Best Practices to Enhance a University’s Compliance Program, Part I [Higher-Ed/College Athletics Best Practices Alert (First Quarter 2014)]

Author: Michael L. Buckner, Esquire (Shareholder)

A world-class compliance program permits colleges and universities to monitor and affect decision making to achieve desired outcomes. Further, an effective compliance program reflects the legal and regulatory scheme in which a university must operate. Buckner begins an ongoing series exploring best practices that can be implemented to improve the effectiveness of a university compliance program.

The measures discussed below can be used by an institution to boost efforts to comply with NCAA legislation, federal law, state statutes or other requirements:

  1. Characterize the compliance program as a priority of the university that is implemented and monitored by a unit or an administrator that is: provided adequate administrative autonomy (which includes direct access to the university’s chief executive officer and governing board); not ignored by other departments; invested with sufficient authority; and provided adequate resources.
  2. Perform an assessment to determine the university’s risk profile, so that compliance resources, efforts and staff can be devoted to the most significant risks (and which avoids the institution using a disproportionate amount of time policing low risk areas).
  3. Develop or purchase technological tools or resources that can assist the institution with gathering data, monitoring compliance efforts and measuring the effectiveness of policies and procedures.
  4. Tailor the compliance education and training program to meet the specific needs of university constituencies.
  5. Communicate a clear and consistent message concerning the university’s compliance expectations from the university president and governing board to university constituencies.
  6. Develop compliance policies, procedures and codes that: are clear, concise and accessible to all applicable university constituencies; include how the institution will execute, communicate, implement, monitor the compliance measures; and hold persons accountable for the compliance program.

Sources: “Viewing Your Anti-Corruption Efforts Through the Lens of the Hallmarks of an Effective Compliance Program,” Protiviti, available at: (visited Jan. 16, 2014); “Key best practices for boosting compliance identified,” Bureau van Dijk, available at: (visited Jan. 16, 2014).

Contact Michael L. Buckner (954-941-1844; for additional information on compliance program best practices.