Iowa Tightens Video Oversight After NCAA Violation

University of Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta listens to a question from a reporter during a press conference in which he announced the firing of head coach Todd Lickliter, on Monday, March 15, 2010, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Lickliter was head basketball coach of the Hawkeyes for three consecutive losing seasons. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

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By James Steward

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has tightened its procedures for reviewing promotional videos in response to learning it committed a minor NCAA violation by posting clips of football players going through summer workouts on a website for recruits and fans, officials said Thursday.

Those involved in creating and posting the videos on GoHawks.com last summer were unaware that doing so would violate NCAA rules requiring summer weight-lifting and conditioning activities to be voluntary, Associate Athletic Director Fred Mims said. The rules prohibit teams from recording workouts for the purpose of telling players' coaches or teammates whether or not they participated and from giving recognition or incentives to those who do.

The athletic department's compliance staff learned about the problem after receiving an inquiry from a non-Big Ten school that Mims declined to identify.

"The posting was inadvertent and occurred when football video staff was showcasing football activities to fans and supporters," Mims wrote in an Oct. 23 letter to the NCAA that The Associated Press recently obtained through a freedom of information request. "They did not obtain clearance from institutional compliance staff before the video was posted."

Mims told the NCAA that the staff members were focused on complying with recruiting rules and did not consider those governing summer workouts. He said they "were educated on the issues" and given letters of admonishment warning not to let it happen again.

"It was a blanket admonishment to the video folks who were involved," Mims said Thursday. "It just put folks on notice that the rules require you to be informed and that, for any future violation of this nature, there might be stiffer penalties placed on you."

Video Productions Assistant Matt Jansen, who worked on the videos for GoHawks.com with other employees, said Thursday that some videos were removed while others had to be edited to delete pictures of incoming players and references to "summer workouts." He said the original goal of the videos was to introduce supporters to incoming players, but employees made an oversight when it came to rules governing voluntary workouts.

"We didn't think about it. We weren't trying to imply they were mandatory," Jansen said. "That was never the intention."

Mims said the athletics department has assigned a member of its compliance staff to review videos and other media presentations to make sure they comply with NCAA rules before they are launched. Jansen described that step as some extra work that will be worth it in the long-run by preventing future violations.

In a letter dated Aug. 23, 2010, NCAA Enforcement Staff Member Adam Grams asked Iowa to investigate the video as well as allegations that an unnamed strength and conditioning coach conducted workouts outside the eight-week period in which summer conditioning activities are allowed.

Mims had meetings on Aug. 30, 2010 with Coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff to begin looking into the allegations. The video had already been discussed with the Big Ten Conference, but "this will end up being reported as a violation due to NCAA letter of inquiry," according to notes of the meetings.

Ferentz and Doyle explained that summer workouts were voluntary, were conducted within 7 weeks instead of the 8 allowed, and there were no sanctions for not participating. Doyle said he and his staff monitor attendance at weight-lifting sessions and keep files on each player documenting their progress, but that is done strictly for safety purposes and not shared with other coaches.

Ferentz, Doyle and the rest of the coaching staff filed statements declaring that no NCAA violations occurred related to the workouts themselves. Mims informed the NCAA of that conclusion in his Oct. 23 letter. The NCAA in November agreed that a violation related to the video did occur, but it was classified as secondary and no further action was taken.

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