Ohio State To Investigate Player-Car Deals

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Ohio State University will investigate whether some of its student-athletes were getting special deals on used cars, 10 Investigates reported on Saturday.

At least 10 players or their family members purchased vehicles from Auto Direct, located on East Dublin-Granville Road, according to public records obtained by 10 Investigates.

Among the cars purchased was a 2003 Chevrolet Impala.  The player, whom 10 Investigates did not identify, paid $9,100 for it, more than the Kelley Blue Book value, 10 Investigates reported.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday that additional vehicles were sold to Ohio State athletes and their family members by Jack Maxton Chevrolet, also located on East Dublin-Granville Road.

There is nothing in NCAA rules that says players cannot buy vehicles from the same auto dealer.

10 Investigates obtained a document that Ohio State's compliance office said it provides to all auto dealers that clearly outlined what would violate NCAA rules when buying a vehicle.

The document said that vehicles cannot be sold to a player or his or her family at no cost.

Through a public records request, The Dispatch obtained a bill of sale that showed in 2009 a player purchased a two-year-old Chrysler 300 with less than 20,000 miles on it from Jack Maxton Chevrolet.  Documents show the purchase price as $0, which would appear to be a violation of NCAA rules.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles told 10 Investigates that it would review the purchases.

"It's important to note that student-athletes are permitted to purchase automobiles," said Doug Archie, associate athletic director and head of compliance at OSU in a statement that was released to The Dispatch and 10TV News.  "What is not permitted is any special treatment is such sales, and we have seen no evidence to suggest that any special treatment was granted."

Jason Goss, owner of Auto Direct, told 10 Investigates that the story is "ridiculous" and "has no merit."  Goss said that when and if the university wants any documentation about the vehicle purchases, he would supply them to the university.

Jack Maxton owner Jeff Mauk was in a meeting and did not immediately return calls to 10 Investigates.

The report comes as the university awaits an NCAA ruling about football coach Jim Tressel and how much he knew about some of his players trading memorabilia for tattoos, and his knowledge in the case.

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