COEUR d'ALENE — North Idaho College on Monday announced an investigation into alleged academic policy violations in its sports program.
"The (preliminary) results of the investigation indicate that, while there have been academic policy violations related to the athletics program, the investigation thus far has determined this is an isolated, relational-based issue and not systemic," NIC President Rick MacLennan wrote in a memo to the college community.
"Because this situation involves specific personnel issues and actions, I am restricted on what I can share, but as president of North Idaho College, I have a duty to be as forthright and transparent with our college community regarding actions being taken to bring accountability to this matter."
Laura Rumpler, NIC's chief communications and government relations officer, said the alleged violations pertain to NIC's academic integrity policy that includes honesty and other values. The policy applies to all faculty, staff, students and administrators.
The policy states: "Violations of academic integrity involve using or attempting to use any method that enables an individual to misrepresent the quality or integrity of his or her work at NIC. Violations of the Academic Integrity policy include facilitating academic dishonesty (such as knowingly helping another to attempt to violate any provisions of the policy)."
Rumpler said she couldn't specify which program or programs within the Athletic Department are involved in the investigation. She added that the investigation has nothing to do with the health and safety of students.
"It's very narrow in focus," she said.
MacLennan said the college will release more information about the investigation as it can.
"I ask that you honor the privacy and dignity of those involved and refrain from giving any credibility to rumors …" he wrote to college employees.
Rumpler said the investigation was launched last fall. It's being brought forth now due to the amount of evidence that has surfaced, she said.
"There has been substantial work thus far and it's ongoing," she said.
As a result of the investigation, MacLennan wrote that he has changed the athletic department’s structure to improve accountability.
Athletic Director Al Williams will begin reporting to Vice President of Student Services Graydon Stanley and the Athletics Department will be administered under the Student Services Division. Rumpler said Williams "fully supports" the investigation.
"Al will be assuming more of the day-to-day, hands-on leadership of the athletic program," Rumpler said. "The support of Student Services will allow him to fulfill all of his duties. That model is not unique."
Previously, Williams had been reporting to MacLennan.
Rumpler said the initial concern that sparked the investigation came through the academic and student services side of the college.