Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BMV REPORT TUESDAY MAY SPARE OHIO STATE THE DEATH PENALTY

COLUMBUS — According to a 65-page report issued Tuesday by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, there was no wrongdoing found in the sales transactions between Ohio State football players and two Columbus-area auto dealers, the investigation revealed.

After state investigators looked into each of the sales, including certificates of title, dealer sales files, power of attorney forms and records of prior ownership, they found that the two dealerships — Jack Maxton Chevrolet and Auto Direct — made money on 24 of the 25 transactions to Ohio State football players between 2006 and 2010.

One vehicle had been sold at a loss because of it being on the lot for more than 150 days.

"Today's report from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles supports the sworn statements two Columbus auto dealers provided us that the manner in which they conducted sales with Ohio State student-athletes and their families adhered to the university and NCAA rules," OSU compliance chief Doug Archie said, in a statement on Tuesday.

The report by the BMV can be viewed as a huge positive for the Buckeyes' football program, which has watched its head coach Jim Tressel resign and star quarterback Terrelle Pryor quit in the past month, amid a firestorm of NCAA violations and alleged wrongdoing by members of the team.

Ohio State will also have four players — Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas — suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for receiving improper benefits.

What makes the news on Tuesday such a positive for the program is that the last "notice of allegations" issued to Ohio State by the NCAA back in April didn't cite the university for "failure to monitor" or "failure of institutional control" — issues which are widely considered death sentences if a school is found guilty.

The NCAA found Tressel, and not the school, at fault for withholding information of player violations and stated that the Buckeyes former coach "falsely attested that he reported to the institution any knowledge of NCAA violations when he signed the institution's certification of compliance form, which is required under Bylaw 18.4.2.1.1.4."

Tressel resigned on May 30.

There is still an ongoing investigation on the dealer-issued loaner cars Pryor has driven in the past couple years. However, the report by the BMV stated that the practice between the dealer and Pryor is completely legal and offers no special treatment to the player.

"On the contrary, the statute that governs the use of dealer-plated vehicles by third parties expressly permits dealers to allow any member of the public to operate dealer-owned vehicles," the report read.

Ohio State will meet with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis on Aug. 12 to officially state their case and answer any further questions the NCAA has about the investigation on violations.

It's difficult to determine what judgement will follow Ohio State's meeting in August. But with the players being cleared of any wrongdoing by the BMV Tuesday, and the NCAA already notifying the school in April that they were not found to be at fault (only Tressel), the university may not face as big a punishment as many believe.

At least not the death penalty.