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Going down the slippery slope

Ohio State, Oregon and WVU are looking at ways to beef up their compliance departments to keep them on the up and up.

USC made similar changes after the Bush/Mayo mess by hiring a VP of compliance (who, by the way, to my knowledge has no known experience in compliance issues) taking it to a new level with regards to compliance. USC also hired the Freeh Group to "assist" with compliance issues, but just what the Freeh group does exactly is still pretty much an unknown...

Of the three schools listed above, Oregon is taking it to a completely different level...One that I have warned about in the past.

But first, lets go to the wayback machine.

I wrote this in 2007...

The one thing that I have trouble with is the potential privacy issue that is attached to this mess. How far should an institution go at monitoring the parents or relatives of their players? I'm not concerned about the privacy of Bush's parents; they lost that right privacy when they broke the rules; which has now jeopardized the welfare of a solid football program.


But it is easy to see how some would demand that sort of solution to attempt to keep players within the rules of compliance. Any attempt to monitor the families of players to ensure enforcement of the rules invades the privacy of those who walk the straight and narrow. As a parent of 2 kids in college is it not enough that my financial records can be looked at to assess that their tuition can be paid? And while my kids are not athletes, if they were I am not trusting enough of those institutions to protect any other information they dig up or continue to have my life looked at for the sake of a players or programs eligibility. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

Where does the school or the NCAA get to draw the line?

I have said before that I have no problem if the NCAA or its member schools putting language in their scholarship agreements about recouping monies spent by said institutions if a player willfully breaks the rules that puts a school on probation.

But how far is too far when monitoring players...or even their families?

Keep that in mind as you read this... (emphasis added)

Oregon is adding a new position to the athletic department administration, but it is not a standard compliance position. The position asks for four years of law enforcement or investigative experience, rather than athletic administration experience. And in addition to the providing surveillance rather than monitoring, the position will liaison with law enforcement in Eugene and coordinate self-defense classes for student-athletes and staff.

Having a "professional" investigator means a school can find out things that a lesser skilled investigator might miss. I can see that benefit.

There could also be some abuses in how that information is procured.

Regardless of your political affiliation, the invasion of ones privacy is a serious matter.

If this new compliance officer were to come across "other" information while investigating a player that has nothing to do with compliance but information that is not necessarily breaking the law, what happens with that information?

This is also troubling...(emphasis added)

The changes also bring challenges. You must establish a higher degree of professionalism and respect for the chain of command with an external compliance office. The image of compliance as cops or spies is likely to be heightened when you employ someone with experience as a cop or a PI.

The NCAA has pretty crummy track record when it comes being professional.

You know, like the same type of professionalism that the NCAA showed in cobbling together Lloyd Lake's shaky at best testimony to nail Todd McNair or not even allowing USC to face its accuser in Lakes interview? How about sitting with the person who is at the center of the investigation at Oregon for six hours and not ask that person ONE question about Oregon?

You know, that sort of professionalism.

This has BAD written all over it.

A compliance office with sophisticated, former professional investigatiors will essentially have carte blanche to investigate anything as they see fit...

What about when laws are broken?

We saw the NCAA and the University of Florida pretty much look the other way at 30 arrests during the Urban Meyer era. How do they handle those sorts of situations? Will they turn over any info they find to the local authorities?

I am sure that will make the head football coach pleased as punch.

Sorry if I sound like a conspiracy theorist...I take privacy issues very seriously.

This just crosses the line to me.