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Enforcement panel urges active FAR involvement

By Marta Lawrence

An educational session at the NCAA Convention on Thursday urged faculty athletics representatives to take a more active role in understanding the NCAA enforcement process.

NCAA Associate Director of Enforcement Laura Wurtz McNab encouraged FARs to have a policy in place that addresses who will respond if their university faces a major violation charge.

The policy should have presidential approval, be in writing and be regularly reviewed to keep it up-to-date. Active involvement is the key, she said.

McNab said delving into the rules book, though challenging, pays dividends in a crisis.

“I know those rules are pretty dense,” she said, referring to Bylaws 19 and 32 that outline enforcement policies and procedures. “People don’t crack open 19 and 32 until they’re in the midst of an investigation.”

McNab said, though, that understanding the institution’s obligations under NCAA rules can help the FAR better advocate for the enforcement of rules on campus while also contributing to a university’s institutional control.

“We know we represent the institution and we represent the chancellor or president,” said David Clough, FAR at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Clough was on sabbatical in New Zealand when his institution faced a major infractions charge.

“It’s important to have a roadmap that defines the involvement of the FAR in the procedure of dealing with NCAA allegations,” he said. He added that a FAR should be an integral part of the team that deals with the infraction and should be kept in the loop throughout the process.

“I know of situations where the FAR has little or no involvement with an infractions case,” Clough said. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

FARs also should have a good relationship with the compliance office, Clough said.

Part of the difficulty, the panel pointed out, is that each university determines for itself what role the FAR will play. Job descriptions vary widely, they said.

Julie Rochester, FAR at Northern Michigan University and a member of the Division II Committee on Infractions, answered questions from the audience, including how the committee views secondary violations. She said repeat violations aren’t a good thing, but that generally, self- reported secondary violations are an indication of a university’s commitment to institutional control.

 Overall the panel agreed that FARs should be as involved as possible in the compliance process. “It’s good to have active involvement before the enforcement staff shows up at an institution,” McNab said.