Audit asks for more attention on coaches recruiting

BY ARIANA WITT | MAY 02, 2011 7:20 AM

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An internal audit of the University of Iowa Athletics Department recommended that department officials increase their monitoring of on- and off-campus NCAA recruiting activities.

The UI Office of Internal Audit conducted an audit on March 24 and distributed it to nine university and state officials, including UI President Sally Mason and Athletics Director Gary Barta.

The audit showed the university did not have record of 49 percent of 52 coaches' recruiting trips over the last year. Further, documentation of 29 percent of the trips began after a coach had left.

Mary Curtis, the associate athletics director for human resources and compliance, said the issue was the only one discovered during the routine audit of the department. She said she believes the problem could be attributed to a turnover in staff last summer who share the responsibility of organizing the recruiting information.

"Often, coaches are just making a paper trail, and that's what they are required to do," she said. "They create lots of documents, and the auditors are saying they think monitoring would be strengthened if we linked to specifics in terms of recruiting."

The UI requires all faculty and staff in each department put in a formal trip request for the business they conduct.

Under the recommendations from the audit committee, officials are expected to have all recruiting information documented in the university's travel software.

Regent Jack Evans, the head of the state Board of Regents' audit committee, said administrators have so far agreed to the recommendations.

"The internal audit function is a very robust function in the regent system, and there were a number of audits done, not just in the Athletics Department," he said. "I think this problem can be corrected with the recommendations."

The audit named Curtis and Fred Mims, the associate director of athletics for student services and compliance, as responsible for implementing the recommendations. Mims and Curtis are expected to report to the regents this summer to follow up on the changes.

In the past, Evans said, the regents have seen what they would like to see from the Athletics Department's travel and recruiting records.

Tom Kakert, the recruiting analyst for hawkeyereport.com, said specific information — such as the athlete for whom a coach is traveling — can sometimes be difficult.

"If a basketball coach is going out to an event, he or she is probably going to see 10 or 20 kids who a school might be interested in a given day," Kakert said.

Coaches often report an intention to see one athlete and actually see another because of a scheduling change while traveling, Kakert said. Coaches often attend tournaments or campuses without a specific prospect in mind.

He said he understands the need to monitor recruiting but knows there are challenges.

"Coaches have to do what they have to do, which is recruit kids," Kakert said.

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