Hart Responds to Review

Florida State Athletic Director <b>Dave Hart</b> criticized an investigation of his department by the school's inspector general Thursday as "antagonistic, inaccurate and caustic,'' but conceded there could be better communication with university leaders. Click here for the details.

Florida State Athletic Director Dave Hart defended his department Thursday in response to an investigation by the school's inspector general.

Hart called the report "antagonistic, inaccurate and caustic" but admitted there could be better communication with university leaders. However, he also stressed there "are many examples where existing communication is very sound."

President T.K. Wetherell reorganized the athletic department in June, moving many responsibilities to other areas of the university to eliminate what the inspector general described as "a culture of isolation."

Hart, however, disagrees with that finding, saying a separate review of his department's operation by an outside consultant "contains many errors and an alarming amount of misinformation.''

Hart, in a letter dated Aug. 15 to Inspector General David Coury, also disputed the assessment that his department was isolated from the rest of the university.

Wetherell issued the investigation following the university's handling and investigation into numerous reports that Adrian McPherson was gambling. Wetherell said the department did not do "its best work'' in its investigation.

"We are not, never have been, and will not become a department that operates in a culture of isolation,'' wrote Hart, who challenged several of the recommendations made by the internal review and by MGT of America, the outside consultant.

Hart said three reviews of his department -- an NCAA Certification Review, a review from former President Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte and an Atlantic Coast Conference compliance review -- have been conducted in the last 18 months and that no mention was ever made of a concern about his department working in isolation of the university.

The IG report said the athletic department's reporting system "exposes the university to significant risk and shows lack of forethought and good judgment.''

Recommendation No. 37 of the report requested better communication between the athletic department and university personnel. It read:

"Ensure that University senior level administrators, including the Police Chief, General Counsel, Inspector General, and Provost are included in the Athletics Department formal investigatory policy and procedures. Include documentation of the roles and authorities in the Compliance Manual and in the Seminole Handbook and Planner."

Hart responded: "We are already moving in that direction to gain a broader range of consistent communication from everyone involved which will benefit all involved."

More than 50 recommendations for operational changes were included in two reports presented to the trustees. Some of the recommendations, Hart noted, were at the President's discretion. Those mostly included suggestions on how the Athletics Board should be structured.

"The Athletics Board has always fallen under the sole authority of the University President," Hart wrote.

"Only the President has determined and can determine the structure and the make-up of this board or committee. The Director of Athletics and the athletics staff work to ensure that the president's expectations, as well as those of the board or committee, are being met."

Hart stressed it's time to put the McPherson ordeal and the negative publicity it generated behind it and work towards the future.

"Many people have been hurt and embarrassed by the publicity generated from the allegation of gambling by a student-athlete,'' Hart said. "It is time for us to move forward.''

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