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Oklahoma State University tightens travel rules for employees

by Silas Allen Published: December 1, 2012

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, questions arose about how the university's travel policy applied to coaches. OSU officials said the university's team travel policy didn't apply to coaches. But a section of the previous policy that appeared to deal specifically with coaches and athletic department staff traveling without students listed a requirement that aircraft be “powered by two or more turbine engines” — a requirement Branstetter's single-engine plane didn't meet.

Clark said a 2004 amendment to the team travel policy made it clear that policy didn't apply to coaches traveling without students. But a contradictory provision was left in the policy, he said. So although the language in the policy was ambiguous, university officials enforced it in the way they'd intended, including before last year's fatal flight.

“That particular flight was not in violation of the policy as it existed at the time,” he said. “Coaches' travel was to be done at the coaches' discretion.”

During the review process, members of the committee looked at other travel policies at peer universities. Officials drew a great deal on policies from the University of Arkansas. But otherwise, other universities' policies didn't offer much guidance, said Regent Doug Burns, a member of the committee. OSU's new policy is far more comprehensive than the ones in place elsewhere, he said.

“Most of them really don't have much of one,” he said. “Ours does not go overboard, but it certainly addresses lots of things.”

The school also revised its travel policy after the Jan. 27, 2001, plane crash that killed two basketball players and eight others associated with the university.

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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