Ohio St coaches to trade courtesy cars for stipend

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A report says Ohio State University is ending a decades-old practice of allowing coaches to drive courtesy cars from dealers and will provide monthly car stipends instead.

Athletics director Gene Smith says the decision follows the NCAA investigation into Ohio Sate's football program launched after a memorabilia scandal cost coach Jim Tressel his job and led to harsh sanctions against the team.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Thursday the estimated annual cost of the stipends to the university is about $612,000.

The newspaper says in recent years as many as 65 Ohio auto dealers provided cars to 80 to 85 athletic department employees, including all 36 head coaches.

Smith says the courtesy car program did not violate NCAA rules but the goal was to eliminate any hints of impropriety.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com