LEXINGTON, Ky. --- University of Kentucky
President Lee Todd along with UK Athletics Director Larry Ivy today unveiled an
enhancement to the UK Athletics Association's Compliance Program entitled
"Comply Cats," a toll-free telephone number that will allow employees,
student-athletes and the general public to report potential misconduct or ask
compliance-related questions anonymously.
The new program is the first of its kind in a Southeastern Conference (SEC) athletics department and is believed to be the first introduced by a National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) member institution. It's modeled after a similar, successful program that was established by the Office of Compliance at the UK Chandler Medical Center in 1999.
"The administrative staff of the University of Kentucky Athletics Association has determined that this compliance effort will help us prevent and detect the types of violations which occurred in the majority of the allegations detailed in the NCAA official letter of inquiry into the University's football program," President Todd said. "The availability of this toll-free telephone line will allow anyone to make a report anonymously without fear of retribution. Employees who fail to report such suspected misconduct could result in disciplinary action."
"This initiative is an important addition to the regular efforts of our compliance staff," Ivy said. "This reinforces our commitment to maintaining an athletics program that not only is compliant with SEC and NCAA regulations, but also other human resource issues."
"The University of Kentucky is to be
congratulated for developing the means for allowing its fans, alumni, boosters,
employees and student-athletes an opportunity to inquire about compliance
issues," SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer said. "This should serve as an outstanding
tool for everyone who follows Wildcat athletics to get an understanding about
issues that are so important for all intercollegiate athletics departments."
The UK Athletics Association has hired an independent contractor -- Pinkerton Services Group of Charlotte, N.C. -- to establish and monitor the toll-free telephone line, (866) 275-CATS, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and every day of the year at a cost of $3,500 annually. The new line will go into effect on Oct. 29. Pinkerton, which also monitors the UK Medical Center's compliance line, is professionally trained to take calls about possible misconduct, or to arrange for callers to receive answers to any questions they may have about compliance issues.
The Compliance Office will conduct mandatory educational sessions with employees and student-athletes to inform them of the new program. Employees and student-athletes not only will be trained how to use the telephone line, but also will be informed of legal and institutional protections for those reporting suspected misconduct. UK Athletics employs about 150 full- and part-time staff members, including coaches, and sponsors 22 varsity sports featuring more than 470 student-athletes.
During the education sessions, employees and student-athletes also will receive a brochure and wallet card containing the telephone number for the compliance line. All Athletics Department employees will be informed that they are under an affirmative obligation to report any conduct that they, in good faith, believe is not in compliance with NCAA or SEC regulations, or may be illegal, unethical or abusive, Ivy said.
The compliance line number also will be included in booster educational brochures, in booster and alumni publications and on the compliance page of the UK Athletics Web site at http://ukathletics.fansonly.com/compliance/kty-compliance.html.
"Compliance with NCAA rules is of the highest priority for our athletics program and institution," said Sandra D. Bell, UK assistant athletics director for compliance. "As a member of the NCAA, the University of Kentucky is responsible for the actions of its boosters and fans. Even the best-intentioned action on their part may be a violation of NCAA rules. Providing boosters and fans with this compliance number not only will allow them to report suspected wrongdoing, but also will allow them to ‘Ask Before They Act.'"
Compliance concerns immediately will be reported to the Compliance Office. Reports of illegal, unethical or abusive behavior will be referred immediately to the University's Human Resources Department.
Here's how Comply Cats works:
The contractor receives the call on a dedicated line reserved for UK Athletics;
* The individual answering the line will ask the caller to identify himself/herself, however, if the caller is uncomfortable providing his/her name, the caller always is permitted to remain anonymous. Callers who identify themselves can expect that their identity will be protected up to the limits of the law and to the extent reasonably possible;
* The individual answering the line will make handwritten notes as the caller describes his/her concern. The individual answering the line will ask additional questions to ensure the caller's concerns are reflected with as much detail as possible.
The caller will be instructed how and when to call back so he/she can check on the status of his/her concern, if the caller chooses to do so. Anonymous callers will be given an identification number and instructed how and when to call back to check on the status of their concerns;
Promptly after the call, the contractor will
generate a report and forward a copy to the UK Athletics Compliance Office for
Calls to the compliance line are not tracked, traced or recorded.
To report potential misconduct or ask compliance-related questions, call the Comply Cats line at (866) 275-CATS or contact Sandra D. Bell, UK assistant athletics director for compliance, at (859) 257-6482 or by mail at UKAA Compliance, Room 8 Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, KY 40506-0019.