July 07, 2010
Of the many charges levied against USC by the NCAA's official sanctions report last month, the one that seemed to distress the NCAA the most was what it saw as a loose environment that "almost certainly contributed to the difficulties of compliance staff in achieving a rules-compliant program." Also contributing to the difficulties of compliance staff was the fact that there barely was a staff much of the time: One former USC compliance director quoted in the report told investigators he only had one employee for most of his tenure, and it was "just myself for a couple of months."
To put that into context, every other school in the Pac-10 currently lists at least four compliance employees except Oregon State, which lists three. (And they're accounting for kids in Corvallis, Ore., not Los Angeles.) Stanford, the only private university in the conference besides USC, lists seven.
The rebuke of the "general campus environment" doesn't sit too well in L.A., especially with former coach Pete Carroll. But according to the anonymous compliance employee who covers all things compliance in the Bylaw Blog, the university is going above and beyond in the wake of the NCAA sanctions to make sure no one can ever accuse it of not having enough watchdogs again:
The Trojans have already built the compliance office to six employees: an associate provost, three directors of compliance, and two assistant directors.1 That apparently is not enough as USC has posted job openings for two more directors of compliance.
But the biggest news, not mentioned in the job posting but circulated in an email through compliance offices around the country is that these will probably be some of the highest paying non-supervisory compliance positions in the nation...
Ignore the salary [likely between $80-100K, depending on experience] for a moment. USC has posted two positions, and is contemplating posting even more. That would easily give USC the largest compliance office in the country.
Padding the bureaucracy won't generate the same headlines (or memories) as athletic director Mike Garrett calling the most severe NCAA sanctions in 25 years "nothing but a lot of envy," but it is a direct, rational response to a specific problem. That will always beat another excuse for being completely in the dark.
Of course, one of those employees has already added to Garrett's mounting embarrassment by forcing the AD to send out letters of apology to various schools that a USC staffer wrongly turned into the Pac-10 last month for illegal contact with Trojan freshmen the same day the sanctions dropped. I guess it's better to screw up in pursuit of a rule than in ignoring one.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.