Remember CARA? Michigan's NCAA troubles began when the compliance forms designed to track countable hours stopped getting submitted in a timely fashion. One of Michigan's regular internal audits came around, noticed the empty file, and wrote something stern about it. Someone who has hopefully been fired with prejudice leaked that report, the Free Press piled on that molehill like a mofo, and bam: major-ish NCAA violations. The whole saga is encapsulated in a lengthy rant on this site.
The equivalent in Columbus has just been FOIAed:
An audit of Ohio State University's compliance department in November found that it was not doing enough to monitor the use of cars, uniforms and equipment by athletes.
… The OSU auditors wrote in November that the department needed to pay more attention to athletes' cars, particularly those driven by football players, and needed more control over the inventory of uniforms and equipment.
At this point Tressel had already failed to act on Cicero's email and the legal department was just about to stumble on this fact.
In Michigan's case they ended up releasing a torrent of emails from compliance to the football administrators that went unreplied to. (The only figure censured in the final report still at Michigan is Labadie-badgerer Ann Vollano.) In Ohio State's case it seems more like willfull ignorance, as the Dispatch buries its lead way at the bottom of its article:
In 2006, the auditors' review of athletes' car registration forms found that they were incomplete and sometimes inconsistent with the car registry maintained by University Transportation and Parking. Compliance officials vowed to correct the problem.
But last year, the auditors reviewed car registrations of 152 athletes and observed vehicles driven by football players to spring practice. Auditors found that 44 athletes bought parking permits for, received parking tickets in, or were seen driving cars that weren't registered.
Records obtained in May show that football players continue to submit incomplete forms, lacking sales prices, dates of purchases, co-signers and other required information.
That is an obvious, huge problem that Ohio State officials took no action on despite problems existing five years ago. Dollars to donuts the bulk of those odd cars were being driven by football players. Probably a third of the team was driving around in cars they had not registered with the department. They cleverly hid this fact by driving those cars to practice.
It makes me fist-shakingly angry to hear the new Pryorlawyer's spin about this—he just buys a new car every three months and takes them on test drives and this keeps happening despite getting two heinous speeding tickets. This does not happen to humans. It only happens to Buckeyes.
In The Tank
On a similar note, man, the Dispatch is fanboi central. You do not need to be told this. They have a "days since Michigan beat OSU" clock. But if they had any stones at all they would have turned this up years ago. In a way we might actually be thankful to them since the pattern of don'tgiveadamn got longer and longer as they asked Tressel about how awesome he was, but it's telling that all the Dispatch stories are coming from the news side of the aisle. Toy department in full effect.
As an example, by miraculous coincidence I actually read a Facebook message someone had sent me*; This message was attached to a message the guy had previously sent me in 2008, when Ohio State defensive lineman Doug Worthington picked up a DUI. Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer checked the VIN number of what the police report said was a "2004 Cadillac station wagon" and found the car was in fact an Escalade. Homer McHomer (AKA Ken Gordon) at the Dispatch left that out of the story, causing one of those internet newpaper tiffs in which the principals gently poke at each other while maintaining solidarity against the masses.
Meanwhile, even Lesmerises missed kind of a thing when he attempted to explain the discrepancy:
What exactly does that mean?
Not that much, according to Richard Morman, the deputy chief of police for the OSU campus police. He said that Worthington had recently purchased the Escalade (which goes for about $20,000 to $24,000 according to the Kelley Blue Book). According to Morman, the dealer put his old plates, from what Morman said was a GMC sports utility vehicle, on the Escalade and told Worthington to make sure the plates were properly transferred
Lesmerises noticed the discrepancy between what the car was supposed to be on the police report and what the campus police said, but didn't follow up. That's better than Homer McHomer playing see no evil, but something less than dogged.
This section will probably get me a sarcastic tweet from a newspaper guy comparing this section to my reaction to the Free Press. So: I've never been against digging, just being completely wrong and sensational.
*[Do not send me facebook messages—I don't reply. Sorry. Email is always best.]