Campus Talk Haskell Indian Nations University Sports

Strengthening Haskell’s Integrity: Lessons learned from the 2012 Academic Investigation By Timothy Barber

 

In a 2012 report Haskell had been involved in an academic fraud case involving the Haskell athletic department during 2007 season, what has Haskell done to prevent this from occurring again?

The Report

Shaun Hittle, reporter for LJWorld.Com, wrote in January of 2013 that an “investigative report from the U.S. Department of Education about Haskell shows instances of academic fraud in the athletic department dating back to 2007.”

Hittle also describes how the DOE report does not include names of Haskell employees, but includes these violations.

  • Fraudulent ACT scores: Two student athletes, a football player in 2008 and another football player in 2010, submitted falsified ACT scores to remain eligible to play sports.
  • Fraudulent College Course and Academic Transcripts: A basketball player in 2007 received an “A” for a course the student had not enrolled in until the last week of classes.
  • Improper Payment of College Courses by Athletic Staff: On several occasions, Athletic dept. employees or volunteers paid for community college courses for student athletes whose eligibility was in question. Student athletes were able to remain eligible by completing a course through an online college after they had failed Haskell courses.

These violations led to several forfeitures of football and basketball games because of ineligible players.

Dr. Venida Chenault, President of Haskell (not the President of Haskell at the time of the investigation) describes how the academic processing for student athletes has changed. “NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) has a whole system set up where students have to register as student athletes,” says Dr. Chenault while also stating how Haskell “used to take copies of transcripts, now we only accept official transcripts, and transcripts have to also be officially submitted.”

In regards to the employees involved in the scandal Dr. Chenault states that “we took full disciplinary action on each employee.” Dr. Chenault also believes “we created a higher expectation for compliance.”

LouEdith Hara, H.I.N.U Registrar, says there is a “better job on focusing on classes and the institutions student athletes are attending.” Hara also states how “we try to be more diligent with our practices.” Hara disclosed how the registrar office “doesn’t let anyone handle files.”

Coach Joe Bointy described the eligibility process for student athletes as having to have “a higher GPA score than required to attend Haskell, graduated at the upper half of their high school class, and to have graduated with at least a 2.0.” Coach Bointy also said if an athlete meets “two out of three in these they’ll be eligible immediately.”

Robert Roehl, sophomore, said “It’s terrible we put in all this effort to be real college students while these athletes basically cheated.” Regarding the athletic dept. Roehl stated, “it makes me not want to be an athlete here at Haskell, because of how it could affect my reputation.”

Because of all the infractions that occurred with the DOE report, Haskell’s athletics programs were all put on probation by the NAIA for two years from 2012-2014. Since then only one Haskell team has been suspended from post season competition which was not due to academics. That occurred in May of 2016 when the Women’s Cross Country team “did not meet its obligations for team participation in competition” according to a media release from the Haskell President. The team was suspended from competing in post season competition in 2016.

Since then, no academic violations have occurred with the stringent practices in place although some athletes might find it harder to be declared eligible sooner as Haskell makes sure they are in compliance with everything in the NAIA.

 

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