Ohio St. setting up compliance program

Updated: August 30, 2011, 6:15 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State's top financial official on Tuesday recommended the university hire two firms to undertake a comprehensive review of campus compliance programs in the wake of the football team's memorabilia scandal.

The review will look at compliance across the university, with an emphasis on athletics, research, the medical center including Ohio State hospitals, and student financial aid.

The review will also compare Ohio State's compliance programs -- meaning how departments follow rules and regulations that apply to them -- with other universities and companies. Finally, the companies will recommend a new structure for Ohio State to follow.

"It's about integrity and about having the best system in the country looking at compliance in all those areas," said Geoff Chatas, the university's chief financial officer.

Two firms, both outside Ohio, are being recommended by Chatas.

The first, Protiviti Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., is a global business and risk consulting firm that fit the university's needs for a compliance review, Chatas said.

The second, New York-based law firm Dewey and LeBoeuf, will assist with legal issues arising from the review, Chatas said.

"We wanted the best firms," he said, while noting that Protiviti has a major Cincinnati office.

Chatas said Ohio State already has strong compliance programs in individual departments. But he said he was surprised there wasn't a national model of a centralized compliance program the university could look to. Trustees are likely to approve the hiring next week.

The review comes as Ohio State tries to recover from a rules scandal that cost former coach Jim Tressel his job and led to the departure of quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

The review is about much more than the athletics department, said trustee Robert Schottenstein, chairman of the trustees' audit committee.

"We've also underscored we believe this was an opportunity for Ohio State to take a step forward in an area where historically maybe that wasn't important, or wasn't an issue," Schottenstein, CEO and president of M/I Homes Inc., said Tuesday.

Trustees announced in June the university would review all compliance practices, not just those in the athletic department.

The university is still waiting the results of the NCAA investigation into the scandal, which started with players improperly trading football memorabilia for discounted tattoos and cash in violation of university and NCAA rules. Later, it was learned that Tressel knew of the violations but failed to report them as required by his contract.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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