If you were a BCS conference school and you were looking to beef up your compliance office, who would you hire? Would it be someone who is connected with a very recent case of major NCAA rules violations? Would it be someone who was involved in what the NCAA Committee on Infractions called disobedience of direct instructions to protect the integrity of an ongoing NCAA enforcement investigation?
Probably not. Unless that is, you are Auburn University.
As noted in Friday’s story on the Georgia Tech NCAA case, the Committee on Infractions had concluded that the school had deliberately disobeyed Enforcement’s specific instructions to protect the integrity of the case by not informing a student athlete that he was under investigation for receiving improper benefits. The school’s compliance office tipped off the School President and Athletic Director that trouble was afoot, then participated in meetings and interviews with the student athlete, during which the student athlete was coached up on what to tell NCAA investigators during an on-campus interview. The school’s compliance officer at the time was one Paul Parker, who served at the school from 2006 through the NCAA investigation and eventual findings of Failure to Cooperate.
Guess where Parker works now?
As part of the penalties imposed by the Committee on Infractions, Georgia Tech’s Athletic Director and Head Football coach were directed to attend one of the NCAA’s 2012 Regional Rules Seminars. The school’s compliance officer had left the school before imposition of the penalties and the Committee’s report stated that he would be independently notified of this requirement, meaning that regardless of where he went, he would still be compelled to comply.
Well, has he? Might that be something worthy of a specific open records request?
In case you missed it, here’s the gist again: A compliance officer recently hired at Auburn University has been determined to have participated in a violation of the NCAA bylaw requiring that school administrators and compliance officials cooperate with enforcement staff in conducting an investigation. As a result of that failure to cooperate, a student-athlete was coached in what to tell investigators.
Exit Question: Could that happen again?
UPDATE: Auburn has been officially notified of the NCAA sanctions via correspondence from VP for Enforcement, Julie Roe Lach.
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.