Monday, January 15, 2007

Compliance People Don’t Bite

by Jeff Konya

Most people when they hear of NCAA compliance usually have the usual first visceral reaction. It is a cross between realizing you have taxes due on April 15, and, your long delayed root canal cannot be avoided anymore. Sure, there are mundane aspects of every job, and part of working within NCAA rules is simply monitoring policies and procedures and completing necessary NCAA forms and reports. In this way, I can sympathize with Mr. H & R Block.

But, this only accounts for part of my duties and responsibilities. First and foremost, I have to protect SMU from unwanted situations or investigations. In this way, good compliance practices are an insurance policy, and I am the insurance broker. Also, I have to help coaches, staff, athletes and SMU followers make their way through the black letter law of the NCAA, and all of that association’s interpretations, as they encounter interesting issues. In this way, I can add “Your Honor” to my title and bang a gavel. And like any educator, I also have to make sure everyone can easily digest the rules and regulations by properly informing each constituency group (i.e., coaches, boosters, student-athletes, athletics committee, etc). Maybe this is why I get along with faculty members so well, or else, I just have one of those personalities that can intermingle with different groups of people. I never said I wasn’t conceded.

I guess the easiest way to conceptualize compliance is a comparison to a baseball team. Compliance is a relief pitcher of sorts. I wear the team uniform but the casual fan may not notice me for a long while. I do not hang out with my other teammates in the dugout during games very much, but when I get called to do a task, it is usually of great importance, is pressure filled and an outcome may hang in the balance.

I look forward to being here at the Hilltop. I left a fellow C-USA school for the opportunity to work here. I am convinced that the future is bright on so many levels for the University, and this includes a Top 25 athletics department in every possible aspect. I look forward to chatting with you in the near future, but I must get back to my Ipod Nano downloads of which Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and Asia’s “Heat Of The Moment” were the last two.


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