Friday, June 17, 2011

CSI: Columbus

Central Ohio's News Leader has uncovered new evidence of questionable practices at THE Ohio State University.
Several of Ohio State's athletic administrators workers drive courtesy cars that are provided by local car dealers, including the director of NCAA compliance, 10 Investigates' Paul Aker reported on Thursday.

10 Investigates asked for permission to take video of Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith's Cadillac and Ohio State director of NCAA compliance Doug Archie's Jeep. The university declined.

So 10TV News took surveillance video to show the free cars that they drive and the conflict of interest that critics say the vehicles create.

For Smith, the Cadillac is part of his deal. He earns $800,000 a year and his contract requires a free car for him and his wife. Archie, who is directly responsible for making sure players don't go wrong with car dealers, makes $117,000 a year. He does not have a contract that guarantees a free car.

Archie's car comes from the Buckeye family, Aker reported. He gets his car from Miracle Motor Mart, located at 2380 Morse Crossing. Former 1980s-era Ohio State player Mike D'Andrea, who owns the lot, said he sometimes employs student athletes during the summer.

In exchange for the cars, D'Andrea said he received a pair of season tickets to Ohio State football games.

A university spokesman said that other universities have similar programs.
10 Investigates checked and found the university explanation does not totally hold up. While most Big Ten schools allow their athletic directors to take free cars from dealers, that's not so for compliance officers.
Three other Big Ten institutions -- Iowa, Michigan State and Michigan - said that it is OK for their compliance officers to get free dealer cars. The eight other schools, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin said that they do not allow it.
Now, while it is not an NCAA violation for the compliance officer to have a courtesy car, it certainly sounds unethical (enough so that 8 of 12 Big Ten schools specifically do not allow it.)  It really reduces the compliance department's credibility.  They are supposed to be policing the students and preventing them from getting benefits . . . from the same car dealers they themselves are getting benefits (and apparently giving benefits to such as season tickets) from.

Everybody gets free cars, gives free season tickets, looks the other way.  That makes it right, right?

In another article on, the University is now considering hiring private investigators to watch the student athletes, since apparently, the compliance department can't do that.
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said Thursday he is considering hiring private investigators to strengthen the monitoring of Buckeye student-athletes.

Smith said he had hired two compliance officers in the past three weeks.

"One of our biggest problems are the third parties," Smith said. "Our young people are tempted, and the reality is, 'How do we get at them?'

"The reality is there's things that the third parties are good at. That's why they do what they do. They're good at it. And the reason they continue to do what they do is because they are successful and they adapt."
The reality is that Ohio State has no institutional control, and the institution itself is on the take as well.

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