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Archive for Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Report in 2001 told KU to boost staff

April 25, 2006

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Kansas University was encouraged to boost its athletic compliance staff nearly five years ago, after an independent assessment of the athletic department was done just prior to former athletic director Al Bohl's hiring.

The report, written by former Stanford athletic director Ted Leland with help from his associate, Debra Gore-Mann, was the result of a two-day visit to Lawrence in 2001, where dozens of people in or around the KU athletic department were interviewed. Leland and Gore-Mann were asked by KU chancellor Robert Hemenway to critique the department after former AD Bob Frederick's resignation.

Last week, the NCAA alleged KU demonstrated a "failure to exert appropriate institutional control" from 1997 to 2003, citing, among other things, an understaffed compliance department.

It's not the first time KU's compliance department had been called short-handed.

Leland and Gore-Mann wrote in their 2001 assessment, "The workload is unevenly distributed throughout KU ATHLETICS. The Student Support (while recognized as the foundation of the Department) has an extremely large staff while compliance has one individual for all 500 student-athletes."

The assessment said KU needed to "reallocate 4 or 5 (full-time employees) from student services to other areas such as compliance."

Despite the recommendations - brought up three different times in the 13-page report - the compliance staff wasn't expanded until 2003, when Lew Perkins became athletic director after Bohl's firing. By that time, the NCAA alleges, KU had been lacking institutional control for six years.

Janelle Martin was the lone full-time compliance employee during the years the NCAA alleges the lack of institutional control.

"Instead of the chancellor and Al following the recommendations in that report, the problem of lack of staff was magnified by the assignment of additional duties to the compliance staff," said Richard Konzem, an associate AD under both Frederick and Bohl.

Konzem said he asked to see Leland's report when Bohl was hired, but Bohl refused to show it. Last summer, when KU's self report came out, Konzem filed an open-records request to see what Leland recommended.

During the Frederick era, Konzem said the one-person compliance crew was feasible, because both Konzem and former senior women's administrator Amy Perko had compliance backgrounds and could help Martin.

Perko left KU in 2001, and Konzem said he was given additional duties when Bohl arrived. Martin received a bigger workload, too, and Konzem said added work brought about by events such as the men's basketball Final Fours in '02 and '03 stretched the staff even thinner.

"No one's whining here," Konzem said. "No one's ever heard any of this from any of us until all of this has been made public."

Konzem said the NCAA's allegation of a lack of institutional control was "wrong."

"I think, in an effort to discredit those who worked in the past, the case was so overplayed and so oversold on how bad it was, the institutional-control issue came back," Konzem said. "But the facts don't support it."

The compliance staff now consists of three full-time employees, and Perkins said last week the athletic department had budgeted for two more employees to be filled within the next year. Kansas officials will meet with the NCAA Committee on Infractions on August 13 to state their case on the institutional-control allegation. The NCAA's final decision will be made public in September or October.

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