Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education got an in-depth look at the changes Ohio State has made in compliance (subscription req’d) since being hit with a postseason ban for the extra benefits/tattoos scandal last year. The office is now a 14-member monster with a $1.1 million annual budget. Two specific actions taken by Ohio State stick out. The first is rather traditional:
Pre-tattoo scandal, Ohio State performed random spot-checks on about 10 percent of the names on players’ lists for tickets. After that, officials started placing calls to all 4,000 or so people set to receive free tickets every year. This season, more than 100 didn’t check out.
One of the big differences between compliance at the “haves” vs. compliance at the “have nots” is illustrated here. The have nots are forced by budget to spot check for issues. BCS schools typically have either the manpower or the money to achieve a complete audit of every thing that happens in a certain area. But to OSU’s benefit, many of those 4,000 people who have already been checked will back next year and not need another call.
Another change might be unique to Ohio State:
Starting this season, each assistant football coach is responsible for ensuring that every player has a checking account and a personal budget (players can’t suit up otherwise). The coaches are required to monitor players’ spending habits to make sure they don’t get in financial trouble.
Part of this (the spending monitoring) sounds like Big Brother. On the flip side, Ohio State has the ability to address some financial issues for its athletes, so better the university know about it before a booster does. But more helpful is the banking and budgeting advice the players receive. Hopefully that will be the start of better money management that helps Ohio State’s stars avoid some of the financial problems that befall professional athletes. Not to mention that fewer athletes walking around with $2,500 cash from a Pell Grant helps quite a few issues.