LSU provides probe progress report

A day after LSU officials met with NCAA staff members in Indianapolis, the university's investigation into allegations of plagiarism involving student-athletes continues. The school's Director of NCAA Compliance, Bo Bahnsen, says more interviews will take place in hopes of completing a self-report on the probe.

Bahnsen, along with Chancellor Mark Emmert, Director of Athletics Skip Bertman and university attorney Mike Phares, presented the to-date findings of LSU in-house probe to two members of the NCAA enforcement staff. LSU sought out the meeting with the NCAA upon the advice of Southeastern Conference Commissioner Roy Kramer, who came to Baton Rouge in March to discuss the investigation with school officials. 


"It was very good," Bahnsen said of Monday's trip to Indianapolis. "The objective of this meeting for our benefit was so that we could lay out what we have found at this time, answer any of the questions (the NCAA) may have and to get their direction and guidance so we could complete this self-report.


"At this time, it is our opinion that the NCAA is satisfied with the progress that we're making."


LSU has obtained the services of an outside attorney for its internal investigation. Mike Glazier, a former NCAA employee with experience in handling enforcement and infractions matters, has represented the athletic departments at Minnesota and the Southern California during their most recent NCAA investigations. His firm, BS&K of Overland Park, Kan., has taken part in over 100 cases involving NCAA rules compliance.


Transcripts of interviews from the LSU investigation have been kept for submission to the NCAA since the interviews began on Feb. 4. Although specifics were not discussed, Bahnsen said leads obtained will be pursued and could lead to additional interviews.


Through interviews conducted as of last week, Bahnsen said the probe involves a total of ten allegations of plagiarism. The Dean of Students is also being kept abreast of the progress in the investigation since plagiarism, on its own, is a violation of university rules. It becomes an NCAA violation, according to Bahnsen, if the athletic department provides assistance with the plagiarizing.


A total of 80 individuals, including athletes, tutors, graduate assistants and instructors, have been interviewed dating back over six months when a related internal investigation of the Academic Center for Athletes began.


Bahnsen would not say if the current probe extends beyond the ACA, but it is believed that the LSU Department of Kinesiology is at the center of the allegations since a former instructor and graduate student in the department have filed suit against the university with claims of retaliation after they brought student-athlete plagiarism to the attention of their supervisors.


Once LSU has completed the interviewing process, it will finalize its self-report and file it with the SEC and NCAA. The NCAA will place the report in "preliminary inquiry status" and assign an investigator to review the findings and determine if a visit to the campus is necessary.


The NCAA's enforcement staff will then review the case and present its findings to the infractions committee that will determine the violations have taken place and what penalties will be handed down.


Bahnsen said the university would not offer any further comment until the self-report is sent to the NCAA, at which time another news conference will be held to discuss the report.


The emphasis following the meeting with NCAA officials will be to bring the internal investigation to a conclusion.


"In these types of things, you want to be thorough," said Bahnsen. "You don't want to be hasty. You want to make sure you've covered everything possible and present it in a fashion so that the NCAA will know we're trying to do our due diligence in finding the true answers and taking corrective measures."


Timeline of LSU's in-house probe into alleged student-athlete plagiarism

- provided by LSU Associate Athletics Director Bo Bahnsen, Director of NCAA Compliance

Jan. 16 – In-house investigation into allegations of student-athlete plagiarism begins.

Jan. 22 – Chancellor Mark Emmert notified of investigation into allegations involving the Academic Center for Athletes.

Feb. 1 – Bahnsen meets with Vice-Provost Gregory Vincent to discuss the investigation.

Feb. 4 – Interviews begin in the investigation along with a transcription of self-reports to the NCAA.

Feb. 6 – Meeting with legal counsel and representatives of LSU Human Resources to put together a plan of action to protect student's rights and university interests in the investigation.

Feb. 15 – Southeastern Conference Commissioner Roy Kramer contacted with request to meet LSU officials to discuss investigation.

March 8 – University counsel Mike Phares receives additional information regarding allegations of plagiarized papers.

March 13 – Phares meets with LSU's Dean of Students to discuss issues pertaining to plagiarism.

March 19 – LSU officials meet with Kramer, who advises the university to forward their progress reports on the investigation to the NCAA.

March 20 – LSU's legal counsel contacts the NCAA to update them of where they were in the investigation.

April 4 – LSU obtains the services of outside counsel Mike Glazier, a former NCAA employee with experience in aiding athletic departments under investigations.

April 12 – Emmert releases a statement to LSU faculty asking them to come forward with any information they have relative to the investigation.

May 6 – LSU officials and Glazier, on their own initiative, travel to Indianapolis to meet with two members of the NCAA enforcement staff and update them on the internal investigation.

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