Report: Car sold for $13,700, not $0
Former Ohio State linebacker Thaddeus Gibson didn't understand why his purchase of a used Chrysler 300C was listed at $0 in documents disclosed in a media report, since he was still making payments on the vehicle.
Now, newly uncovered documents appear to back up Gibson -- to the tune of $13,700.
In an initial report on Ohio State's investigation of car sales to athletes and their families, The Columbus Dispatch cited documents showing a purchase price of $0 for Gibson's car.
But on Wednesday, the newspaper reported it obtained a previous title on the vehicle listing the purchase price as $13,700 for a sale dated June 27, 2007 and financed through Huntington National Bank.
The title listing the purchase price as $0 was dated March 6, 2008 and listed the same bank as the lender, according to the report.
Ohio State's compliance department is reviewing the sales of more than 50 cars to student-athletes and their families to make sure the sales meet NCAA rules.
The Dispatch reported that a car salesman who received game passes from Ohio State athletes handled many of the deals at two different dealerships. Ohio State has since taken the salesman, Aaron Kniffin, off the pass list.
Athletes are prevented from receiving special deals not available to other students and are not permitted to trade autographs for discounts. Both dealerships display signed Ohio State memorabilia in their showrooms.
School officials have seen no evidence of players getting special treatment in vehicle sales, Douglas Archie, associate athletic director for compliance, said in a statement Saturday.
"Consistent with our standard procedures, we are nevertheless reviewing these sales to assure ourselves that our policies were adhered to," he said.
The mother and brother of Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor also purchased cars from the dealerships. Kniffin loaned his own car to Pryor for a three-day test drive to Pryor's home in Jeannette, Pa.
Kniffin and the owner of one of the dealerships he worked for, Jason Goss, have attended seven football games as guests of players, including the 2007 national championship game and the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.
The car sales investigation comes on the heels of Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel being punished for not revealing his knowledge of his players' NCAA violations.
Tressel was notified in April 2010 via emails from a Buckeyes fan and former player that Ohio State players were trading signed jerseys and other memorabilia to a Columbus tattoo parlor owner for cash and reduced-price tattoos. Even though his contract and NCAA rules required him to notify athletic director Gene Smith, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee or the university's compliance department, Tressel did not do that.
It was not until more than nine months passed -- and five players including Pryor had been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season -- that Ohio State officials discovered the emails and confronted Tressel. He finally admitted he knew of the players getting improper benefits.
Tressel was originally suspended for two games -- later extended to the first five games this fall to match the punishment of the five players -- and was fined $250,000, required to make a public apology and receive a public reprimand and to attend an NCAA compliance seminar.
The NCAA is still investigating Ohio State and Tressel, who are scheduled to appear before the NCAA's committee on infractions Aug. 12.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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