U. of Iowa leader issues apology in athletics case

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012
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Gray oversaw Iowa's advising and counseling program for student-athletes, whom he had daily contact with at the Gerdin Athletic Learning Center.

Mason, who declined an interview request, said these next steps will occur:

— The university will review all hiring processes, starting with the athletics department, to ensure best practices in vetting applicants.

— The university will require supervisors of student-athlete advising services to report to the provost — the school's top academic official — and Barta for two years. Gray's position had reported to Fred Mims, associate director of athletics for student services and compliance. The internal report said a Gray supervisor, who wasn't named, had repeatedly admonished him for his inappropriate behavior in the workplace and local bars. Mims didn't return messages Friday.

— An internal audit will examine the operations of student-athlete advising services and compliance.

— Athletic counselors and advisers will be required to undergo additional sexual harassment training, beyond what is already mandated.

The statement said the university wouldn't discuss disciplinary actions taken against employees involved.

The case has received widespread attention, partly because it comes in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault scandal at Penn State University. Mason chairs the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, and she criticized Penn State's failures in the case and announced the conference's sanctions against the school in July.

Iowa professor N. William Hines, chairman of the Presidential Committee on Athletics, an oversight panel, praised Mason for making a definitive statement in response to growing public pressure.

"This hopefully will put some of the uncertainty to rest and we can go back to everyday life here," he said.

Hines said Mason's decision to choose the university's internal auditors to further investigate made sense, given their reputation for professionalism and fairness. But he said he was unsure whether the public would ever receive a full accounting of what happened with Gray's employment.

Iowa Board of Regents President Craig Lang expressed confidence in Mason's response.

"Her deep concern for the safety of students, faculty and staff, and her solid determination to identify answers and address the specific findings of this case will lead the University to the necessary conclusions," he said.