(600) Kansas Athletics Staff: Conduct and Ethics

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Updated 3/14


The University of Kansas has established a tradition of integrity and ethical conduct at all levels of University life.  In accordance with this tradition, all employees involved in the intercollegiate athletics program are expected to represent the University and Kansas Athletics in an honorable manner at all times.

I.      Governing Authorities

Standards of ethical conduct for staff members are established and enforced by Kansas Athletics, the University, the Conference and the NCAA.  All staff members are:

·         Subject to the rules and regulations of the NCAA and the Big Twelve Conference which govern ethical conduct, use of banned drugs, gambling activities and other forms of misconduct as outlined in the NCAA Manual and the Big Twelve Conference Handbook; and
·         Expected to adhere to all standards, rules, and regulations established by the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff of KU and this Kansas Athletics’ Policies and Procedures Manual, as either document may be amended from time to time.  A complete copy of KU’s policies for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff is available at https://documents.ku.edu/policies/provost/FacultyandUnclassifiedStaffHandbook.pdf.   In case of a conflict between KU’s policies for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff and Kansas Athletics’ Policies and Procedures Manual, the terms of Athletics’ Policies and Procedures Manual shall control.

Kansas Athletics personnel are requested to contact the Director of Athletics or, in his absence, the Deputy Director of Athletics or the Senior Associate Director of Athletics regarding the interpretation or clarification of any rules or regulations.

II.     Business Ethics

It is the policy of Kansas Athletics to conduct its business in an ethical manner and to ensure compliance with all rules applicable to Kansas Athletics, as well as other governing authorities.

To achieve this goal, employees should have a practical, working knowledge of the rules and regulations within their area(s) of responsibility.  Supervisors should educate their employees concerning these rules or regulations and inform them of acts which might lead to violations. Any potential NCAA rules violations must be reported to the Athletics Director, the Faculty Athletics Representative, or the Associate Athletics Director/Compliance (See Policy 600 A: Procedures for Reporting Rules Violations).  Any employee who has knowledge of other, non-NCAA violations should first report them to his/her supervisor.  If the employee feels that the issue has not been adequately addressed, then he/she may inform the Director of Athletics and/or the Chancellor of the University of any possible violations.

Staff members are expected to exercise care in the use of personnel, capital equipment, supplies, and funds entrusted to them, and are not to use Kansas Athletics time, facilities, or property for other than officially approved Athletics or University business.  Tickets, favors and entertainment provided to Kansas Athletics employees must be consistent with NCAA and Conference rules and regulations, and accepted Kansas Athletics practices.

Kansas Athletics personnel may not accept gifts, payments, entertainment, privileges or other favors that might influence future decisions made by Kansas Athletics.  All gifts and payments received or disbursements made on behalf of Kansas Athletics must be fully and accurately reflected in Kansas Athletics records.

Staff members must avoid engaging in situations that give the appearance of a conflict of interest, and must also avoid disclosing confidential information concerning Kansas Athletics without proper authorization.  Certain staff members and members of the Kansas Athletics Board of Directors must comply with the Conflict of Interest reporting requirements found in Policy 204: Conflict of Interest.

Furthermore, staff members are to conduct their personal business outside of working hours.  Kansas Athletics will not act as a collection agency or be involved in determining the validity of contested debts on behalf of its staff members, other than following court-ordered garnishments or support payments.

III.       Confidentiality

Employees of Kansas Athletics have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of information obtained while employed at Kansas Athletics.  Employees may have access to private, confidential or sensitive information, including, but not limited to, secure technical data, private communications, academic records, medical records, financial information, payroll or personnel information. Employees are authorized access to such private information as a condition of employment to the extent necessary to perform their duties.  Employees of Kansas Athletics are required to protect against unauthorized access to such information, ensure the security and privacy of such information, and disclose any anticipated threats or hazards to such information.  Employees must not release confidential information to the public or to other individuals who have not been authorized or who do not have a legitimate institutional or business need to know.  Accessing, using, and/or disclosing private, confidential, or sensitive information for any reason other than the legitimate pursuit of their employment duties constitutes misuse.  Any misuse or unauthorized release of such information, either during employment at Kansas Athletics or subsequent to the conclusion of employment at Kansas Athletics, may be grounds for disciplinary action that may include termination, and/or the initiation of legal actions.

IV.   Consenting Relationships

a. Between Supervisor and EmployeeWhile supervisor-employee familial, intimate, sexual, or romantic relationships are not forbidden, supervisors have responsibilities to subordinates:  the duty not to exploit and the duty to be fair.  In addition, the potential for damage to the integrity of the institution is substantial.  A supervisor who initiates or accepts a relationship with a person over whom the supervisor has direct power may be perceived as and/or judged to be in a conflict-of-interest situation.

When relationships develop or are pre-existing, the supervisor must notify her/his immediate supervisor of the relationship.  The immediate supervisor, in consultation with the Director of Human Resources, will develop and approve a plan in accordance with University policy on conflict of interest, which will include measures designed to diminish the potential for violation of the superior’s responsibilities.  At a minimum, that plan will delegate to a third party responsibility for personnel decisions, including those concerning appointment, evaluation, retention, promotion, discipline, and salary.

b. Between Employees and Student-Athletes
Kansas Athletics policy prohibits a romantic, sexual or dating (amorous) relationship between any coach (head, assistant, graduate assistant, volunteer, strength and conditioning) and any student-athlete.  Every coach has an ethical obligation to maintain a professional relationship with student-athletes and to place the well-being of student-athletes ahead of the coach’s personal interests.  This relationship includes the duty to provide a safe and healthy environment for the student-athlete to flourish, and to serve as a role model within the confines of a professional relationship.  As a result, no amorous relationship between a coach and a student-athlete—regardless of the perception of consent by one or both participants—can exist without jeopardizing the professionalism of the coach-athlete relationship and creating a significant conflict of interest. All relationships between a coach and a student-athlete must be reported to the Athletics Director or a Senior Associate Athletics Director.

Amorous relationships between student-athletes and non-coaching staff are problematic, especially when the staff member has supervisory control or authority over that student-athlete.  For that reason, any amorous relationship with a student-athlete and non-coaching staff must be disclosed to the Athletics Director, a Senior Associate Athletics Director, or the Director of Human Resources.  If the staff member has supervisory control over the student-athlete, that staff member’s assignments must be reassigned so that he or she no longer has supervisory control or authority over the student-athlete.

For Kansas Athletics policy regarding consenting relationships with student-athletes and student employees, see Policy 501.

If it has been determined that a coach or staff member has violated this policy, that coach or staff member shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

V.     Renting Property to Student-Athletes

Staff members are not permitted to rent property to student-athletes or the student-athletes’ immediate family.  Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Associate Athletics Director/Compliance.

VI.   Personal Conduct and Responsibility

Members of the staff are expected to establish and maintain a standard of behavior that brings credit to themselves and to Kansas Athletics.  The following guidelines for personal conduct, while not all-inclusive, have been established for staff members:

1.      Act with judgment, discretion and integrity both on and off the job;
2.      Represent the University and Kansas Athletics with dedication, enthusiasm and loyalty;
3.      Treat all persons with courtesy, friendliness and respect for their personal dignity;
4.      Be mindful not to discriminate against any individual by reason of race, sex, creed, color, national origin, age, disability or sexual orientation;
5.      Dress appropriately in the office and on the field; and
6.      Maintain scheduled office hours throughout the year, including off-season periods and student vacation breaks.

In order to avoid an appearance of impropriety, coaches should never initiate contact with University faculty or staff regarding any student-athlete or potential student-athlete. Any contact regarding a student-athlete must be made through the Senior Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator or the Associate Athletics Director/Compliance.

Coaches and Kansas Athletics personnel have a direct and vital impact on the behavior, personal development, and quality of life of University students and student-athletes. Accordingly, coaches and staff should conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the University’s philosophy and be unwilling to compromise themselves, the University or Kansas Athletics.  (See Policy 101)  The primary efforts of staff members should be focused on meeting the goals and attending to the interests and well-being of the student-athlete.

Although specific responsibilities are described in individual job descriptions, general responsibilities are as follows:

·              Recruiting:  Coaching and Kansas Athletics staff members are to adhere to established recruiting guidelines, as stated in Policy 502A, and are not permitted to recruit student-athletes under false or misleading pretenses, or by offering inducements that are violations of any governing authority’s regulations.

·              Academic:  The primary objective of the athletics program is to help each student-athlete complete a degree within five (5) years.  Every effort is made by the University and Kansas Athletics to offer a program, based on Kansas Athletics, University, Conference and NCAA rules and regulations, which will achieve this objective.  Recognizing the importance of the educational experience, staff members are expected to contribute to the academic development of all student-athletes.  Guidelines for assisting student-athletes in fulfilling their academic requirements are specified in Policy 503A, Student-Athletes: Academic Policy, in this Manual.

·              Athletic:  The physical well-being of the student-athlete is of utmost concern to the University and Kansas Athletics in regards to developing training and coaching guidelines for the athletics program.  Rules for individual sports are established by the coaches, within the parameters set by Kansas Athletics, the University, the Conference and the NCAA.  Coaches are encouraged to formulate rules for team training that are feasible, based on the coaches’ and trainers’ experience and their professional judgment and that are tailored with the student-athlete’s individual situation.

·              Employment:  Athletic staff members should follow guidelines concerning outside employment and promotional activities, as delineated in Policy 603B, Coaches and Administrators: Outside Employment and Promotion Activities, in this Manual.  Further, employment agreements and contract negotiations are to be entered into with integrity, and employees are to abide by related employment guidelines, as specified in Policy 603A, Coaches and Administrators: Employment Contracts.

VII.  Crime Reporting Requirements

The policy of the Kansas Board of Regents and the University of Kansas mandates that all employees and employees of affiliated corporations, (i.e. Kansas Athletics) report to appropriate law enforcement agencies known or suspected criminal actions committed by or perpetrated against anyone in the KU community when such suspected actions occur on property owned or operated by the University or in conjunction with a University-sponsored event or activity.

  1. Abuse or Neglect of Minors:

When any employee has reason to suspect that a child under 18 years of age has been harmed as a result of sexual abuse, the employee shall report the matter promptly to an appropriate law enforcement agency, including either the KU Public Safety Office (KUPSO) or to local law enforcement officials, or both.

When any employee has reason to suspect that a child under 18 years of age has been harmed as a result of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect, the employee shall report the matter promptly to the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Kansas Protection Report Center at 1-800-922-5330. In the event of an emergency, immediately contact local law enforcement or call 911.

  1. Clery Crimes:

Pursuant to the Clery Act, employees who may be considered Campus Security Authorities are required to report certain crimes that occur on or around campus regardless of the age of the victim(s).   Crimes on or around the Lawrence campus, must be reported to the KUPSO at 911 or 785-864-5900, or the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs at 785-864-4060.

In addition, all employees are expected to contact the police when there is reason to believe a victim is in continuing danger and to encourage victims of crime to contact the police to file a police report.

The Director of Athletics, Coaches, and Athletics administrators with supervisory responsibility are considered Campus Security Authorities. The Clery Act requires Campus Security Authorities to report the following crimes: murder; sex offenses, forcible or non-forcible; robbery; aggravated assault; burglary; motor vehicle theft; manslaughter; arson; arrests or persons referred for campus disciplinary action for liquor law violations, drug-related violations, and weapons possession; and larceny-theft, simple assault, intimidation, and destruction, damage, or vandalism of property, and of other crimes involving bodily injury to any person, in which the victim is intentionally selected because of the actual or perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability of the victim (i.e., hate crimes).

Employees who do not report criminal activity as required by this Policy may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

VIII.          Sportsmanlike Conduct

Sportsmanship is an essential element of character-building and ethical conduct in sport. Coaches and staff are to act as positive role models by demonstrating sportsmanlike conduct. All Big 12 member institutions have “the responsibility to ensure that all university employees, students, and others in attendance at athletics events conduct themselves in a dignified manner and exhibit respect and courtesy towards game officials, other institutions and their employees, students (including student-athletes) and fans.”  (Big 12 Conference Rule 12.2.1)  Concerns “about Big 12 Conference programs, such as officiating, and about other member institutions must be addressed with the Conference’s governance structure and not in a public forum.” (Rule 12.2.2) Any public comments about officiating, whether negative or positive, are prohibited.  Established channels of communication and procedures for protesting an official’s ruling are to be followed by staff members.  The Big 12 rules also require that all coaches and student-athletes exhibit courtesy towards all game participants and only comment about other institutions, coaches and student-athletes in a positive manner. Kansas Athletics reserves the right to sanction any coach who does not follow the Big 12 conference rules.  Such sanctions may include fines, suspension, or termination.

Additionally, coaches and staff members are expected to formally instruct student-athletes on positive approaches to sportsmanlike conduct.  The Director of Athletics is charged with ensuring that all staff members, coaches and student-athletes are instructed in sportsmanship and conduct. (Rule 12.2.2)   “Coaches are expected to be role models and … must continually emphasize the need for sportsmanship.  Coaches have responsibility to control the behavior of their student-athletes and staff members to ensure they are demonstrating respect for their opponents, the game officials, and the game itself.”  (Rule 12.2.4)

IX.   Gambling and Bribery

In order for the Director of Athletics, the Head Coaches and Kansas Athletics staff to fulfill their responsibilities to educate student-athletes regarding illegal gambling and bribery, in accordance with NCAA guidelines (see Policy 501, Student-Athletes: Conduct and Ethics), the following comprehensive program exists:

1.      Counseling the student body and particularly student-athletes as to the seriousness of a gambling problem; (This includes a review of applicable federal, state and local laws, as well as the posting of informational literature in dormitories and locker rooms.)

2.      Informing students that they are required to report any solicitation of involvement in sports bribery or gambling activities, and that failure to do so may result in suspension or expulsion from the University;

3.      Educating squad members as to the nature and prevalence of gambling and bribery in intercollegiate sports; (To help student-athletes better understand the consequences of participating in illegal activities, Head Coaches are encouraged to review the plight of student-athletes who have become involved in gambling or bribery activities.)

4.      Implementing security measures to prevent potential bribers or gamblers from contacting student-athletes on campus, especially before major competitions; and

5.           Denying press credentials to representatives of any organization which regularly publishes or promotes the advertising of “tip sheets” or other materials used to encourage gambling on college athletic events.

X.     Agents

It is essential that coaches educate student-athletes regarding the NCAA rules related to professional sports and the consequences of rules infractions concerning agents.  (These rules are explained in detail in Policies 510, Student-Athletes: Agents.) Additionally, NCAA rules forbid a coach or other member of the athletics staff from representing, directly or indirectly, a student-athlete in the marketing of his or her athletic ability or reputation to a professional sports team or organization, and from receiving any compensation or gratuities for such activity.

XI.   Hazing

Hazing is defined at KU under the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities Article 22 A #2 as when an individual:

Engages in hazing of another person for the purpose of initiation or admission into, affiliation with, or continuation of membership in any organization operating under the sanction of the University.  Hazing includes, but is not limited to, any action, activity or situation which recklessly, negligently or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health, welfare or safety of a person, creates excessive fatigue, sleep deprivation, mental or physical discomfort, exposes a person to extreme embarrassment or ridicule, involves personal servitude, destroys or removes public or private property, or implicitly or explicitly interferes with the academic requirements or responsibilities of a student.  It is presumed that hazing is a forced activity regardless of the apparent willingness of an individual to participate in the activity. Apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not neutral; both are violations of this rule.

Endangering one’s mental health or mental discomfort may look like:

  • Yelling
  • Demeaning names
  • Lineups
  • Kidnapping
  • Blindfolds
  • Requiring embarrassing attire or activities involving nakedness
  • Embarrassing activities (scavenger hunts)

Endangering one’s physical health or physical discomfort may look like:

  • Tests of endurance
  • Consumption of alcohol or non-food substances, large amounts of water or other liquids
  • Exposing members to extreme weather conditions
  • Sleep Deprivation (early morning wake-ups, not allowing naps, specific bed times)
  • “Fountaining” (as admission or membership into a group, students are ‘placed’ in the fountain)

Personal servitude may look like:

  • Cleaning an active member’s room
  • Repeatedly running errands for an active member; including but not limited to, “wake-ups,” breakfast, pick-ups and drop-offs.
  • Carrying of equipment bags

The term “hazing” does not include an action sponsored by an institution of higher education which requires any athletic practice, conditioning or completion of curricular activity.

RIGHTS OF INITIATION MAY BE CONSIDERED HAZING.  Coaches or Staff members with any knowledge of hazing or initiation rituals must inform a sport supervisor of any acts that may be construed as hazing.

Penalties in cases of individual violators are outlined in the KU Student Handbook.  Organizations found to be encouraging or authorizing hazing may be subject to suspension or termination of activities, as well as any penalties pursuant to state or federal law.