Tag:Committee On Infractions
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:56 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 3:59 pm
 

Stiff NCAA penalties on the way with new model



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Scandals, scholarships and rules changes were among the topics of frequent conversation at last week's NCAA Convention and while not everything president Mark Emmert wanted - the $2,000 cost of attendance stipend for example - was passed by the Legislative Council and Board of Directors, it's safe to say what happened in Indianapolis laid the ground work for significant changes that will impact schools for decades to come.

While details on most proposals from Presidential Working Groups finally emerged in some areas, the one place where there was plenty of talk but little substance was the new enforcement model that some in the organization have been tasked with reforming. After a year that included news about major infractions at Tennessee, Miami, Ohio State, North Carolina and others, it's no surprise that this would be one area of emphasis.

"We were damn mad and not going to take it anymore," Ed Ray, Oregon State president and chair of the Enforcement Working Group, said.

The Enforcement Working Group that came out of August's presidential retreat was tasked with creating a tiered violation structure, new penalty procedures, a reformed process for adjudication and a reformed process that is fair while supporting the collegiate model the organization is looking to uphold.

"In terms of what is our charge, we heard President Emmert talk about this risk-reward analysis and the fact that there seems to be a general loss of integrity and upholding the rules," Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach said. "This isn't purely a reactive move, we're not just doing this because of the scandals or if there is a crisis. We're doing this because it's the right thing to do. This is a time to redefine what are our principles and what do we stand for."

In addition to following the principles of fairness, accountability and process integrity, flexibility is one of the key things the new model is designed to address as there are currently only two categories of violations: major and secondary. The new model would have four levels (most egregious, serious, secondary, minor) with the Committee on Infractions taking into account various mitigating or aggravating factors that would then help determine penalties. While many believe the enforcement side just makes it up as they go along (and they can because they don't follow past precedent), the model should help move cases along in the system quicker and result in more consistency among penalties given out to schools.

"The working group recognizes the wide-spread perception that the current penalty model leads to inconsistent and insufficient penalties and does not adequately deter other institutions and individuals from engaging in conduct contrary to the rules," the working group's report stated. "The working group believes that the severity of the penalty imposed must correspond with the significance of the rule violation(s)."

If it all seems a bit dense and hard to understand, it is. That's why the NCAA created this proposed penalty matrix that gives you a better visual idea of what future programs will have to get used to if they break rules. For example, if you commit a serious Level I offense and there were no mitigating factors, you can expect a 2-3 year postseason ban.

"We haven't had a lot of pushback on this," Roe Lach said of the new multi-level structure. "If there's anything in the package that is a no-brainer, it seems like this may be it.

"An issue we've heard is we need to be more consistent and allow for more predictability. I think if we are more consistent, it would afford more predictability. The idea is to move toward a penalty guidelines model."

So how does it really work? Well, take the infamous USC case involving Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo among others: violations of NCAA bylaws governing amateurism; failure to report knowledge of violations; unethical conduct; violations of coaching staff limitations; impermissible recruiting contacts by a representative of the institution's athletics interests; impermissible inducements and extra benefits; and lack of institutional control.  

According to the new model, this would be classified as multiple Level I violations with four significant aggravating factors. Here's a comparison of penalties with what the Trojans got and what they would have received under the new model:



So yes, USC would have been punished even worse under the new proposed enforcement model coming from the NCAA. That's interesting because athletic director Pat Haden is on the enforcement working group and has made it a point to say that the Trojans were unfairly punished. In other examples provided by the NCAA, Baylor's basketball program would have seen the number of scholarships available slashed in half following the school's 2005 infractions case. Instead of fewer practice hours for Rich Rodriguez and Michigan in their case, the Wolverines could have lost up to four scholarships per year. Florida State's 2009 case could have seen football scholarship losses of 10-21 per year for three years instead of the six they received.

Given the new model, expect the hammer from Indianapolis to come down harder on cheaters in the future.

Posted on: October 26, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 10:14 pm
 

Q&A with NCAA VP for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach

Posted by Bryan Fischer

NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach has been on the job nearly a year as the NCAA's top cop and made a number of changes to her department. She sat down with CBSSports.com to discuss several of the reforms that are currently making their way through the legislative process ahead of this week's meetings.

CBSSports.com: What are some of the ways you're looking to streamline the enforcement process?

"I think we're accomplishing what we set out to do in terms of focusing on the sports and issues that need a lot of attention; football, men's basketball and agents in both of those sports. The different approach to cases too, we've talked about surge, which is sending people out and sounds more dramatic than it is, but more people and hands on deck when needed. With some of our cases, we just have a lot of people working it with different roles. Multiple investigators are on a case but now we've got this information group. I was talking with a guy who heads up an investigative group somewhere else and he has a whole corps of what they call 'desktop investigators.' That's basically what our information group does, they are there to mine the internet for information and to help us when we go through thousands of phone records.

"That group is helping with some of the higher profile cases and that is starting to pay dividends by finding the information and connecting the dots."

It seems like there's an emphasis on compliance recently, what's the genesis of this new culture and all these new ideas?

"That was part of the vision coming out of the Presidential Retreat, the idea that we need some reform. It's under the auspices of the idea of risk-reward, both in terms of coaches and administrators, with people saying I'll take the risk because I'm not going to get caught and if I do, the penalty is not going to be that grave. The idea is how do we address that. The working group I have the privilege to work with, those presidents have said that we need to take a look at the violation structure because there's a pretty wide disparity between secondary and major. Those are two extremes, what about the stuff in the middle? Once we figure that out, what penalties need to be in place for each level. I think there will be some significant reform or change - it will be different."

Is there more of an emphasis on fixing your division?

"I've not spent a lot of time thinking about the other groups because I think we have a challenge from an enforcement perspective. Having said that, I know Kevin and his team are spending a lot of resources and time on looking at the rules, figuring out which rules make sense and which ones we need and which ones we do we not. That's a huge undertaking. Important but huge. I would not venture to say that we've got more work than somebody else, I know we've got our fair share."

Is there a new penalty structure forthcoming?

"I think it's too early to predict. Our group has met on the phone and they've rolled up their sleeves and done their homework. We're three meetings in and will continue that, including a lengthy in-person meeting in December. I think after that we'll have a better idea of where we'll end up."

We've seen some of the membership openly question some decisions, will this address some of the concerns from those at schools?

"I don't know if it's designed to address membership critique, I think that's healthy. But if there's a problem with the decision, that's what I've been asking in my travels and outreach. I'm asking what are we as an enforcement program doing well or not doing well. I prefer they tell me directly but they obviously can voice their opinions elsewhere and have the ability to do that. This reform isn't a knee-jerk reaction, it's more of a momentum from saying that we have a certain type of violation or mentality out there and what we need to do to address.

Will we see more financial penalties, taking away TV revenue from major rules violators?

"Financial penalties are on the menu of options the Committee on Infractions can impose. Even the enforcement staff can for secondaries infractions, obviously a lesser dollar value. In recent cases the committee had imposed financial penalties. There are two types of financial penalties, the flat-out fine and the requirement that schools receive from playing in - for instance - the tournament. I have a case in mind that the committee required that and the amount was well beyond $100,000. I don't foresee that penalty come off the table but I think we'll see a discussion as to when does that penalty, for corrective action, more appropriate. Does it make an impact or not? If it does, in what way? And who? That's what there's been a lot of talk about, what are effective penalties. Let's use the ones that work, if that means narrowing the list or you widen it, you do it. It's premature though to say what's in or what's out."

You have been looking to update the definition of the agent, will that close loopholes?

"We don't have jurisdiction over agents, that's the players associations and the states - according to laws and the (Uniform Athletes Agents Act).  It is the definition of the agent in the UAAA and the 42 states that have stepped up and adopted it. Does that capture more than just the typical sports agent? That's what many states are asking right now. We certainly think that definition from an NCAA standpoint, as far as student-athletes taking benefits from or not, should they not be entering into agreements verbally or in writing. That expanded definition is a reflection of what's going on in the world more than a typical, registered, sports agent. The former definition, it worked for the time when it was adopted, but times changes. We've got to figure out the rules change too."

The state of North Carolina is suing for access to records, is there a reason it's resulted to this?

"We have cooperated with them and have given them the information that we can give them under the law. We've shared insights of the investigations when we could share them, not just within the law but within our own procedures. Not just generally but this is specifically who we're looking into and what we've learned. It's one thing to say that - which we've done in conversations - it's another to give documentary evidence. You have federal law that says you can't give education records because those student-athletes signed the FERPA release. They don't provide those documents for us to then provide to the world. We can only do that if we get a valid subpoena and that's really where the lynchpin is right now, what's a valid subpoena and what's not. We're not trying to play games but we need to make sure that if we're going to provide records protected under law, we do so when however we're being asked is a viable legal request.

"Make no mistake, we want states to enforce the UAAA. The fact that we're being represented as standing in the way of that is just flat out wrong."

Will we see open COI hearings or a more transparent process in the future?

"Whether or not that can happen will be a membership decision. I don't see that happening anytime soon. I was talking with somebody the other day about this, I don't know of any other private association that opens up its disciplinary hearings."

Are you worried about Congress getting involved and looking at things?

"It's interesting because I've gone back and looked at the historical enforcement files. As early as the 1970's, was one of the first congressional reviews of just enforcement and there have been several since then. That includes one that led to the Rex-Lee Report. There have been other individuals from the Supreme Court who have been involved in our review and come out with constructive suggestions that have shaped the fair process we have today. Many of the changes that have occurred, especially over the last 20 years, have been a result of membership asking strong legal minds to review the process and how to make it fair. I don't think congressional interest is new when you look at history. I wouldn't say it's in the back of my mind it's just a recognition that there is an interest in how we operate. Time and time again when a person reviews the reports, they say what you have works and it's fair and here are some ideas to improve it some more. No one has said that you need to blow this thing up and start over."

The SEC meetings, do you regret the run-in with Gene Chizik?

"I have no regrets. I think a run-in is really a mischaracterization, it was a discussion."

To his point, what is being done about concluding speedier investigations?

"When I've asked people what are we doing well, what are we not doing well from an enforcement standpoint. A common thread was investigations take too long. It's not from a lack of effort or energy from out staff. I can tell you that, our people work nights, work the weekends and take the red eyes. It has been what resources are we getting and when? Are we getting the right records, are people talking to us? How many doors get slammed in our face and how many tries to take before we say this person just won't talk to us? That obviously carries from case to case. The things we can control we demand it - putting more people, having people focus on heavy evidence review. There are somethings within our control that we are really track and improve on and we need to acknowledge what's beyond our control and is there anyway we can exert more influence over that."

Are things changing to where you will see major violations, secondaries go down?

"I don't know. I don't think secondaries going down are necessarily a reflection of risk-reward. Some secondaries, the intentional ones, yes. Some secondaries, it's a good thing because that means our schools are watching and monitoring and reporting. I think you can interpret those numbers in several ways. Same thing with majors, it depends on which types of cases we're talking about. I think it's too early to predict what sort of changes will happen. You hear anecdotally from some people, we never saw you before and now there's an enforcement presence. Does that mean there's a change in behavior or is it just driving it outside where it used to be? It's a big early to predict the impact."


Posted on: September 19, 2011 6:10 pm
 

Gamecocks receive NCAA Notice of Allegations

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The same day their neighbors to the north announced their response to an NCAA Notice of Allegations, South Carolina has announced that the Gamecocks have received their own NOA. And the details don't look good for the Gamecocks.

According to the NOA (PDF), the owner of the Whitney Hotel in Columbia -- described in the NOA as a "representative of the institution's athletics interests" -- provided some $47,000 in improper benefits to various Gamecock football players in the form of discounted hotel suites. The suites were charged to multiple players at a cost of just $14.59 per day, and with several players' having their already-reduced rent deferred, the players also stand accused of receiving "impermissible loans."

With the violations occurring throughout the 2009 season, it seems likely Carolina will have to vacate their seven wins that year.

That's only the start of the bad news for Carolina. The Student-Athlete Mentoring Foundation and Steve Gordon -- also described as a "representative of the institution's athletics interests" -- have been charged by the NOA with providing some $8,000 "impermissible recruiting inducements." Gordon and the S.A.M.'s involvement has already led to the suspensions this season of Florida's Sharrif Floyd and the Gamecocks' Damiere Byrd.

Between those two allegations and others (which include a pair of track athletes also receiving benefits at the Whitney), Carolina has been charged with "failure to monitor" and are "considered to be potential major violations." It also won't help the Gamecocks' case that the NOA also considers the Gamecocks subject to potential "repeat violator" status.

The Gamecocks will go in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in Los Angeles this coming February 17 and 18. At that meeting Carolina officials will either agree with or dispute the allegatiosn and self-impose any sanctions they deem necessary.

As for the bottom line -- what sanctions the Gamecocks will self-impose and which additional ones the NCAA might tack on -- it's too early to make anything more than an educated guess. But combining the $55,000 price tag with repeat violator status and the failure to monitor charge could be a toxic brew for the Gamecocks ... and one that we feel means a postseason ban or major scholarship reductions, if not likely, can't be ruled out, either.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 7:18 pm
 

Report: Kiffin, Tennessee escape sanctions

Posted Bryan Fischer

Tennessee's football program and former head coach Lane Kiffin will not be subject to further NCAA sanctions, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel.

The two parties went in front of the Committee on Infractions in June to explain major violations surrounding recruiting infractions and Kiffin's failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance. According to the report, the committee deemed these violations minor and accepted Tennessee's self-imposed penalty of two-years probation.

Former basketball coach Bruce Pearl and staff were not as lucky, as a source told CBSSports.com that Pearl would receive a multi-year show-cause penalty and former Vols assistants Tony Jones, Steve Forbes and Jason Shay will each receive a one-year show-cause. No further restrictions were placed on the program beyond what was self-imposed.

Kiffin left Knoxville to become head coach at USC and is dealing with that school's NCAA sanctions following the Trojans' unsuccessful appeal earlier this year in the Reggie Bush case.

The News Sentinel and other outlets are reporting that the full NCAA Infractions report will be released on Wednesday.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:29 am
 

Larry Scott has some choice words for Paul Dee

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has ruffled the feathers of those in college athletics before and it appears he has no problem doing so again in light of reports about significant NCAA violations at Miami.

Scott's most recent shot across the bow is aimed directly at Paul Dee, who was athletic director in Coral Gables when most of the violations occurred. Dee also was chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions and severely sanctioned USC for the school knowing or that they should have known about violations involving running back Reggie Bush.

Safe to say the commissioner agrees with many that Dee blasting the Trojans while his own department ran amok makes him a hypocrite.

"If the allegations prove true," Scott told The Los Angeles Times, "the words irony and hypocrisy don't seem to go far enough."

Scott added that the reports about what happened with the Hurricanes were "a real indictment of some of the problems that exist in college sports and college football and underscores the need for dramatic reform in rules, culture and the enforcement process."

Though he stopped short of fully advocating it, the commissioner also brought up the possibility that the NCAA could separate the enforcement process and allowing it to be done outside the organization.

"I think we need to step back and consider bold new ideas, including the possibility of bringing in outside resources," he said.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 10:18 pm
 

Emmert's chance to shine doused by Ohio St. case

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Mark Emmert, you have lost our confidence in your ability to do the job.

The next time you speak, we won't be able to take you seriously thanks to news that Ohio State would not face additional charges of failure to monitor or lack of institutional control in the school's infraction case.

'It's all about what the NCAA can prove, not what we've read' is the company line. Well, you had a chance to prove things but you said you weren't going to try.

CBSSports.com took a thorough look at cheating in college football, spending nine days chronicling just how rampant the rule breaking has been over the years. The purpose was the examine the subject with an eye towards where the sport was headed in the near future.

Senior writer Dennis Dodd ended the series saying Ohio State would be a landmark case going forward.

"This is what NCAA president Mark Emmert has been advocating, a way to make the cheaters and liars think twice about cheating and lying," Dodd wrote.

The president failed, however, to send that message Friday. Emmert has called for tougher enforcement numerous times since taking office and here, in front of a primetime audience, was his Howard Beale moment.

He could have sent a message that he was mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore. Instead, he lost what little confidence we had in "fixing" college athletics.

Dennis Thomas, the chairman of the Committee on Infractions, said on a conference call earlier this month that the committee "was not in the business of sending messages."

Sorry to say it, but the NCAA's enforcement staff and the Committee on Infractions are in the business of sending messages.

They sent one loud and clear: It's ok to cheat. Blame it on the coach if you get caught. No need to monitor emails either.

But you better check on that house 100 miles away.

Emmert has talked about openness and a better understanding. The organization invited several members of the national media to Indianapolis for what they called the "Enforcement Experience."

The aim of it, as Vice President for Enforcement Julie Roe Lach explained to compliance officers from across the country, was for a good number of positive pieces and to remind everybody that the NCAA and the Committee on Infractions are separate.

Last I checked though, the enforcement staff reports to the president. If Emmert wanted to push for a message, a simple walk down the hall could have resulted in serious charges against Ohio State.

According to interview transcripts, Jim Tressel mentioned an email tip to school compliance officers but failed to mention what was actually in the emails. The compliance office - or anyone else for that matter - failed to follow up on this. Yet the NCAA enforcement staff said the school "followed up on tips it received."

The school said they only found out about the emails in January "due to an unrelated legal matter." Ask Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany though and he'll tell you it was due to a FOIA request.

Appears no one, not even one of the most powerful people in the country, could get an accurate answer from the Buckeyes.

At one point in an interview, Tressel told the NCAA that Ohio State told him to get rid of documents so they wouldn't become public record.

The folks at Enron are very impressed.

If the committee can nail USC based on a two minute, thirty-two second phone call, they surely could nail Ohio State with all that.

Ohio State was lauded by many as having a large and well respected compliance office. Yet both the NCAA and Ohio State agreed in December that their education efforts were inadequate. That was the basis for allowing the so-called "Buckeye Five" to play in the Sugar Bowl.

So Ohio State didn't do a good job at rules education in December but by July, according to the case summary, the institution "provided education to football student-athletes and staff regarding extra benefits and preferential treatment."

That statement was contradicted by the enforcement staff five paragraphs later by the way.

"The institution took monitoring efforts designed to identify the sale or distribution of institutionally issued athletics awards, apparel apparel and equipment," but somehow didn't know Terrele Pryor was taking "whatever" he wanted out of the equipment room.

And let's not forget the school's treatment of their beloved "Senator."

"This is an individual that I have tremendous respect for," University president E. Gordon Gee said of Tressel on March 8. "He's had great success in working with young people and we applaud that. But I think equally importantly, he's had great success in building the character and reputation for this university, which I'm entirely grateful for. He's done so by example."

A few months later in the Buckeyes' self-report: "The institution is embarrassed by the actions of Tressel."

At least the flip-flopping when they're backed into a corner is consistent.

There's still one more chance for the organization to say enough is enough. The committee could add a failure to monitor charge or lack of institutional control charge following Ohio State's August 12th meeting with them. The committee did it with Indiana in the Kelvin Sampson case but has rarely done so. It can also choose to punish the school harshly despite the two serious charges, as it did with Alabama several years ago in the Albert Means case. They can also cite the enforcement staff for doing a bad job, which they have also done on occasion.

"I fully expect that every NCAA member institution be held to the same high standards," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said after USC's appeal was denied.

But based on everything that's happened so far with Ohio State, does anyone expect them to? Athletic director Gene Smith was the recent chairman of the NCAA Men's Basketball committee. Gee was Emmert's boss years ago at Colorado.

And even if the committee did hold them to those same high standards set in the USC case?

"I'll be shocked and disappointed and on the offensive, Smith told The Columbus Dispatch. "If I don't agree, we'll do everything we can to battle it and go through the appeals process."

Don't worry Gene, you've already won. Sorry Mark, you didn't.

After all, actions, Mr. Emmert, speak louder than words.

Posted on: July 19, 2011 7:15 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:13 am
 

After LSU case, time for a new COI chairman

Posted by Bryan Fischer

I'm sure Dennis Thomas is a nice guy. I'm sure he's a smart guy.

According to his bio, the MEAC commissioner has brought financial stability to the conference and negotiated a new media deal in the past few years. He's done plenty of other good things in his years as a college administrator. Thomas is also the chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions (COI) and tasked with leading the group that delivers findings and punishments for member schools.

And he also needs to go.

NCAA bylaws and infractions are not material designed for everyone, that's for sure. For reporters however, it has become almost a requirement to jump on an NCAA teleconference every couple of months and listen to the COI chair talk about the latest school to run afoul of the rules.

In the past six days, Thomas has been on a call with the media twice to discuss Georgia Tech's and LSU's NCAA infractions cases. Each time he has been vague, avoids direct questions and generally sounds like your grandpa does when he can't hear you talk about the ballgame because reception on your iPhone isn't that good.

For those who write about or explain things on-air about these often complicated cases, Thomas's style in answering questions has been extremely frustrating.

What takes the cake however is the almost comical exchange between him and FoxSports.com reporter Lisa Horne, who was interested in what might happen to LSU if the school was found to have committed violations in the ever-expanding Willie Lyles probe - a violation that would have happened prior to Tuesday's ruling but obviously a case the NCAA would be charging the university with afterwards. For nearly three minutes (and after Horne repeated the question three times) Thomas still couldn't give a clear and concise answer. You can listen to the call for yourself here.

On page 18 of LSU's public infractions report, it reads:

As required by NCAA legislation for any institution involved in a major infractions case,  Louisiana State University shall be subject to the provisions of NCAA Bylaw 19.5.2.3, concerning repeat violators, for a five-year period beginning on the effective date of the penalties in this case, July 19, 2011

To be even clearer than reading the report - which apparently Thomas could not have done - if LSU is found to have committed a major violation relating to the Willie Lyles fiasco, the school will not be punished as a repeat violator because the violations themselves took place before July 19th.

Simple, concise and directly from the report.

This is all on top of many reporters getting frustrated with Thomas' ability to not answer a question during Georgia Tech's conference call. Now it's not like previous COI chairs were any better on these calls but one would think that for one of - if not the - most powerful committees in the NCAA, the chairman would be well spoken enough to handle the media and be able to recall questions about bylaws relatively quickly.

Unfortunately, based on his time as chairman, Mr. Thomas is not.

So if the NCAA (and the member schools who could very well appear in front of the committee in the coming years) really wants to stop taking a hit from media members who bash the process, I'd suggest they start with a new COI chair. An NCAA task force that examined the infractions process suggested earlier this year finding a spokesperson for the committee to deliver reports, "someone who is media savvy."

To the fine folks at the NCAA and member schools: Either make this happen or get rid of the current chairman. You need someone who knows what they're talking about and can, well, talk.

And if you think it's just a few reporters that are upset about this, don't even begin to ask about the coaches.

Posted on: May 27, 2011 7:25 pm
 

Salesman: OSU associate AD called 'over 50 times'

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier this month, the world learned of Aaron Kniffin, the car salesman who allegedly sold cars to dozens of former and current Ohio State football players. Kniffin, if you'll recall, told reporters that the Ohio State compliance department directed its players to him on a routine basis, and that it reviewed the sales before they were made final. That doesn't sound terrible in and of itself, but those transactions are currently under investigation by the school and independent investigators, looking for any improper sales that may run afoul of NCAA regulations.

Interestingly, the Ohio State director of compliance, Doug Archie, denied Kniffin's account of events and said he had only talked to Kniffin once, that his office never reviews sales documents, and that his office never refers players to certain car dealerships.

Kniffin is not backing down from his claims, however. In an interview with the Sporting News published this afternoon, Kniffin puts the number of times he's talked to Archie a little higher than "one"; let's try "well over 50," in fact:

“Doug Archie has called me well over 50 times,” Kniffin said. “This year alone, I’ve talked to him 25-30 times. You can print out your Verizon (phone) bills; his numbers are right there calling me.”

When asked why Archie, who did not immediately respond to voice mail messages, said he only spoke to Kniffin once and denied that the deals were approved by OSU compliance, Kniffin said, “That’s something you’ll have to ask him. I’ve got records of it.”

Kniffin says he also has a copy of an affidavit he signed for Archie detailing the sales process, and stating no NCAA violations occurred during the process. That affidavit, Kniffin says, was sent to him by Archie four days after the May 7 story appeared in The Dispatch outlining potential NCAA violations.

Kniffin says the Ohio State compliance department—“either Doug Archie or Chris (Rogers)”—approved every co-signer on every loan, and knew every person associated with the deals.

Now, Kniffin is not alleging that any impropriety occurred, so it's not as if he's trying to bring down Ohio State or is clearly satisfying some sort of ulterior motive. Archie also stated earlier that he has "no reason to believe a violation has occurred," so it appears at this point that this investigation is more due diligence than anything else.

The fact that Archie appears to be misrepresenting his relationship with Kniffin is absolutely troubling, though. It's the behavior of someone with something to hide, and the NCAA usually doesn't care much for people who hide information from it. Of course, Archie made his statements to the Columbus Dispatch and not NCAA officials, but if what Kniffin is describing is true -- that Archie's compliance department checked out Kniffin's dealerships and made sure everything was on the up and up, why on earth wouldn't Archie make that known? If there are no violations, after all, then Kniffin's story makes Ohio State's compliance department look orders of magnitude more competent than how Archie characterizes it.  

Still, it must be reiterated that Archie had better hope like crazy that the investigation definitively uncovers no wrongdoing, because the alternative is an absolute nightmare for Ohio State. If Kniffin's allegations that Ohio State funneled athletes to these dealerships are correct -- and generally, the first person to offer to produce a paper trail is telling the truth -- and if there are untoward deals being made, then this is a situation where a NCAA member's compliance department is directing its athletes to break NCAA compliance rules, and that would be an outright sham. Still a lot of ifs in that situation... for now.

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