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“Sweater Vest” and Financial Advisors

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Head coach Jim ...

Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel (known for wearing an OSU sweater vest on the sidelines) resigned today amid a growing scandal and an NCAA investigation that will surely include major sanctions.  Several OSU football players were suspended for selling memorabilia (a clear NCAA rule violation) that they had received.  Tressel was given a two game suspension (increased to five games at his request to match what the players received).  Recently it surfaced that Tressel knew about this situation for months before it became public and hid it from Ohio State and NCAA officials.  It is my fervent hope that Ohio State receives the NCAA “death penalty” for these offenses.  Unfortunately even if this does happen, there is little to stop some success starved university president or athletic director from hiring Tressel to bring gridiron “glory” to their university.

There have been countless instances in the news over the years of financial advisors who were sanctioned for violations only to resurface somewhere else and perpetrate additional fraud on unsuspecting clients.  Why do clients keep engaging their services?  In large part because the information that is available to the public on advisors is tough to get at and is fragmented. 

My very biased viewpoint is that consumers should start with a fee-only advisor.  I am a member of NAPFA, the largest organization of fee-only advisors in the country.  Alas, three of our former members have been accused of client malfeasance over the past couple of years.  Regrettably just hiring a NAPFA member is not a complete assurance of integrity.
Referrals are another good source to find an advisor.  However don’t be swayed by an advisor who is a member of your church or affinity group.  Way too much fraud has been perpetrated via this route.
Unfortunately there is no one absolute source to review an advisor’s history.  NAPFA’s new guide is a great resource and contains some useful links as well.
Just as Tressel will likely reappear on the sidelines of some major college football program hungry to win (at all costs?) bad brokers and advisors seem to keep popping up like “bad pennies.”  Don’t be a victim, trust but verify.
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  1. He's only human and everyone makes mistakes. It was the players fault not his. They shouldn't have put him in that position. He shouldn't have had to resign.

  2. Thank you for your comment. I agree that the players exhibited bad conduct, but in my opinion the fact that Tressel didn't disclose what he knew about this situation as soon as he became aware of it is far worse. This is a knowing violation of the rules and his obligation to the university and the NCAA. Ohio State, in my opinion, deserves the "death penalty" for football based on his actions. Their conduct certainly rivals that of SMU in the '80s.

  3. Anonymous says

    You must not be very familiar with NCAA rules. The violations at Ohio State don't approach the same galaxy as SMU or USC for that matter. The players violations were considered minor violations. If Jim Tressel was found to have lied, it would be serious for Tressel, but not the University. The suspension and fine self-imposed by Ohio State, was consistent with prior NCAA sanctions for similar transgressions. The NCAA statement specifically said that there was no lack of "institutional control" or anything approaching that. Ohio State self reported all violations.

    The violations at USC were far more serious-paying players in multiple sports and exhibiting significant lack of institutional control. USC did not self report and did not cooperate in any way. And, USC was not even considered for the death penalty. If minor infractions by players and the lack of reporting by the coach was worthy of the death penalty, 90% of the Division I football programs would now be shut down. No issue with your comments on advisors.

  4. Thank you for your comments and I admit to not being an expert on NCAA rules. The issue here is not what the players did, but rather what Tressel did (or more acruately didn't do). What will be telling in my opinion is when and what the university knew about the Tressel situation. If indeed they knew about the Tressel cover-up I suspect that is a serious situation.

    My opinion as to the players, the NCAA and the institutions are making $ millions off of their efforts. I have no issue with them selling memorabelia or anything else.

  5. @Anonymous Don't know if you caught this article on the cnn/sports illustrated site http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/magazine/05/30/jim.tressel/index.html?eref=sihp&sct;=hp_t11_a3

    The words "…lack of institutional control.." were the first that popped into my head. I hope that the NCAA really sticks it to OSU. Besides this, I harken back to the abysmal graduation rates among players in the John Cooper era. OSU is a great school, I hope the administration and trustees feel the need to have a football program that wins within the rules.

    Sadly this story reminds me of so many stories of "rogue brokers" who "live on" to defraud even more unsuspecting folks.

  6. Anonymous says

    Let's not base anything on the Sports Illustrated article. Clearly a junior league hit piece that simply rehashes old rumors offers very little new information, and absolutely no proof of anything. No balance whatsoever. The NCAA filings all clearly did NOT explicitly include lack of institutional control-the NCAA and not Sports Illustrated gets to make that call (I'm not sure the author even knows what it means anyway). By the way, Ohio State's football team was in the top five in the nation in academic performance and has been near the top during the bulk of the Tressel era.

  7. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  8. Anonymous says

    it seems to me that he took a fall for others. Perhaps, as is his history, to protect his players. Forgiveable sin? white lies? I dunno… but I dont know any lawyers or financial advisors that cut their commmissions when the market dips or the jury returns less than prayed for…but he agreed to a five game suspension that would have cost him thousands of dollars. I think he did the best he could do to manage complicated circumstances that he didnt initially create… but he gave back all of his fees and commissions in exchange.

  9. I guess we will have to agree to disagree about Jim Tressel.

  10. I think he did the best he could do to manage complicated circumstances that he didnt initially create… but he gave back all of his fees and commissions in exchange.

  11. I guess we will have to agree to disagree about Jim Tressel.

  12. Anonymous I defy you to show me in the COI that USC "paid players in multiple sports". Your complete lack of knowledge of the USC infractions is typical of anyone who gets their information from ESPN or other media outlets with complete udder disregard for telling the truth. Reggie's family received extra benefits from a wannabe agent not even associated with the university. In addition he was a convicted felon.
    I defy you to read the report and point out specifically where it states USC paid athletes' http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/d28c898042cdd2bc958fd5a6e282e000/20100610+USC+Public+Report.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID;=d28c898042cdd2bc958fd5a6e282e000

  13. @usclarry thank you for your comment. To all readers full disclosure I have been a USC fan for many years. In addition I am the parent of a daughter who is both a USC alum and current USC employee. Fight on!

  14. Krista Billy says

    It is surprising to see these financial advisors who have been sanctioned for fraud still work for clients who might not know any better. Although, it might be hard to distinguish between the good and the bad financial advisors, there are now public databases made for the sole purpose of making it easier for clients to avoid financial advisors who have committed fraud.

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