Tahlequah Daily Press


September 14, 2012

Haskell University responds to NAIA probation ruling

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Haskell Indian Nations University has taken "corrective actions" to address concerns that led to its athletic programs being placed on probation this week through 2014, the Kansas school said in a statement released Thursday.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics placed the school on probation for "violations involving ineligible players," but it released no details. The probation went into effect Monday.

In Thursday's statement, the university said the problems involved only the football and men's basketball programs, and one player from each team was affected. The school had earlier disclosed internal and federal investigations into claims that two student-athletes had falsified ACT scores dating back to 2008.

Haskell president James Redman said in the statement that oversight and polices have been improved to bring the school into compliance with NAIA standards and address issues raised in a U.S. Department of Education Inspector General's investigation and report.

In the release, which was dated Wednesday but released late Thursday, Redman said departmental reviews were conducted, policies were tightened and the student database system and ACT reporting requirements were upgraded. He also noted that policies tied to "drop/add deadlines and stop-gap actions" have prevented other occurrences.

"Haskell takes ethical and compliance responsibilities very serious and believes this was an isolated event," he said.

The school said no students were advanced in class ranking or earned degrees "as a result of falsified ACT scores alleged to have been submitted" or other credits received from hybrid courses from online or off campus.

Haskell, which is overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, announced the investigations in May and said they had resulted in "official action on the employees and students involved," as well as the discovery that three other students' transcripts were manipulated. Two employees involved no longer work at Haskell, the school said at the time.

University spokesman Stephen Prue said in a telephone interview Thursday that the NAIA's decision to place the school on probation resulted from two of those cases. He declined to provide the students' names.

He also said the school is still determining how many men's basketball and football games will be forfeited. According to the NAIA handbook, the use of ineligible students leads to the forfeiture of "all contests in which the ineligible student participated." Athletes also lose at least one season of eligibility.

Institutions placed on probation must submit a written response detailing the corrective measures they plan to take. Future violations can lead to the suspension of programs, a move that would bar them from postseason play, according to the NAIA handbook.

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