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Southern has Problems Facing NCAA Deadline

BATON ROUGE, La. — Southern University has paperwork problems and gender equity issues as the school faces a deadline next week on its review for NCAA rules compliance, university officials say.

“We think we’re in pretty good shape,” Athletic Director Greg LaFleur told board members during a meeting last Friday, after fall Commencement. “There’s a couple things we need to clean up here and there.”

Outgoing board Chairman Tony Clayton says the university’s initial report to the NCAA was “woefully lacking” and that people are having to make up for lost time and poor record keeping. But he says he expects Southern to maintain NCAA certification.

According to Clayton, Southern’s gender equity issues revolve around plans to build new baseball facilities next year before the same is done for the women’s softball team.

Southern Associate Provost Jacqueline Howard-Matthews, who is chairing the certification committee, says LaFleur was not being forthcoming about all the problems. She says the school has “serious issues” with gender equity rules and a lack of academic support for its athletes.

Howard-Matthews says there are only two employees providing support for student athletes — and one has other duties — for about 350 student athletes.

“That is going to get us serious problems with the NCAA,” she says.

The NCAA requires all of its Division I institutions to conduct a self-study every 10 years on issues such as governance, academic integrity and gender equity issues.

LaFleur says the paperwork issues stem from the school’s compliance officer having other responsibilities — and the fact that compliance is not her area of expertise. The previous compliance officer left two years ago and Southern has been unable to obtain state approval to hire another, he says.

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