Consultant: Ohio St. unlike a corporation

Updated: September 8, 2011, 6:00 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio State trustee who has maintained the university's football scandal stemmed from problems with values on Thursday added a new twist to the issue.

Jerry Jurgensen challenged a consultant charged with fixing problems identified in the scandal to say whether universities were different than other large organizations.

The consultant agreed, saying universities respond differently than businesses to changing their compliance programs, especially in areas like adhering to NCAA rules.

As a result, the message from the top of the university is especially important, said Michael Brauneis, a consultant with Menlo Park, Calif.-based Protiviti Inc.

"That makes the culture of the organization, that makes tone at the top from the board, and the executive leadership of the university, that much more important," Brauneis told trustees meeting on campus.

"Because you do have to rely to a larger extent on people knowing what's expected of them and consistently doing the right thing than in other industries," he said.

In June, Jurgensen said Ohio State's scandal developed from "cracks in a value system."

He said Thursday that from time to time in meetings, he and other trustees hear the refrain that "universities are different." Jurgensen is retired chief executive officer of Nationwide Insurance.

OSU president Gordon Gee on Thursday said top officials, including himself, the provost, the athletic director and the chief financial officer, are unified in their approach.

"We were all together on this issue, that compliance is enormously important," Gee said.

Protiviti's 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.

Protiviti is a global business and risk consulting firm with a large Cincinnati office. A second company, New York-based law firm Dewey and LeBoeuf, will assist with legal issues arising from the review.

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

Brauneis also said Ohio State is ahead of the curve when it comes to such a review.

"This is the first project of this scale that a large higher education institution has done," he said.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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