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Ohio State reportedly investigating players' car deals

CBSSports.com wire reports
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State's director of compliance is reviewing at least 50 car sales to Buckeyes athletes and relatives to see if they met NCAA rules, the Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday.

The newspaper reported that a salesman who received game passes from Ohio State athletes handled many of the deals at two different dealerships. Ohio State has since taken the salesman, Aaron Kniffin, off the pass list.

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Athletes are prevented from receiving special deals not available to other students. They are not permitted to trade autographs for discounts. Both dealerships display signed Ohio State memorabilia in their showrooms.

One car, a 2-year-old Chrysler 300 with fewer than 20,000 miles, was titled to then-sophomore defensive player Thaddeus Gibson in 2009. Documents show the purchase price as $0. Gibson said he did not know why the title showed a zero for the purchase price and said he was still paying for the car.

State law requires dealers to report accurate information about all car sales for tax purposes.

School officials have seen no evidence of players getting special treatment in vehicle sales, Douglas Archie, associate athletic director for compliance, said in a statement Saturday.

"Consistent with our standard procedures, we are nevertheless reviewing these sales to assure ourselves that our policies were adhered to," he said.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor's mother and brother also purchased cars from the dealerships. Kniffin loaned his own car to Pryor for a three-day test drive to Pryor's home in Jeannette, Pa.

Kniffin and the owner of one of the dealerships he worked for, Jason Goss, have attended seven football games as guests of players, including the 2007 national championship game and the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.

Ohio State already has five players -- including Pryor -- serving five-game suspensions for accepting improper benefits from a tattoo parlor. The NCAA is investigating coach Jim Tressel, also suspended for five games, for knowing about the benefits but not telling superiors.

As part of his punishment for not revealing his knowledge of his players' NCAA violations, Tressel is scheduled to attend a five-day compliance seminar in June in Tampa, Fla.

Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch confirmed Saturday that Tressel would take part in the NCAA-sponsored event June 6-10 at a resort hotel on the waterfront.

One of the topics of the compliance seminar -- one of two put on by the NCAA this summer -- is "Division I Major Infractions."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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