Tag:Committee on Infractions
Posted on: May 27, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Don't expect changes at Ohio State anytime soon

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It seems as though the NCAA troubles at Ohio State have taken more twists than the latest episode of General Hospital, with a new story seemingly popping up every day. The latest twist seems to come from former Buckeye Ray Small denying many of his comments to the Ohio State student newspaper, The Lantern, about multiple student-athletes selling memorabilia and receiving discounts on cars. Small's story is just another thing for some fans to shake their heads at in the nearly five months since violations involving the so-called 'Buckeye Five' were brought to light.

“There are no other NCAA violations around this case,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a Dec. 23, 2010 press conference. “We’re very fortunate we do not have a systemic problem in our program. This is isolated to these young men, isolated to this particular incident. There are no other violations that exist.”

As time has passed from that presser however, Smith has seen several other damaging stories about additional violations - head coach Jim Tressel lying to about his knowledge of the case being the biggest - since then. It's quite possible that even more could come out before the school's August 12th hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

Several alumni, fans and media members have publicly called for the resignation of some of Ohio State's leadership - particularly Smith and Tressel - as a way to stave off possible sanctions. That, however, doesn't appear to be on the table in the near future based on documents obtained Friday by the Associated Press and CBSSports.com.

Although the school declined to turnover communications from Tressel to administrators involving quarterback Terrelle Pryor (citing privacy laws), they did release several documents that pointed to Smith's standing in the athletic department.

More on Ohio State
"You are doing an excellent job leading the department of athletics and achieving national prominence. It is truly a privilege to work with you," University president E. Gordon Gee wrote in Smith's most recent performance review. "I want to strongly state - with great emphases - that I consider you a role model for leaders as to living the institutional values, incorporating the culture principles, and creating one of the highest performing organizations on campus.

"Over time we will reach the point where I recognize your University leadership role with a Vice President title."

Gee's comments, written in August of last year, seem to channel his thinking with Tressel and speak to both leaders' stature at the school despite being at the center of the controversy in Columbus.

“No, are you kidding me? I’m just hopeful that the coach doesn’t dismiss me,” Gee said during a March press conference.

While widely mocked about the comment, it appears it's very reflective of Gee's thinking about the Buckeyes head coach and the documents released today seem to reflect the same about Smith. Tressel's performance evaluation was done verbally and thus, was not able to be requested.

There's still plenty of time between today and the school having to explain themselves to the Committee on Infractions. It seems hard, however, to fathom that Gee will make a move against either Smith or Tressel in the meantime.




Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: May 14, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Jim Tressel won't be resigning

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If it wasn't obvious before, it's pretty clear now that if Jim Tressel is not the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes next season it won't be because he stepped down from his posiiton willingly. It was reported on Friday that Tressel had hired the former chairman of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, Gene Marsh, to be his lawyer.

But nothing indicates quitting is part of Tressel's thinking right now. And Gene Marsh, the former chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions who has been retained by Tressel in recent weeks, agreed with that sentiment in a brief interview with The Plain Dealer on Friday.

According to conversations with others in the past week, Tressel's intentions, like it or not, are to stay with his players and continue what he sees as his mission at Ohio State.

Which, in my opinion, is incredibly selfish of Tressel.

I've already let my feeling be known about Jim Tressel and what his future at Ohio State should be, writing last week that Ohio State should part ways with its head coach. Then there was former Ohio State Buckeye Chris Spielman who said he would be surprised if Jim Tressel were still coaching the Buckeyes in 2011, and that he also thought there would be "more stuff coming out." 

There truly is nothing good that can come to Ohio State by Tressel refusing to step down. His continued presence may not only bring a harsher penalty from the NCAA -- which Ohio State would deserve seeing as how it never fired him -- but also continued scrutiny of the school. Think of the damage that has been done to Ohio State's reputation in the college football world over the last few months. The worst part of Ohio State's old reputation was that it could win the Big Ten, but it couldn't compete with SEC schools on the BCS stage. Well, after finally beating an SEC team in Arkansas at the Sugar Bowl in January -- a win that itself was overshadowed by Terrelle Pryor and other suspended Buckeyes being allowed to play in the game -- Ohio State has only seen its image become one of a program gone awry.

While talking to The Birmingham News, Marsh said that he thought Tressel's history and record would benefit him during the investigation.

"Obviously, the track record should matter because some people's track records are good and some people's track records are bad," Marsh told the paper. "I was on the committee for nine years. All I can say is it always mattered to me."

Does Marsh mean the track record that former Buckeyes running back Maurice Clarett first tipped us off to seven years ago? Sure, back then we may have brushed off Clarett's comments because of the source, but the things he claimed were taking place at Ohio State then -- free loaner cars, payment for jobs he didn't have to do and payments from boosters -- sure do ring a bit of a bell now, don't they?

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.

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