The Definition of Lack of Institutional Control

June 7th, 2017 | by Matthew Monte
The Definition of Lack of Institutional Control

Institutional Control

Ole Miss is contesting charges of lack of institutional control and failure to monitor that have been levied against head football coach Hugh Freeze.

While not all of the alleged infractions happened under Freeze’s watch, it is hard to imagine that a four-year investigation that found 21 total violations would assert that the head coach had managed his program properly. Even harder when 15 of those violations are of the Level I classification.

But by the NCAA’s own guidelines, Ole Miss may have a case.

Although seemingly ambiguous, the NCAA does offer some clear guidelines for what constitutes institutional control.

What does it mean when an institution is found to have a lack of institutional control?

A lack of institutional control is found when the Committee on Infractions determines that major violations occurred and the institution failed to display:

– Adequate compliance measures.

– Appropriate education on those compliance measures.

– Sufficient monitoring to ensure the compliance measures are followed.

– Swift action upon learning of a violation.

Ole Miss is firm in its stance that the University met these guidelines, in its response stating, “According to the University’s research, an institutional control violation has never been triggered by the mere existence of an underlying violation or even multiple, serious violations….The University’s systems and efforts have met and continue to meet the appropriate standards.”

The issue here isn’t whether the University implemented compliance measures, or education, or monitoring, or even over their internal response to the allegations. The disconnect is the ambiguity of terms like ‘adequate,’ or ‘appropriate,’ and ‘sufficient.’ As Ole Miss states, the mere presence of violations has never triggered a lack of institutional control charge, however, the volume and breadth of allegations seem to warrant it.

Based on the guidelines listed above, the University itself may have a case. I do not believe, however, that Hugh Freeze does. Per NCAA guidelines:

Can individuals be charged with a lack of institutional control or failure to monitor?

Yes….NCAA bylaws require head coaches to promote an atmosphere for compliance and to monitor the rules compliance of those who report to them.

From my career away from college athletics, I can say without hesitation that there is a clear distinction between policy and organizational culture.

Few incidents may be an anomaly, but repeated incidents must be addressed. Because humans will always be fallible, ‘engineering’ these issues out with technology, policy, and procedure is your first response. By asserting that they meet ‘appropriate standards,’ Ole Miss feels that they have done this.

However, the issues persisted. If all the mechanisms for success are in place, yet your organization continues to fail, then your personnel clearly are not being held to the standards of those mechanisms.

This is the definition of cultural failure within an organization. Hugh Freeze did not “promote an atmosphere for compliance.”

As Ole Miss officials assert, “This case does not involve a head coach who facilitated or participated in violations or otherwise ignored red flags associated with them.” They may be right.

But a leader is judged by the actions of his people.

About Matthew Monte
Matthew Monte is Managing Editor of College AD and formerly Co-Managing Editor of Underdog Dynasty. He is a graduate of The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at UL Lafayette, mostly because it didn't require a foreign language. Matt is also a recovering stand up comedian who occasionally relapses.

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