University Business - November 2012 - (Page 22)

viewpoint Protecting Home Field Universitywide coordination in the oversight of athletics By Tyrone P. Thomas A popular tradition has taken place on many college campuses on Saturday mornings this fall. Students meet with visiting alumni and share storied traditions while preparing to cheer their football team against a rival school. As the marching band plays the school song and kickoff arrives, attention may be drawn to the entrance where the home team will take the field. Fans notice that the star player has not and will not join the sidelines. They ask questions as to why, and too often the reason will not involve health or a personal emergency, but some bad decision, which not only rendered the student ineligible for competition, but also cast embarrassment, bad publicity, or even legal risk upon the institution. The resulting investigation will be campuswide and “all hands on deck,” but if proper risk management had been implemented, the incident may have been avoided. In today’s media, compliance officers do not need vivid imaginations to consider issues that can arise for an athletics program. Allegations of misconduct are reported on a continuing basis. A booster reports that he has provided hidden benefits to members of a team for a decade, including personal loans and funded trips to adult night clubs. The derailment of a popular sport because two team members saw fit to enter into competitions for prize money in total disregard for the NCAA’s amateurism standard. An esteemed university system that is subject to investigation for allegations of academic fraud related to studentathletes and additional claims of funds being directed to their relatives. These examples would be noteworthy on their own. Collectively, they are a source of widespread concern when one considers that each of these issues became The Freeh Report highlights just how integrated the athletics function is within university operations. subject to NCAA investigation or inquiry in the past year and all from schools of the same conference. While there has been a popular belief that the problems of managing the athletic function is relegated to the athletics director, compliance officer, and coaching staff, the wake-up call has sounded to coordinate efforts in managing intercollegiate athletics. It is likely that an institution’s director of financial aid, head of campus security, vice president of human resources, and vice president for legal affairs would each cite dozens of responsibilities for their respective job description without mention of the athletics function. Yet each of these leaders has an important role to maintain the successful management and operation of athletics within the NCAA rules. Let’s first consider the mass of rules that is the NCAA Manual. It is over 400 pages long with countless articles and bylaws. Of course, there is a separate NCAA manual for each of the three divisions of institutions (Divisions I, II, and III) which are governed by the NCAA. An administrator familiar with the rules at one level must become knowledgeable about the rules at another level if he or she changes institutions. The NCAA further challenges its member institutions by issuing a new and different version of these voluminous documents each year. The general principles of the NCAA Manual are focused on addressing two fundamental principles, which are stated in Bylaw 2.1 of the Division I Manual. First, each member institution holds responsibility to control its athletics program in compliance with the rules of the NCAA, with ultimate responsibility held by the president or chancellor. Second, the scope of responsibility includes the actions of the institution’s staff members and those of any other organization or individual who is involved in activities promoting the institution’s athletics interests. These principles are as broad in practice as they sound in theory. While many schools found the Freeh Report and Recommendations arising out of the Penn State investigation to be sobering, it served to highlight just how integrated the athletics function is within university operations. As an example, consider the 22 | November 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - November 2012

University Business - November 2012
Editor’s Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Financial Aid
Internet Technology
Security: Show and Tell?
P byo Dasvidt Gieenr g a Threat
Inside Look: Residence Halls
Education Innovators
12 Options for IT Project Funding
What’s New
End Note

University Business - November 2012