NCAA dispels rumor, outlines next step in investigation

Fueled by an outdated portion of the NCAA website, rumors accumulated in recent weeks regarding the NCAA’s enforcement process and its method for notifying Chadron State.

According to the “Enforcement Process” page of its website, the NCAA’s initial notification procedure to a member-school involved in potential violations states, “the NCAA sends a notice of inquiry to the NCAA member school’s president or chancellor.” The same NCAA page refers to the notice twice as being a letter.

The NCAA’s Associate Director of Public and Media Relations, Stacey Osburn, said Friday the NCAA revised the notification policy last year.

“The rule was changed in October of 2011; it now can be verbal or written. Before it was always just written, and now it is verbal or written,” Osburn said. Her statement dispels rumors that the college had received a written notice.

The new policy reads, “Before the enforcement staff conducts an inquiry on an institution’s campus, the enforcement staff shall notify the institution’s president or chancellor of the inquiry, either orally or in writing.”

Nebraska State College System Chancellor Stan Carpenter said Thursday that the system office didn’t have a choice in the NCAA’s delivery method.

“It [the notice of inquiry] was delivered by the NCAA orally. We had no say in it,” Carpenter said.

Osburn said she couldn’t confirm the manner in which the NCAA delivered the notice.

“I can’t speak to a specific school because it’s an ongoing case, so I would have to defer to what the university has told you. What I can tell is that the rule allows for either a verbal or written notice,” Osburn said.

Asked if oral delivery was the NCAA’s policy for all notice of inquiry notifications, Carpenter said “No idea.”

Asked if he could summarize the main points of the oral notification, Carpenter said, “They just told us that there was a notice of inquiry. There was nothing else said.

We haven’t really considered anything yet. We haven’t given it any thought,” Carpenter said about whether the system office would release the full NCAA report upon the conclusion of the investigation.

“Well, eventually we’ll sit down and talk about it, sure, but I don’t have a clue at this point. Right now it’s going to be so far down the road that we’re not spending any time worrying about it now,” Carpenter said.

Osburn avoided specifics about the contents of the notice of inquiry, but said that government rules will affect the public’s access to information.

“As far as our enforcement rules, the enforcement staff at the NCAA and the committee on infractions – none of us speak to a case until it is concluded, other than confirming what a school has shared; the school also has to maintain that confidentiality,” Osburn said. “There are also, obviously, state open records laws for public schools that those schools have to follow, which would obviously, take precedent over NCAA rules.”

Carpenter requested an opinion from the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office Jan. 5 about five topics relating to, among other items, the NCAA investigation.

The AG’s report states Carpenter’s question was, “whether state law requires CSC to violate the confidentiality of the NCAA investigatory process by requiring employees to submit to interviews.”

In a nine-page reply, issued Jan. 31, the AG’s office stated that Carpenter’s question should be posed in reverse.

“The question to be asked is whether the NCAA may require the CSC employees, through a confidentiality agreement, to violate state law and refuse to cooperate with the financial audit by the Auditor. Our conclusion is that it may not,” the AG’s opinion states.

Osburn said that if a major violation or violations are found, the next step is the NCAA will issue a notice of allegations, which will be a written report.

“After the inquiry is conducted and it’s determined that major violations did probably take place, then the enforcement staff would send a notice of allegations which would detail those suspected violations and the facts supporting those allegations,” Osburn said.

The NCAA’s recently revised notification policy states, “the institution shall be notified that if the inquiry develops significant information of a possible major violation, a notice of allegations will be produced in accordance with the provisions of Bylaw 32.6, or, in the alternative, the institution will be notified that the matter has been concluded.”

Osburn said, “if they have an open records request, and it’s a public school, then they have to [release the report] by state and federal law.”

Brad Smith, CSC athletics director, said via telephone Monday afternoon that the institution hadn’t received the notice of allegations yet, and that he didn’t know when the college would receive it.

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