Let’s get this out of the way right from the start: what’s alluded to in the headline is not an NCAA violation. It’s perfectly fine and well within the Association’s guidelines and bylaws.
And therein lies the problem. And the hypocrisy.
Even as at least 50 football players or relatives are under an internal investigation regarding their purchases of vehicles from two Columbus car dealerships, and even as former quarterback Terrelle Pryor is still the subject of an NCAA investigation into multiple vehicles he drove as a member of the Buckeyes, a television station in the city is reporting that a high-ranking member of Ohio State’s compliance department is driving around campus in a vehicle for which he paid the whopping sum of zero dollars and zero cents.
According to 10TV News in Columbus, OSU director of NCAA compliance Doug Archie received a “courtesy vehicle” from a local dealership in exchange for a pair of season tickets to Buckeye football games. The dealership Archie received his free Jeep from is owned by Mike D’Andrea, a former Buckeyes linebacker.
While athletic director Gene Smith‘s contract explicitly states that he receive a free car as part of his contract, there’s no such stipulation in Archie’s arrangement with the university.
First of all, Doug Archie pulls in nearly $120,000 a year in compensation from the school; pay for your own damn Jeep.
Secondly, let me make sure I have this straight: it’s perfectly fine for an individual to use his position as a member of the OSU athletic department to receive a free vehicle — Doug Archie, the plumber, certainly wouldn’t have received the same perk — while a player crosses NCAA lines by receiving a better deal on a vehicle would or other loaner perks from a dealership than the general public would?
Or, as an agent who represents coaches at multiple levels of the game put it…
“There needs to be some separation from the compliance office and who they are regulating, which is the players,” the agent, Bret Adams, told the television station. “In the real world, if you’re regulating somebody, you’re not cozying up to the people who you are regulating.”
Again, what is going on at OSU — and at Florida and three other Big Ten schools among others named in the station’s report — is not against NCAA rules. The perception, though, given the situation the OSU football program currently finds itself in when it comes to vehicles? It stinks to high heaven. Or smells like holy hell. Take your pick.
The NCAA is currently knee-deep in hypocrisy and neck-deep in negative public perception — or vice versa — with no signs of digging themselves out of either in the near future. Agents, runners, seven-on-sevens ruining the game? Some members of the Association seem hellbent on accomplishing that feat themselves.