Former Nevada Las Vegas basketball player Anthony Jones says either he or a former girlfriend made monthly payments on a sports car he drove while playing for the Rebels four years ago.
Jones, quoted Tuesday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was responding to a Sunday story in The Times linking him to a sports car owned at one time by a UNLV booster.
The Times, citing court and Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles records, reported that Jones drove a Mazda RX7 belonging to C.J. Lotter, a Las Vegas businessman and prominent supporter of the UNLV basketball program, while playing for the Rebels.
Jones, who currently plays for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, was quoted in the Review-Journal as saying either he or the former girlfriend made payments of $115 a month on the car. But Jones' statements in the Review-Journal did not address how the car was financed or leased.
In interviews with The Times, Jones said he purchased the car and financed it himself. But Lotter acknowledged that he bought the car and made payments on it.
Lotter said he leased the car to Jones as part of a program in which he leased cars to employees of telemarketing and printing businesses he operated at the time. Lotter said he gave Jones a summer job when Jones was attending UNLV.
Lotter conceded, however, that he leased vehicles primarily to his sales personnel and other "key people" and that he made an exception for Jones, a $5-an-hour employee in the shipping department.
Lotter also said that, when he leased cars to Jones and other employees, he provided insurance and allowed for fluctuating payments, features that generally aren't included in leases offered by regular auto leasing agencies.
NCAA rules prohibit a booster from providing an athlete with a benefit that isn't available to the school's student body in general.
A former girlfriend of Jones' told the Review-Journal that the player made about 10 payments on the car. The former girlfriend, who asked not to be identified, confirmed that Lotter allowed Jones to make higher payments in the summer months than in the winter months.
The UNLV basketball program has been the subject of a preliminary inquiry by the NCAA since October of 1987.