal" argument.  Its hard to really say its not true.  I would be willing to bet good money on over 50 percent of NCCA schools doing this to some extent or another.  Like many people have allready said I really bealive situations like this highlight some of the major flaws with the system the way its setup as is.  That by no means makes it ok to violate the rules, but how many more scandels that can potentialy damage these young peoples entire lives do we have to go through before someone finnaly says enoughs enough.

Bealive me, it won't hurt one little bit being patient to see how these things shake out.  At this point Ohio State detractors allready got the thrill of nailing Ohio State once this year.  There is no way in the world anyones going to be able to cover this up if they did do it with all the eyes on them right now.

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2011 2:31 pm

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

This is going to get uglier before it gets prettier for Ohio State University. What is amusing in all of this is the individuals who blame all of this on the media for reporting it. They claim it isn't news and the only reason it is in the media is because there is little to nothing else to report. When in reality, the media is doing what they do and that is finding out information to report to whoever reads/listens/watches it. The blame lies solely on the individuals involved in the "scandals."

With today's tech savvy world and abilities to access information (especially from a state funded university), why would anyone try to do what Tressel did and cover up this information? Sure we can blame it on the media, but the people that are responsible are the inviduals we should be disgusted with. No matter what the outcome of the investigation(s), someone was pushing the line of compliance. Athletic departments at institutions of higher learning should be surrounded by highly intelligent people. These people should know to stay away from the border of compliance. Pushing the boundaries leads to crossing the boundaries or investigations because it just looks fishy. Stay away from the edge and there would be nothing for the media to fish around into.

There may be others that do it, but that doesn't justify doing it ourselves because you might just be the one to get caught. No intelligent individual will argue that they were justified in breaking rules just because others are doing it. Try telling the policeman that you shouldn't get a ticket for going 80 mph in a 60 mph zone because you were going 80 and several people passed you going 90. The fact is if you break the rules and get caught, you get punished. You still broke the rules, you still have  a consequence to pay. I don't know how severe the consequence should be because I don't have all of the facts or evidence in front of me but there will be  a consequence and the ignorant will complain about why there shouldn't be a consequence at all.
I hope that Ohio State University athletics gets what it deserves whether big or small based on evidence and the facts before the infractions committee and nothing more or less. They shouldn't get off easy because of who they are, but they shouldn't be overly punished because of who they are. They should get the punishment that best fits the crime. Maybe the death penalty is not harsh enough, but maybe losing 10 scholarships a year is not easy enough.

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2011 1:54 pm

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

t looks like Ohio State resembles the old SMU much more than USC.  Shut down all athletics at the school for four years.

The death penalty would be punishing the Columbus area (hotels, bars, resturaunts, etc) because OSU was not smart enough to hide all of their violations, violations you know most D1 football schools are doing.  And SMU only had football shut down for a season and the rest was self imposed.   And the level of infractions, as well as the amount of infractions, are completely different.  SMU was busted a couple times and kept doing what it was doing.  If the NCAA hits em hard now and then they keep doing what they are doing year after year, then the death penalty can start to come into the discussion.

At OSU, Tressell, the AD, and the Gee need to go to fix this.    If you want to hit the school where it hurts,  fire those major figures involved and impose a couple year ban from bowl games and major tv.  That would do the trick just fine for a school that prides itself on it bowls and national tv games.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or