Tag:Doug Archie
Posted on: July 22, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Report: Tressel let OSU know of problems in Dec.

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you thought that you were done reading about Jim Tressel, tattoos, Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State, well, then you're incredibly naive. This is a story that won't be going away anytime soon.

The lastest in the ongoing saga at Ohio State involves when Jim Tressel let the school know about any possible issues involving his players and their love of getting tattoos in exchange for Ohio State memorabilia.

According to Ohio State, the school did not become aware of any problem until January while it was investigating an "unrelated legal matter." Well, according to a report from Ohio television station WBNS, that's not the case. The report says that Tressel told NCAA investigators he told Ohio State officials about a tip he received on the issue a month earlier in December.
Multiple sources told 10 Investigates' Paul Aker that Tressel claimed he verbally disclosed the tip he received about his players' involvement with tattoo shop owner Ed Rife around Dec. 16 to compliance director Doug Archie, Julie Vannatta, Ohio State's senior assistant general counsel, and perhaps others.

10 Investigates asked Vannatta about the claim. She said that she is aware Tressel made such a statement, but that it is not true.
What does this mean for Ohio State and the current NCAA investigation? Honestly, I'm not sure it means much. Obviously, if Tressel is telling the truth, then it's pretty clear that Ohio State has been lying to the NCAA, which wouldn't be good for the school, Gene Smith, Doug Archie or Julie Vannatta. Still, even if Tressel is telling the truth -- and I don't see why he'd have any reason to lie about it at this point -- the NCAA would still have to prove that Ohio State had been lying to them the entire time, and without concrete evidence -- like an email -- it's just a case of "he said, they said."

It could just be possible that Tressel is getting his dates mixed up. I mean, it's been reported he first found out about all of this in April of 2010, and when you sit on information for as long as he did, it's easy to forget whether you were hiding information for eight or nine months. I mean, it's not like Tressel would be the first person to get his dates and concept of time altered during this mess.
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.

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

For OSU, legitimacy of athletic dept. at stake

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.

 
 
 
 
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