June 16, 2019

UM compliance efforts lagging

Judging by the efforts made by other New England Division I universities, former compliance officer Woody Carville was correct when he warned his superiors the University of Maine was lagging behind when it came to the process of living by NCAA rules.

In a telephone survey of the compliance officers or athletic directors at five other land grant institutions, plus Boston University and Northeastern, all seven schools reported being at least one year ahead of Maine in devoting more resources to compliance.

Six of the institutions reported the position of compliance director was held by a full-time employee who devoted at least 80 percent of his or her time to the issue. All seven reported greater computer efficiency than Maine based on the ability to quickly access records from other departments.

Carville was relieved of his part-time position as compliance officer by UM President Fred Hutchinson last Thursday after an error he made resulted in five graduate student-athletes being ruled ineligible.

Carville, 62, accepted blame for the error, but said the UM administration’s foot-dragging on his calls for increased support to compliance over the past several years was partially responsible. He was not surprised by the survey results.

“This is all information I’d learned from previous compliance people’s meetings. This has all been told to me,” said Carville Monday.

“It’s what I’ve been trying to say all the way along,” Carville continued. “Other folks have these things. They don’t seem to have any problems. It would seem to me if we’re in the same level they are, we should have them.”

Institutions reporting full-time compliance officers with no other duties are: Boston University, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

New Hampshire and Vermont reported their compliance directors have other duties, but spend at least 80 percent of their full-time jobs dealing with compliance issues.

Only Northeastern University’s assistant AD with the title of compliance director reported other duties kept her from spending more than “50 percent” of her time on compliance.

“We have a full-time secretary and our computer can access admissions and the registrar’s office, which helps,” said NU’s Kris Burns.

According to Carville, who has worked 20 hours a week the past two years since retiring as an assistant AD, Maine’s compliance office has one personal computer that is not networked outside the office. The software is incompatible with computers in other areas of campus. A graduate student works two days a week. Another graduate student works full-time.

George Jacobson, the NCAA faculty representative at Maine, was skeptical of the honesty of those responding to the survey. Jacobson had told media members Sunday that Maine had “in fact put more effort into compliance than other schools that I’m aware of in our region.”

“I can’t prove other schools are not putting the effort in, but I’ve discussed it with other faculty representatives and been told the attention they pay is a joke,” said Jacobson, noting other schools would be afraid to admit the attention they really give compliance.

Jacobson said he believed even if Maine had had improved computers and resources this year, Carville’s error would still have occurred.

“It would not have made a difference,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson, Hutchinson, and UM athletic director Mike Ploszek did not dispute Carville’s point that Maine must upgrade its compliance.

Hutchinson said a search will be made for a full-time compliance officer.

Ploszek pointed out Sunday that Maine had begun efforts to computerize the athletic department.

“This year as we entered the academic year we had networked our building with Apple computers,” said Ploszek, noting recent budget cuts have slowed progress. “The problem is that other areas on campus have IBM computers. The software that currently exists in package form from the NCAA is IBM. The NCAA was supposed to have (Apple) software ready by January. It is not ready.”

Vermont compliance officer Sally Guerrette said even with better computers and support staff, continued expansion of NCAA rules makes compliance difficult.

“Our lives have been made much more difficult, much more complicated,” she said.

Several of the compliance officers interviewed during the survey said they were aware of Maine’s four NCAA violations this year and were sympathetic.

“I feel sorry for the people involved, especially the student-athletes,” said Rhode Island compliance officer Anthony Adams. “Maybe the institution there will address the problem. It’s a bad thing for the state of Maine.”

Boston University

Sports: 22 Student-Athletes: 600 Compliance officer: Full-time, assistant AD Averill Haines does nothing else, according to AD Gary Strickland. Position has existed for four years. Resources: Full-time secretary, computer system with customized software capable of generating complete squad lists with all relevant information.


Sports: 21 Student-Athletes: 490 Compliance officer: Full-time, compliance coordinator Noreen Morris. Position has existed for 1 1/2 years, she reports. Prior to that, compliance handled by assistant AD. Resources: Office, secretary shared with three other administrators, computer networked into campus mainframe, can pull academic records from registrar’s office.


Sports: 27 Student-Athletes: 700 Compliance officer: Full-time, compliance coordinator Carol Ford, hired this academic year, she said. Before her, job done by athletic directors. Resources: Own office, three work-study students – two for data entry, another for records. Computer system is currently being set up to run new NCAA software interacting with other offices.

New Hampshire

Sports: 26 Student-Athletes: 780 Compliance officer: Assistant AD David O’Connor, spends 83 percent of time on compliance, 17 percent on game management, according to AD Gib Chapman. Position has existed seven years. Resources: One secretary, splits time with other offices. Computer runs either O’Connor’s customized program or NCAA software and can access other offices such as financial aid and registrar.


Sports: 22 Student-Athletes: 650 Compliance officer: Part-time, assistant AD and Director of Compliance and Eligibility Kris Burns. She said she has other responsibilities, spends 50 percent time on compliance, been in position since 1991. Resources: Full-time secretary, computer can access admissions and registrar’s office.

Rhode Island

Sports: 21 Student-Athletes: 490 Compliance officer: Full-time for 1 1/2 years, compliance officer Anthony Adams. Prior to him, associate AD had responsibility, Adams said. Resources: Shares secretaries with others in athletic department. Registrar’s office certifies all academic eligibility. Computer is networked to campus mainframe and can access records from several offices.


Sports: 26 Student-Athletes: 520 Compliance officer: Assistant AD Sally Guerrette, says she works 85-90 percent of time on compliance. Resources: Office, access to pool of secretaries, computer networked into registrar’s office for easy access of academic records. Self-written software. New system soon to be put in.


Sports: 19 Student-Athletes: 450 Compliance officer: Part-time, until last week, Woody Carville. Now, interim position held by Robert Whelan, executive assistant to president. Search on for full-time replacement. Resources: Office, two graduate-student assistants. Computer, new this year, not networked to offices outside athletics, software not compatible with computers in offices outside athletics.

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