The circumstances surrounding the ongoing NCAA investigation and its associated possible football fundraising violations seem to revolve around an endless cycle of passing the buck, without any party takes responsibility—this must end.
The Nebraska State College System’s Board Policy Manual outlines the responsibilities and duties of a college president in Policy 5101.
Among these 12 duties is item seven, which states, the president should report “the actions of the Board and Chancellor to staff, press and community at large.”
Duty 9 reads the president should assume “joint responsibility with the Board and Chancellor, through agreed upon procedures, for establishing and maintaining good press and public relations.”
Once the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts released the state colleges’ annual audit Feb. 28, weighty accusations by the auditor’s office went unanswered, as media outlets were told that CSC President Janie Park was directing all calls to the System Office.
Despite the Eagle’s phone calls each hour of the Feb. 29 business day to the System Office and NSCS Chancellor Stan Carpenter, as well as an email with contact information for after-business hours communication, the System Office remained silent.
When Carpenter answered the next day, he said he couldn’t discuss the audit due to the ongoing NCAA investigation. When asked if he would object to Park giving an interview on it, Carpenter said, “That’s entirely up to her.”
After a March 1 request for such an interview with Park, she responded, “I prefer that all questions concerning the audit be directed to the System Office.”
According to established board policy, the college president has a duty and responsibility to communicate and maintain good press, and at least publicly, the system office says it is allowing her to do so.
Why then does the CSC administration prefer to have an intermediary on the other side of the state carry out two of its president’s critical duties?
The CSC administration isn’t alone in its fault. The actions of the NSCS administration regarding transparency and communication have sent a chilling effect throughout the system. Now even simple and requests unrelated to the NCAA investigation are questioned or deferred up the chain for fear of reprisal.
When is this cycle of blame going to end?