IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa can fire head volleyball coach Bond Shymansky for breaking any NCAA rule that involves “fraud, dishonesty, moral turpitude, violence or conflict of interest or commission of a crime,” according to the coach’s contract.
Shymansky, named head coach in 2014, is on a 30-day paid leave for what athletics director Gary Barta on Monday called “significant” and “serious” NCAA violations.
Barta won’t say what Shymansky is alleged to have done, only that a former student-athlete told officials May 1 the coach had broken NCAA rules. The violations, reported to the NCAA on Monday, likely would be Level 1 or Level 2 violations, Barta said.
Level 1 is a severe breach of conduct, according to a four-level violation structure the NCAA has had in place since 2013. These are violations that “seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA collegiate model ... including any violation that provides or is intended to provide a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage.”
Level 1 violations include academic fraud, failure to cooperate with an NCAA investigation, lack of institutional control, unethical or dishonest conduct or responsibility of a head coach resulting from a Level 1 violation by a student-athlete within the sport, the NCAA reported.
Level 2 violations, described as a significant breach of conduct, “provide more than a minimal but less than substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage.” Level 2 violations include systemic violations that do not rise to the level of lack of institutional control or failure to monitor violations.
The UI hired law firm Bond, Shoeneck & King, with offices in Syracuse, N.Y., and Kansas City, to investigate the allegations against Shymansky. The firm’s website says its collegiate sports practice is the “nation’s premier practice group for the representation of colleges and universities in NCAA rules compliance, eligiblity and infractions matters.”
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A May 4 letter released to The Gazette Wednesday says the primary attorney, Jason Montgomery, will be paid $280 an hour, while other staff who may assist will be paid $140 an hour to $445 an hour.
The Gazette sent a request for information to the NCAA, but did not immediately hear back on Tuesday. Attempts to reach Shymansky also were unsuccessful.
The UI on Tuesday denied The Gazette’s request for emails or other communications between Shymansky and other officials about the alleged NCAA violations, saying the documents were confidential personnel records under Iowa Code Chapter 22.
Shymansky’s 2017 contract, which goes through 2022, notes he is paid a $215,000 annual base salary, up from $165,000 in his 2014 contract. He has the potential to earn extra pay, such as $5,000 if his team’s GPA is at least a 3.2, $5,000 for doing four required media appearances and $30,000 for winning the Big Ten regular season title.
If Shymansky still is employed on June 30 of each year of the contract, he gets a retention bonus. This year’s bonus is $15,000.
But the contract also spells out what happens if the UI wants to fire Shymansky. If they terminate the coach without cause, they have to pay him $200,000 for each year left on his contract, or a maximum of $600,000.
If Barta determines Shymansky violated the terms of the contract, UI policies, Big Ten or NCAA rules, “disciplinary actions including suspension, suspension without pay and termination may be taken,” the contract states.
Before firing Shymansky, the UI must give him a 30-day written notice about why he’s being fired and an “informal opportunity” to rebut the allegations. Shymansky’s contract notes he may challenge a termination before an arbitration panel.
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“University shall bear the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation occurred,” the contract reads. “This process is in lieu of any other University grievance procedure that might be available to coach.”
Shymansky, an Iowa City native and UI graduate, coached the volleyball team to a 78-82 record in five seasons, including 15-16 last season. Vicki Brown, who had been an assistant volleyball coach, will serve as interim head coach through Shymansky’s suspension.
Barta said Monday he could not say whether the alleged NCAA violations are connected to recruiting, money or anything else. He did say he was confident no other UI employees or student-athletes were involved. Law enforcement is not involved.
“(Our motto is) Win, Graduate, Do It Right,” Barta said Monday. “Clearly in this case, (Shymansky) came up short in ‘Do It Right.’”
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