Defining 'Lack of Institutional Control'
Posted October 12, 2010
Institutional control, or lack thereof, has been a term thrown around by fans and media like, leading to many flawed conversations concerning the NCAA investigation into North Carolina’s football program. Inside Carolina attempts to set the record straight through NCAA legislation.
While the “lack of institutional control” phrase has been tossed around haphazardly in recent months, it’s important to first distinguish the difference between LOIC and a failure to monitor.
LOIC centers on if there were adequate policies and procedures in place for an institution to comply with NCAA rules, and if those steps were being monitored and enforced by designated individuals at the time of a violation. A failure to monitor occurs when those policies and procedures are in place to comply with NCAA rules, but the institution failed to fully monitor specific areas of the program for limited periods of time.
In August ’05, the NCAA certified UNC as operating in substantial compliance with the relevant operating principles.
NCAA Constitution 2.8.1 states that institutions are “responsible for monitoring compliance, identifying and reporting violations, cooperating with the NCAA and taking corrective action,” as well as being responsible for coaches, players and boosters. The NCAA utilizes four pillars in building institutional control – compliance systems, monitoring/enforcement, rules education and a commitment to compliance.
NCAA documents indicate that failure to monitor has been “cited at a greater rate” than lack of control at the D-I level in recent years, “suggesting that institutions may be doing a better job of putting systems for control in place but need to enhance monitoring.”
The NCAA Committee on Infractions provides the following list as a roadmap for institutions to avoid a finding of a lack of institutional control:
* The NCAA rules applicable to each operation are readily available to those persons involved in that operation.
* Appropriate forms are provided to persons involved in specific operations to ensure that they will properly follow NCAA rules.
* A procedure is established for timely communication among various university offices regarding determinations that affect compliance with NCAA rules.
* Meaningful compliance education programs are provided for personnel engaged in athletically related operations.
* Informational and educational programs are established to inform athletics boosters of the limitations on their activities under NCAA rules and of the penalties that can arise if they are responsible for rule violations.
* Informational and educational programs are established for student-athletes regarding the rules that they must follow
* An internal monitoring system is in place to ensure compliance with NCAA rules.
* An external audit of athletics compliance is undertaken at reasonable intervals.
* The chief executive officer and other senior administrators make clear that they demand compliance with NCAA rules and that they will not tolerate those who deliberately violate the rules or do so through gross negligence.
* The institution and its staff members have a long history of self-detecting, self-reporting and self-investigating all potential violations.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions then emphasizes “that the presence of such measures are not a guarantee against such a finding. The way in which the measures are carried out and the attitude toward compliance within the institution are vital factors.”
“I’m going to fight the institutional control issues because of what we had in place and because of the way we’re handling it.”
North Carolina athletics director Dick Baddour told reporters on Monday that North Carolina has “a strong compliance program in place.”
“I think anybody who looks at that program would say that we were doing more than significant things to protect our institution and to protect individuals,” Baddour said. “Obviously, we need to do more and that’s what this review process is going to do for us, is to establish things that we can do better. And we’re absolutely committed to that.”
The facts back up those claims. In August ’05, the NCAA certified the university as operating in substantial compliance with the relevant operating principles, marking the third consecutive time that UNC has earned that distinction, dating back to ‘94’-95.
In the NCAA Committee on Infractions release entitled, “Principles of Institutional Control,” section B indicates that the “deliberate or inadvertent violation of a rule by an individual who is not in charge of compliance with rules that are violated will not be considered to be due to a lack of institutional control” if the aforementioned four pillars of control are met.
That definition would appear to be the reason behind Baddour’s strong belief in North Carolina compliance program.
“I think we’re in good stead,” Baddour said. “I’m going to fight the institutional control issues because of what we had in place and because of the way we’re handling it.”
And if UNC’s NCAA troubles were limited in scope, it would appear to be an open-and-shut case. But legitimate questions remain when factoring in a two-pronged investigation (agents/academics), 16 student-athletes named by UNC, and a former assistant head coach with ties to agent Gary Wichard.
"The head coach cannot be charged with the secretive activities of an assistant bent on violating NCAA rules.”
Baddour acknowledged on Monday that the NCAA would have to ask questions pertaining to the school’s institution control and that school officials needed to be prepared to answer those questions.
NCAA documents point to eight considerations when evaluating failure to monitor versus LOIC – duration/frequency of violations, visibility of violations, warning signs to institution, number of involved student-athletes/teams, number of involved staff members, significance of impermissible benefit, recruiting/competitive advantage gained and the distinction between self-reported or reported from outside source.
As for Butch Davis’s responsibility in determining LOIC, NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199 states that “head coaches have a responsibility to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the program and monitor the activities of assistants and staff who report directly or indirectly to the head coach.”
The document from the NCAA Committee on Infractions adds that not every violation by an assistant coach involves LOIC, stating: “If the head coach sets a proper tone of compliance and monitors the activities of all assistant coaches in the sport, the head coach cannot be charged with the secretive activities of an assistant bent on violating NCAA rules.”
Outside of the possibility that the UNC administration or coaching staff had prior knowledge of the violations, there would appear to be two areas that the institution could face intense scrutiny from the NCAA concerning LOIC.
First being that Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin were both projected as first-round draft picks in next April’s NFL Draft. Baddour admitted that the program should have done more to monitor its high-profile players.
“We should’ve been doing something else,” Baddour said. “We should’ve acknowledged the level that these guys are and that there were going to be people coming at them. … I wish we had done more. I’d like to relive that part.”
"High-profile players demand high-profile compliance."
Following the NCAA’s ruling on the USC football program in June, NCAA Committee on Infractions chairman Paul Dee told the L.A. Times: "The real issue here is, if you have high-profile players, your enforcement staff has to monitor those students at a higher level. High-profile players demand high-profile compliance."
Part of that ability falls into the second concern, which is that North Carolina’s official website lists four compliance officers for a 28-sport program. In contrast, Alabama’s official website lists eight compliance officers for its 18 athletic programs.
Florida International University was cited for lack of institutional control in 2008, and one of the four determinations in reaching that conclusion was “inadequate compliance staffing.”
In order to formulate a final ruling, the NCAA will continue to investigate all aspects of the UNC football program, from the student-athlete to the top administrators. That verdict could be as far as a year away, according to university officials, though Baddour noted on Monday that UNC is nearing the completion of the agent prong of the review.