UT compliance reminds Knoxville car dealers of 'potential dangers'

When he was at Marshall University, Tennessee associate athletic director for compliance Brad Bertani and his assistants would regularly canvass the town to remind local businesses about the illegalities and potential pitfalls that can arise from providing student-athletes with improper benefits.

In an area as populous as Knoxville, that's a little more difficult, but there are alternative ways to spread the word.

UT did that recently with a one-page letter it sent to all of the area's automobile dealerships. Outlined in the document, which the News Sentinel obtained from Garrett Motors, 8218 Chapman Hwy., are five things the dealers should completely avoid when the customer is a student-athlete.

The letter also came attached with a USA Today article that detailed Ohio State's recent car-related controversy, which brought on a wave of negative publicity and prompted an internal investigation.

"As part of The University of Tennessee's NCAA rules education efforts, the Compliance Office is reaching out to local car dealers to remind you of the potential dangers in running afoul with NCAA rules when dealing with student-athletes," the letter reads. "We want to ensure that your business does not receive unwanted attention due to a potential NCAA rules infraction."

In May, the Columbus Dispatch reported that eight Ohio State student-athletes and 11 athletes' relatives bought cars from Jack Maxton Chevrolet or Auto Direct in the past five years. A state probe concluded that there were no irregularities with the purchases, and the NCAA never charged Ohio State with any violations linked to the cars, but it certainly wasn't an ideal situation for the school's compliance department.

"We're, just in general, being proactive, kind of a cover-your-bases for all of your potential issues," Bertani said. "There wasn't anything stemming from a particular issue here or anything like that or a response to anything."

In the letter, UT reminds the dealers that student-athletes are not allowed to receive exclusive discounts, test drive automobiles "in a manner that is inconsistent with your normal business practices," receive special loan rates or be treated to free or discounted services. The dealers are also urged to scrutinize situations in which a non-family member is co-signing a loan and are encouraged to contact UT's compliance staff before entering into such an agreement.

In the month since the letter was distributed, Bertani said he's yet to hear any feedback from the dealerships.

UT is a little more than six months in to a two-year probation sentence, which it self-imposed before its NCAA Committee on Infractions hearing in June. Any misstep involving major NCAA violations could result in further, more severe punishment from college sports' governing body.

Attending meetings with local business owners, which the compliance department regularly does, and distributing letters like the one that surfaced Monday fall into the category of preventative maintenance.

"The goal," Bertani said, "is just to try and make them more aware of it."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 29

boonhower writes:

I have an idea. Let's just let Big Will provide them all with Kias. Lots of things get accomplished. The players get new cars and since they're kias, no suspicions are raised. Secondly, Big Will gets to provide a service to the players he so loves to be around. (I wanted to call him something else that involves the olfactory senses and a vital piece of athletic equipment but... oh well) Third, we continue to get inside info gleaned from said players when they exchange the info for their new Kias which gets subsequently retold by Big Will on various Knoxville radio shows. And finally, Kia gets the free exposure that comes from having local celebrity football players driving around in their cars. Winners all around.

Olcrow writes:

Da'Rick aint gonna drive no Kia

born2ride writes:

They should have sent a memo to the Lexus dealer about loaner cars when Kiffen was here - drinking, driving and wrecking while partying with young coeds.

MedinaMan writes:

No need to worry, who is good enough to get a car on this team!!!!

VolzsFan writes:

They will clean it up all the way to sub 500 seasons every year.

pickinhick writes:

Based on merit, they should all drive Yugos.

pickinhick writes:

Except for special teams, they should be thankful to have shoes.

BamaVol writes:

Sorry, I thought this was a Tennessee site. I'll sign out, then sign back in on the Vol site.

burpee_von_rotweiler_IV writes:

"student-athletes are not allowed to receive exclusive discounts, test drive automobiles "in a manner that is inconsistent with your normal business practices"

Obviously the policy does not apply to the coaching staffs.

underthehill writes:

Could be why they didn't play hard to get to a bowl..

DroopyDrawers writes:

Great!

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

And away they go. Running back, Imani Cross has decommitted, according to ESPN. How many more recruits will we lose now, after the debacle at Kentucky.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

Imani Cross (Gainesville, Ga./North Hall), who is the 19th ranked running back in the country, is no longer committed to Tennessee, ESPN's Jamie Newberg reports. Cross will visit Vanderbilt on January 20th and he also has offers from Georgia Tech, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, South Carolina, UCLA, UCF, Virginia and Wisconsin. Source: ESPN

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to tennvolsman19651965:

And away they go. Running back, Imani Cross has decommitted, according to ESPN. How many more recruits will we lose now, after the debacle at Kentucky.

The sheep say he found out two 5 stars are coming but want annouce until signing day.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

The sheep say he found out two 5 stars are coming but want annouce until signing day.

Bahhhhhh ha ha ha! <--Get the sheep noise? While I would love to believe that we have a couple of 5 stars headed our way, I just cant talk myself into it. Why would they want to come play for a team that has no rush blocking ability and has turned into a passing team with Bray, Rogers and a returning Hunter? I hope the sheep are right! But I just dont see it.

GONAVY writes:

in response to tennvolsman19651965:

Imani Cross (Gainesville, Ga./North Hall), who is the 19th ranked running back in the country, is no longer committed to Tennessee, ESPN's Jamie Newberg reports. Cross will visit Vanderbilt on January 20th and he also has offers from Georgia Tech, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, South Carolina, UCLA, UCF, Virginia and Wisconsin. Source: ESPN

Close friend who lives in Marietta sent me a text confirming this.

GONAVY writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

The sheep say he found out two 5 stars are coming but want annouce until signing day.

Nice rumor, but don't think it has feet, er, hoofs.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to GONAVY:

Close friend who lives in Marietta sent me a text confirming this.

I am still keeping my fingers crossed that Mike Davis, out of Stone Mountain Georgia, will commit. Then we wont need Cross. I knew the recruiting would start dropping off after the Kentucky game. If we can't maintain our top 15 group, I dont know how we are ever going to gain enough depth to account for the injuries.

FanNotSheep writes:

Maybe the reason recruits are looking around is that UT fans are frothing at the mouth to run Dooley out of town. Maybe they figure they could get here and go through the same ordeal UT's graduating seniors have been through.

It sure ain't because they're afraid some tailback on the current roster is going to win the Heisman next year.

sunglaspro#374094 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Maybe the reason recruits are looking around is that UT fans are frothing at the mouth to run Dooley out of town. Maybe they figure they could get here and go through the same ordeal UT's graduating seniors have been through.

It sure ain't because they're afraid some tailback on the current roster is going to win the Heisman next year.

My thoughts exactly, you know rival coaches are using fan discontent against us

KevDVol writes:

Uncle Jed's truck is available. Ellie Mae is not - thanks to some overzealous former hostesses.

I don't believe Mr. Hainey's finance rates and terms will ever be considered to be favorable.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to tennvolsman19651965:

Bahhhhhh ha ha ha! <--Get the sheep noise? While I would love to believe that we have a couple of 5 stars headed our way, I just cant talk myself into it. Why would they want to come play for a team that has no rush blocking ability and has turned into a passing team with Bray, Rogers and a returning Hunter? I hope the sheep are right! But I just dont see it.

I'm not sure it's even chaney's pass plays but just made up by Tyler and DaRick.

toomanymistakes writes:

Footballscoop.com is reporting that Special Teams coach (really?) Eric Russell is leaving to take the same job for Mike Leach at Washington State.

BigBoyBall writes:

you people really are from another world. recruits actually read this blog (and others). when they read about the fan base tearing into the players as you guys or girls do, they think "do i really want to be in a situation like that. they know you have opinions but what they don't realize is that you people don't actually care about UT. you don't care about the school, instructors, coaches, students, student athletes, or the recruits that want to be part of our university. they read this stupidity you call conversation and go to where there is less condemnation. no one can blame them for exploring their options at other schools. remember they would not have considered UT if the school and coaches did not appeal to them in the first place. cross did not decommit because of the KY game, he decommitted because of all the jerks that call themselves vol fans. i only consider a few of you real fans (loyal no matter what) the rest of you can kiss my @#$.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

I'm not sure it's even chaney's pass plays but just made up by Tyler and DaRick.

I wouldnt doubt that a bit. I wonder what kind of new plays DaRick, Hunter and Bray will come up with over the spring. I hope they work up some good ones for the coach. Ha ha!

cookieedwards#357400 writes:

in response to tennvolsman19651965:

And away they go. Running back, Imani Cross has decommitted, according to ESPN. How many more recruits will we lose now, after the debacle at Kentucky.

His decommittment is due to Tenn. pursuit of upgrade at that position much like Tenn. cooling on Jelks who committed to Vandy. They Are in on at least 2 with decent chance f getting one of those.We are down,but will be back if not with Dooley he as least upgraded depth and talent than what he inherited.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to cookieedwards#357400:

His decommittment is due to Tenn. pursuit of upgrade at that position much like Tenn. cooling on Jelks who committed to Vandy. They Are in on at least 2 with decent chance f getting one of those.We are down,but will be back if not with Dooley he as least upgraded depth and talent than what he inherited.

I have read that we are working hard on Mike Davis. I guess we will sit back and see now. Imani Cross had grown a star on a few of the recruiting sites. Many of them have him listed as a 4 star now. I guess we will wait and see what happens. If Cross was committed, he should have stayed committed until one of those "upgrades" gave a strong verbal. Recruiting rumors, this time of year are just that, rumors. Seems like a verbal committment doesnt mean much these days. I would like to see some of these kids give their word, and mean it. Not that I would like to give DaRick back to Georgia for his last minute switch two years back, but sticking to your word is your best way that people can judge your character.

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and long live Muscrat and Jabba the Hut-gatta!

Navaloranges writes:

in response to cookieedwards#357400:

His decommittment is due to Tenn. pursuit of upgrade at that position much like Tenn. cooling on Jelks who committed to Vandy. They Are in on at least 2 with decent chance f getting one of those.We are down,but will be back if not with Dooley he as least upgraded depth and talent than what he inherited.

Not to mention UT just hired Jay Graham. Graham will either keep Cross, if that's our best option, or get a more talented RB that's already in the works. JG's hire will make a POSITIVE difference, this year in recruiting. Even in the short time we have left.

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