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College Sports

Possible NCAA Failure to Monitor Charge Against UT and Kiffin: A Cautionary Tale to USC and Other Universities

Clay Travis reported in a February 2, 2011, article on the AOL Fanhouse website that the “NCAA will cite the University of Tennessee’s football program with a failure to monitor a violation stemming from the short tenure of former head coach Lane Kiffin”. The article stated the “violation is related to improper recruiting contacts by Vol coaches and by Vol hostesses in the since-disbanded Orange Pride program”. Travis also reported the NCAA will “cite Kiffin, now at USC, with a failure to monitor charge as well as additional citations against Kiffin’s brother-in-law, David Reaves, formerly an assistant quarterbacks coach at Tennessee.”

The ongoing investigation of, and pending allegations against, the University of Tennessee provides USC and other NCAA member institutions with the following lessons:

•Evaluate the short- and long-term consequences of hiring a coach under investigation by the NCAA.
•Ensure the institution’s rules-compliance program includes proactive monitoring activities.
•Educate head coaches on his/her responsibilities on monitoring the activities within their sports program.

In particular, an institution is obligated under NCAA legislation to monitor the activities within its intercollegiate athletics program. An institution monitors its athletics program through the following activities:

•Hire sufficient staff to operate a comprehensive rules-compliance program.
•Prepare written policies and procedures.
•Communicate written policies and procedures to administrators, coaches, staff, student-athletes and boosters.
•Conduct proactive monitoring of institution’s compliance with NCAA legislation (e.g., on-the-field spot checks, verification of information on forms).
•Schedule regular assessments, evaluations and audits of the athletics program.
•Provide rules-education materials and workshops for administrators, coaches, staff, student-athletes and boosters.

Finally, coaches are required under NCAA Bylaw 11.1.2.1 to monitor their respective sports program. To do so, coaches will need to:

•Promote an atmosphere for rules-compliance within the sports program.
•Monitor the activities regarding compliance of all assistant coaches and other administrators involved with the program who report directly or indirectly to the coach.

For more information on the issue of “failure to monitor”, please contact Michael L. Buckner (954-941-1844; mbuckner@michaelbucknerlaw.com).

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.

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