This article was made possible by some great work by blog friend Westy.

It has been well known for years that Terrelle Pryor loves his cars.  Even before he arrived on campus for his freshman season he was pictured in front of a sweet black chevrolet that many took as a sign of wrong doing.

Of course, that was merely the beginning.  In the last few weeks, a number of sources have come out commenting about the possibility of illicit benefits provided by car dealers to OSU players – namely Terrelle Pryor.   By now, you’re probably familiar with the name Aaron Kniffin, the car dealer working for Jack Maxton Chevrolet who has supposedly provided sweet deals on cars for members of the football team.

In fact, the now famous Sports Illustrated article cited Pryor as having driven as many as 8 vehicles in his time in Columbus!  Now, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t driven 8 vehicles since the age of 16, let alone in the last three years.  SI clearly believed (and with good reason) that something was up.

An investigation into Pryor’s car ownership history has revealed the following timeline.

  • Terrelle Pryor arrived in Columbus in 2008 driving a Hyundai Sonata.
  • Pryor met Aaron Kniffin in his first year at school and informed him that he “wanted a better car”.
  • Kniffin loaned Pryor a 2004 GMC Yukon Denali – a common practice for car dealerships.  This is the vehicle Pryor was pulled over for speeding in while in Eastern Ohio.
  • Kniffin reports that Pryor didn’t purchase the vehicle because his family didn’t approve.
  • Pryor then traded his Sonata for a Black Dodge Charger.

But Pryor was recently seen driving a black Nissan 350Z.  Where did that car come from?

The Columbus Dispatch reported today that Pryor’s mother, Thomasina Pryor, purchased the vehicle for him.  That information was released yesterday by the family lawyer, Larry James, who produced a bill of sale for the car.

Pryor’s attorney, Larry James, yesterday released the bill of sale from Auto Direct showing Thomasina Pryor as the buyer. It also showed the car had 80,102 miles on it when they took possession more than a week ago, that the final price, after trade-in of his previous black Dodge Charger, was $11,435.06, and that his mother agreed to make monthly payments of $298.35 for the next 51 months.

If you do the math, you’ll find that Thomasina agreed to an interest rate of 14% on the car.  You read that right – not exactly a sweet-heart deal.

But why was Pryor seen driving a White Dodge Challenger?  Pryor’s roommate was reported as saying that Pryor’s Dodge Charger was in the shop with a blown engine.  The White Challenger was therefore a loaner from the dealership while his car was being worked on.

At this point is seems fairly mundane.  Pryor, driving a Dodge Charger for the better part of 2 years, has serious mechanical troubles with his vehicle.  He gets a loaner from the dealership.

At that point, it was probably apparent that the repairs were going to cost more than the Charger was worth.  A blown engine is certainly no small wad of cash.  Instead of paying to repair the car, they trade it in for a used car and take a loan on the 350Z – easier than getting a loan on a car repair.

But what about all of these others cars Pryor is reported as having driven?  Well, the NCAA ruled that there is no violation of NCAA rules if Pryor is driving loaner vehicles.  Pryor’s Charger was probably a lemon, being forced to be in the shop more often than not.  Pryor then drives the loaner vehicle the shop provides, resulting in him driving multiple vehicles with dealer plates.

The reporting on this issue has been a case of egregious sensationalism in journalism.  Rather than doing a bit of quick fact finding, or understanding the difference between “dealer tags” and “temp tags”, they went to press knowing exactly what the information looked like.

ABC 6 nearly assaulted Pryor’s mother over the details of this situation.  Worse yet, once people started turning on the heat on ABC 6 for their inappropriate actions, they remove the video.

Shady journalism at its best.