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Making a Formal Complaint Against a Person(s)

June 13, 2017

In this week's brief, we will discuss the proper steps a person should take if one wishes to file a complaint against a person or persons representing an NAIA institution. In certain situations, we understand that a student, parent, or coach would wish to file a complaint against an employee from a member institution's athletic department or member institution.  Here in legislative services, we are here to help facilitate such concerns.

When Legislative Services is made aware of a complaint that one wishes to file, our first step is to advise the person to report the issue to the institution.  This is due to the fact that most concerns may be rectified more quickly between the person who has raised the concern and the member institution.  If a complaint is against a coach at a member institution, it would be advisable to reach out to someone in a leadership role within the institution (Athletics Director, Dean of Students, the President, etc.).

A common concerns raised by parents and students that we hear at the National Office often include concerns around playing time, reduction in scholarship (either from what was originally promised or a change in amount during the school year), concerns over the amount of practice or conditioning, and granting of transfer releases.  Our philosophy within the NAIA is to allow institutions to operate in a manner of autonomy in regards to any institutions policies and procedures.  Therefore, the National Office will allow institutions to address complaints that include athletic related playing time, practice, scholarships, or transfer releases unless the situation includes a direct violation of NAIA bylaws based on the policy they have set in place.

 

Going on Record and Submitting a Complaint

If one wishes to file a complaint with the National Office, we require the person(s) making the complaint to go on record.  Established NAIA policy dictates the NAIA does not accept anonymous or informal allegations. This policy was created in a manner intended to be fair to both sides of the complaint, including allowing the institution (or institutional personnel) implicated to know the nature and source of any allegations made against it.  This is in line with what is expected in a court of law.

When reviewing complaints, there are certain questions the National Office will be looking to answer; including:

-          Has the source of the complaint officially gone on record?

-          Has the person reached out to someone in a leadership role on the NAIA Institution to address the issue?

-          Has the person provided detailed documentation that includes names, dates, locations,  and the reason for the complaint?

-          Has an NAIA policy and/or bylaw actually been violated?

-          What additional supportive documentation should be included like email screen shoots, text screen shots, documents from the person being accused, etc.?

It is important to note that the National Office is not an investigative body.  Therefore, if there is evidence or people involved that would support the basis for the complaint, the person or persons raising the complaint must provide all evidence and statements to the National Office for review.  We will not reach out to additional people or seek to find additional evidence.

The Role of the National Office

When the National Office receives a complaint and believes a violation of the NAIA bylaws or Code of Ethics has occurred, the National Office will reach out to all parties involved, including the institution identified in the complaint.  The National Office will contact the institution with the statement on record and require the member institution to conduct an internal investigation into the allegations.  There is no timeline on how long an investigation can take, as all proper channels and resources must be fully exhausted before the case is sent to the proper committee for review.

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