Southeast must pay for probe expenses

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The OVC will eventually pass investigation costs onto Southeast.

The Ohio Valley Conference was contacted by Southeast Missouri State officials in late January to initiate an investigation into possible NCAA violations by Southeast's women's basketball program, conference commissioner Dr. John Steinbrecher said Monday.

He added that the university will be billed for expenses associated with the probe, and he did not rule out the possibility of an outside firm assisting in the inquiry.

The OVC and Southeast Missouri State on Friday both released statements acknowledging that the university asked Steinbrecher's office to investigate the women's basketball program.

Asked about the timetable on that request, Steinbrecher said Monday, "I think it was in late January when Dr. Dobbins asked me to look into this."

Southeast athletic director Don Kaverman said Monday that university president Dr. Kenneth Dobbins made the decision to bring in the OVC commissioner. Kaverman declined to say how potential violations came to their attention.

Steinbrecher, in his third year as the conference commissioner, said he did not have information on the last time the conference was asked to investigate or how frequently such a request is made.

"It has occured in the past, but I don't know the numbers," he said. "I think these situations occur infrequently."

Steinbrecher said he will oversee the investigation.

"I will utilize any and all resources available to complete the task in front of me," he said. "I will oversee the investigation, and when it's concluded, we'll report out.

"My office will be handling the costs, but we will be reimbursed for expenses incurred. I don't know what those would be at this point."

Kaverman said, "I don't know what, if any, costs would be involved. That's not known at this point."

Steinbrecher would not confirm that the OVC has contracted with The Compliance Group, a firm based in Lenexa, Kan., that assists universities in handling inquiries into possible NCAA violations.

Chuck Smrt, the president of that firm and an NCAA enforment officer for more than 17 years before that, also would not confirm his group's involvement.

Since its inception in 1999, The Compliance Group has handled cases for prominent schools, including Wisconsin and Arkansas, and may take roles anywhere from advisory to investigatory.

Smrt said NCAA member institutions are expected to be forthcoming about violations and enforcement.

"An institution, by rule, has a responsibility to self-report violations and it's expected their going to take some corrective and punitive actions," said Smrt, who said there are more than 2,500 secondary violations committed each year.

"If we're hired for an inquiry, it's our objective to find out the truth. That's what we're hired to do."

Kaverman said every institution has trouble avoiding secondary violations that require review within athletic departments. The conference investigation will determine the level of potential violations in Southeast's women's program, he said.

"I think it's the expectation of the member schools to monitor their programs and play by the rules," Kaverman said. "The NCAA rules are very sophisticated and complex. Occasionally you find mistakes that are secondary violations. Every institution has those."

Steinbrecher nor Kaverman would comment on the process involved with the OVC's investigation.

"It's handled differently with different situations," Kaverman said. "It would be complete speculation on what the OVC may or may not do. We've turned it over for their review, and we may be asked to respond to issues."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: