The Buckeye Equivalent Of CARA

Submitted by Brian on June 3rd, 2011 at 12:09 PM

tressel-nothing-fishy

PREVAIL AND RIDEEEEEEE

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.]

Comments

Mitch Cumstein

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

Going with the theme of this amazing MS paint sequence in all of these updates,  when/if we do end up poaching an OSU recruit, is that when we get to see the pant-less Michigan fan on the front page?

uniqenam

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:28 PM ^

That picture is literally the best thing I've ever seen on the internet.  Shut down MGoBlog, Brian, you're not going to top that one.

I'm not even kidding, I just laughed so hard that people came in from the lab across the hall.

snowcrash

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:34 PM ^

Auditors found that 44 athletes bought parking permits for, received parking tickets in, or were seen driving cars that weren't registered. 

So much for the idea that this is just a Tressel problem, not a failure of institutional control. They're going to get hammered at least as badly as USC did.  

 

Foote Fetish

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

I mean, I know that I really shouldn't be taking so much pleasure in other people's misfortune, but I just... I... I love all of it.  I really do.

I also hope that one day these past few months and the ones ahead are known to future generations as a golden age of satire and snarky internet wit.

It's all just so good.

mGrowOld

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

I said Sunday that Lesmeris's column in the Sunday Plain Dealer indicated he was leaving the blindingly pro-tressel camp or at lest he had doubts. 

I'll bet he's happy that piece ran on Sunday and not Monday!

MGoStrength

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

how OSU fans still think this is slander and there is no reasonable cause of wrong doing.  There are just sooo many things that look so bad and don't add up.  I sure do enjoy watching it unfold though.

maizenbluenc

June 3rd, 2011 at 2:11 PM ^

So the Buckeyes (actual OSU gratuate [sic] type Buckeyes) I know have been strangely out of contact. When I have spoken to them, they pretty much have been on the St. Tressel taking the fall for a bunch of minorly bad apples type of meme. Complete with "you guys are lucky you didn't get Pryor". When I mention Smith and Clarett, I here of more bad apples, and how can you really control everything a kid does. You recruit 'em and bring 'em in, and give 'em this wonderful opportunity, and they get these side offers and some bad apples take them, and poor St. Tress tries to quietly set them back on the straight and narrow.

Then again I talk to a few old Michigan friends now and then, and they are like unlike Rodriguez, Hoke threw that Stonum kid off the team. Even when I broach the disciplinary actions Rodriguez took, it gets explained away with only when he had too. (Oh and CARA was all on Rich, it apparently didn't start under Lloyd ...)

It amazes me how even the educated masses, can be such lemmings. They'll trumpet what they want to believe like it is deeply rooted fact.

Crentski

June 3rd, 2011 at 10:24 PM ^

is unfortunately a Buckeye (some are actually decent). I asked him how he felt about Tressel.  He said he was thrilled he was gone but then said,

" Luckily we have a football program capable of winning, even after the rulings. Fact is, they take scholarships and post season away for NCAA rules violations, not the regular season..so this helps Michigan in no way, we'll still win the Big 10 year after year because the Big 10 isn't very talented. We'll continue to pour it on Michigan because with or without scandals (and they've been busted for football and basketball recently) nobody wants the Michigan coaching position. People still want to coach here. This will all blow over in less than two years and Michigan will not benefit in anyway from it, however, good luck in trying."

Maize and Blue…

June 5th, 2011 at 9:07 AM ^

USC was way down on scholarship players on the roster when the sanctions hit.  Then some underclassman left and they had no depth what so ever.  That's one of the reasons they fought the sanctions, it enabled them to replenish the roster with 31 scholarship players.  The four years before sanctions USC only took 73 LOIs.  If they wouldn't have fought the sanctions they would have been below 60 for scholarship players by the end of the the three years.

Unless the NCAA is relatively quick with sanctions I don't expect it to hurt OSU as much this year as it did USC the first year.  OSU will have more depth (unless more players are declared ineligible), but will have to deal with a first year starter at QB where USC had Barkley returning.

bronxblue

June 3rd, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

It sounds like from the quote that not only the football team's compliance officer failed to monitor the cars, but the whole athletic department apparently didn't keep an eye on the parking lot. i wonder how this will affect other teams at OSU, which will likely be under similar scrutiny now.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

June 3rd, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

It'd be a lot more fun if a significant chunk of the 44 cars weren't the football team.  You know, like, the basketball team, or their national champion men's volleyball team.  Just enough for the NCAA to have no choice but to say "lookit, you guys are totally out of control, dare we say, institutional control."

It might not matter, every passing day brings us closer and closer to that finding anyway.

MGoShoe

June 3rd, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

...has a good exposition of the elements of "Lack of Institutional Control" and how they apply to OSU based on this new info.

Point 1, "failure to establish a proper system for compliance or failure to monitor the operations of a compliance system appropriately" I think you've got enough evidence of this from OSU's own records, or lack thereof, regard the athletes' cars. OSU's know about these issues since 2006 (at a minimum) regarding student athletes' car registration. Almost five years later the problem persists. Yeah. I'd say this one is a pretty clear cut CHECK.

Point 2, "A person with compliance responsibilities does not take steps to alter the system of compliance when there are indications the system is not working." See above. You've known about the problem with the cars since 2006 and players still aren't reporting. You put out an APB on cars and tats in November of 2010 and it's still going on. There's evidence that OSU knew that equipment was going missing while all of the above was going down. CHECK.

Point 3, Who's in charge, oh yeah, no one. There's more finger pointing in Columbus right now that at a liars convention. Jim Tressel was in charge it's all his fault. No it was Compliance director Doug Archie. No, it was Gene Smith. And so on. It appears that the buck stops with Archie and Smith, but this story is so screwed up who the hell knows? I don't have enough to back a charge on this, so no check.

Point 4, whoever's in charge is everyone's bitch. No clue on this one. I'm guessing by the way that no one seems to respond to information requests or the number of outstanding question marks on OSU's auto registrations would lead you to concluding this was an issue, but again there's nothing to back it.

Point 5, "The institution fails to make clear, by its words and its actions, that those personnel who willfully violate NCAA rules, or who are grossly negligent in applying those rules, will be disciplined and made subject to discharge. Sorry, I've gotta use the whole block quote here. You know why. Oh Gordon Gee, you're the gift that keeps on giving. - CHECK.

The NCAA might impose further sanctions against Tressel and Ohio State, but it's clear the school won't hold Tressel accountable for his actions. Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee said he never considered firing Tressel. "No, are you kidding me?" Gee said. "Let me be very clear. I'm just hoping the coach doesn't dismiss me." [Gene] Smith was equally as supportive. "Wherever we end up at the end of the day, Jim Tressel is our football coach," Smith said. "All the speculation about him being terminated is pure speculation. This case, in my view, does not warrant it."

Point 6, see above. - CHECK.

Point 7, failure to investigate or direct an investigation of a possible significant violation. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. CHECK.

Point 8, head coach fails to create and maintain an atmosphere for compliance. So much CHECK.

So, out of eight examples set forth by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions of conduct that can be determined to constitute a lack of institutional control, Ohio State is facing damning confirmation on six of them. Not only is there a failure to monitor here, but there's an active cover-up on at least one of these obvious incidents (tatgate). This isn't even beginning to cover the colossal screwup within the compliance department regarding athlete's cars. The concept of an open secret here doesn't apply. Ohio State knew what was going on and did nothing to fix a broken system.

MGoShoe

June 3rd, 2011 at 10:05 PM ^

...therefore it's not premium info. While the blockquote is on the long end of the spectrum and is probably pushing it, the link is what's important to Maize n Brew. My guess is that anytime they're linked from MGoBlog their page views go up. So it's a tradeoff that works to their advantage.

markusr2007

June 4th, 2011 at 12:50 AM ^

The investigation has only started for Ohio State and they're already entering USC territory in terms of sanctions.

As far as the Big Ten goes, Ohio State is in no way a shoe-in for the conference title this fall. MSU, Iowa and Wisconsin are not going to be as good as they were last year.  Meanwhile, Michigan, Illinois and Northwestern are positioned to step up and surprise.  And there's Nebraska....

Njia

June 3rd, 2011 at 1:39 PM ^

TSIO's administration reminds me of Mickey Mouse. They started out bailing water, but with more and more coming in, fed by more and more buckets, couldn't keep up. Next, they look through their Book of Spells, trying to find the thing that will set everything all right. Of course, that hasn't worked. Now, they're just left to ride it out.

In their case, I don't think the Sorcerer returns to break the spell.

pbix

June 3rd, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

I have to this point silently endured the  "days since Michigan beat OSU" clock at the Dispatch.  It occurs to me that they will need to take this down sooner rather than later and I think it benevolent that we should start a suggestion campaign to fill the inevitable void.

My suggestions:

 "days since the last OSU victory not voided by NCAA" 

or 

"days until the next possible OSU bowl game"

 

stefan-nyc

June 3rd, 2011 at 4:26 PM ^

The Doug Worthington story does suggest that OSU Campus Police and Ken Gordon at the Columbus Dispatch took pains to conceal that Worthington was driving an Escalade when he was arrested for a DUI.  There are additional issues raised by the story.  Note the reference to his vehicle upgrade, from a "GMC sports utility vehicle" to the Escalade.  In this regard, the recent article about OSU LB Brian Rolle turning down an offer for an "better" and "cheaper" car might be revealing:

Rolle's statement came when [Jason] Smtih [of ESPN Radio] asked, "Give me an example of something you said no to."

“Somebody actually offered me a car and I said no,” Rolle said. “I actually bought a 2002 VW Jetta in ’09 and someone offered to give me another car, a better car, and cheaper, but me being the type of a person I am I said no to it because I wasn’t raised to do something like that.”

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/jun/02/football-former-immokalee-st…

Was OSU's Compliance Department aware of Worthington's Escalade upgrade at the time of Worthington's DUI?  If not, did Compliance at least have Worthington's Escalade properly registered (for purposes of NCAA compliance) after the DUI?  Or did Worthington's vehicle remain unregistered even after the DUI and its attendant news coverage, including Lesmerises' article in the Plain Dealer?

Further, questions appear to surround not only Worthington's car deal(s), but also his OSU memorabilia and his relationship with Edward Rife of Fine Line Ink Tattoos.  Worthington was Facebook friends with Rife and sported at least one elaborate tattoo.  http://www.sportsbybrooks.com/ohio-st-item-cited-by-ncaa-seen-on-pawn-s…

Worthington was also questioned about some Golden Pants bearing the initials DW and year 2008 that were sold on the TV show "Pawn Stars."  Worthington told Anthony Rothman of WBNS Radio in Columbus that he "gave his pants to family members and can't imagine any of them selling them to anyone."  http://www.sportsbybrooks.com/ohio-st-item-cited-by-ncaa-seen-on-pawn-s…

I could be wrong, but it seems like Worthington opted for OSU's "full benefits" package.

 

 

 

RedfordUofMfan

June 3rd, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

I used to semi-respect Ari Wasserman, staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.  He at times seemed somewhat obvjective in his perspective of the OSU football program.  His most recent article on the Rivals site is titled "Pryor Becomes Buckeye Scapegoat."  Granted, the title itself implies that Pryor and, indeed, the OSU football program, is somehow being unfairly singled out.  He then, however, has a paragraph that I thought supports the notion of his objectivity:

Fair or not, Pryor's flashy entrance into Ohio State's practice facility (he showed up driving the fancy Nissan) was the last straw for many fans. It was almost a symbol that not even the undoing of one of Ohio State's most legendary coaches would be enough for the quarterback to think twice about how he arrived to the meeting.

OK, cool, he recognizes that Pryor's is a tool, and his selfishness is partly to blame for Tressle's undoing.

Wasserman then goes on to highlight several quotes from Pryor's attorney that alleges the SI article is "90 percent innacurate," because, as we all know, paid attorneys' quotes are a beacon of truth.  Wasserman then concludes with this little nugget:

For now, the negative press has turned Pryor into the scapegoat. Current investigations into his life could end up making those feelings justifiable, but for now they seem somewhat irrational. 

Tool.

rockydude

June 3rd, 2011 at 5:37 PM ^

Apparently, in the interest of not being seen as giving improper benefits, OSU players this year will be required to provide their own cooler . . . . 

Indiana Blue

June 3rd, 2011 at 5:44 PM ^

Gotta run to the store ... more Orville Reddenbachers !!!   I need to get enough to last thru the summer !

I am really hoping someone makes this into a mini-series, ala "Playmakers" .... geez that would be so cool ....  who could they get to play tressel ?  obviously Pryor would play himself since he'll have nothing left to do ..... 

BTW  -  thanks Brian !

Go Blue !

Enjoy Life

June 3rd, 2011 at 8:29 PM ^

I am really tired of all the BS about "college athletes" not getting paid based on what they "return" to the U. Are you kidding me? What Universe all you from. NO ONE gets paid based on their return to the almighty CORP!

If a free $100,000 education isn't enough for you JOCKs, then boo, hoo, hoo.

Perhaps you need to join the real world!

Baskahegan

June 6th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

Require Coaches to get NCAA “Compliance” Certification: Tatt-gate highlights a huge hole in NCAA process, which is coaches claiming “I didn’t know the rules.” The only reason Tressel got tripped up was he was dumb enough to send out emails directly contradicting that claim. The NCAA can eliminate these phony claims of ignorance by requiring coaches to get “Certified” by taking a centralized course from the NCAA (not local school Compliance.) Once they get Certified, then NCAA’s standard response to coaches is: we presume you know the rules. End of discussion. See my posting on this at brewonsouthu.wordpress.com

Everyone Murders

June 6th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

It seems the real car story is going to be hard to glean from e-mail records, etc.  Not impossible, but difficult.  And unfortunately, I don't think the NCAA has the power to subpoena 3rd party witnesses.  (FOIAs only get you so far, but subpoenas are potentially very powerful devices.  Witness the Tyler Hamilton / Lance Armstrong saga.)

My hope is that the car situation is rotten enough at its core to generate some criminal investigation similar to the Tatts-For-Toys® investigation.  Next best would be if a lender or franchisor to the jock-sniffing car dealer pursued an investigation into potential misuse of their property/collateral, as a civil action could generate all sorts of interesting documents through the civil discovery process.  Anything that forced the car dealer or its staff to "spill" would be optimal.

In any event, I'm looking forward to the next surprise (my disdain for JT being enhanced by his recent "we're going to kick Michigan's ass in November" speech reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer).