Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

Creating Synergy between Athletics Compliance and Academic Programs: Students in the Compliance Office

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

Creating Synergy between Athletics Compliance and Academic Programs: Students in the Compliance Office

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In July of 2007, an intern working in the compliance office at Indiana University uncovered illegal phone calls by head men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson (Hutchens, 2007). The illegal calls were uncovered after the compliance office's spot check of men's basketball coaches' phone records had not revealed any violations (Hutchens). In addition to Indiana receiving three years' probation, the investigation that resulted from the intern's discovery also led to Sampson's dismissal and a five-year show-cause order effectively barring him from coaching in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (Katz, 2008). With many demands placed on compliance directors by athletic directors, coaches, student-athletes, and the NCAA, effectively utilizing student workers, as seen in the Sampson case, can be a key element in successfully administering the compliance office.

Within the current landscape of intercollegiate athletics compliance, the responsibilities placed upon compliance directors seem endless. Although there is not one job description in athletic compliance that fits all institutions, compliance personnel are charged with the education, monitoring, and enforcement of all NCAA and conference rules and regulations on their campuses (Max, 2005; NCAA, 2000; Texas AandM, n.d.; University of Iowa, 2007). Considering the 2009-2010 NCAA Division I Manual exceeds 400 pages, this task is not easy for a single on-campus office, often consisting of only one or two compliance professionals. However, the NCAA Manual is but the tip of the iceberg, and working in compliance also includes navigating a multitude of policy interpretations, standards of review, case precedent, internal staffmemoranda, and NCAA and conference committees' philosophical approaches. These perplexing issues and frequently conflicting purposes of the NCAA create challenges for even the most capable NCAA and campus administrators. Contemporary intercollegiate athletics compliance, much like 21st Century public policy, does not lend itself to easy, clear, direct, and irrefutable answers. Hence, it is understandable that the responsibilities of compliance directors are daunting, and oftentimes practically unfeasible to fulfill without considerable support.

When NCAA major rules violations occur, the institution incurs significant financial and human resource costs, including time spent preparing reports for the NCAA, time and cost replacing personnel, lost alumni support, lower student enrollment, and overall a tarnished reputation (Goff, 2000; Grimes and Chressanthis, 1994; Rhoads and Gerking, 2000). Given the importance of NCAA rules compliance, it is imperative that institutions take full advantage of their available financial and human resources to strengthen their compliance program. Given the current economic climate in higher education, financial resources are extremely limited (National Association of College and University Business Officers, n.d.). Consequently, universities must be innovative in how they approach and use the financial and human resources available to them. Moreover, they are now constantly charged with the additional challenge of finding untapped resources and new ways of effectively and efficiently doing business.

College and university academic departments also have a responsibility to contribute to student learning and development by offering opportunities for students to gain experience in their selected discipline. The use of students to assist in higher education operations is not a new concept, (e.g., marketing assistants, student reporters, office workers, campus housing supervisors, recreational sport supervisors, lab technicians, medical residents, etc.), but data identifying the most common uses of these students in the athletics compliance office has not been available until now. Additionally, in many sport management programs, industry experiences are used to complement and enhance classroom learning. …

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