Education

University of Iowa pays $35,000 so far for volleyball coach probe

Kansas City-area law firm handled initial investigation of Bond Shymansky, still working with UI Athletics

University of Iowa Volleyball Coach Bond Shymansky expresses frustrations with his team during a November 2015 game. The UI and the NCAA has been investigating Shymansky for a violation of NCAA rules. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
University of Iowa Volleyball Coach Bond Shymansky expresses frustrations with his team during a November 2015 game. The UI and the NCAA has been investigating Shymansky for a violation of NCAA rules. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa Athletics Department has paid nearly $35,000 to a Kansas City-area law firm whose investigation of former Head Volleyball Coach Bond Shymansky ended in the coach’s firing.

Shymansky was fired in June for “providing an impermissible benefit” to a student-athlete, a major NCAA violation, the UI reported.

Shymansky has said he helped a volleyball player pay for her rent in the summer of 2017 when she learned she was not on full scholarship and had trouble covering expenses.

The NCAA now is doing its own investigation, which could result in sanctions for Shymansky or the university.

Steve Roe, UI Athletics Department spokesman, said this week the university has submitted all materials to the NCAA in the case and is waiting for a response.

J.D. Hartung, a Des Moines attorney representing Shymansky, said the investigation is ongoing but could not comment further.

Bond, Schoeneck & King, with offices in Overland Park, Kan., and Syracuse, N.Y., billed the UI $34,741 through Sept. 6 for its probe of allegations reported by a student-athlete May 1. The UI announced May 20 Shymansky would be put on a 30-day paid leave during the investigation.

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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, eligibility and infractions matters.”

The invoices, which The Gazette obtained through an open records request, do not say how many hours of work was provided as part of the investigation or which attorneys did the work. A May 4 letter detailing the contract said primary attorney, Jason Montgomery, would be paid $280 an hour, while other staff who may assist would be paid $140 to $445 an hour.

The UI may get further bills from Bond, Schoeneck & King, which continues to work with the university through the NCAA infraction resolution process.

“I don’t have a timetable, but (it’s) not a complete process at this point,” Roe said in an email.

How long the NCAA investigation takes may hinge on whether Shymansky and the UI can agree on a resolution. The NCAA’s infraction process can take one of three tracks:

• In a negotiated resolution, both parties agree on the facts, level of violation and penalty. There is no opportunity to appeal.

• In a summary disposition track, parties agree on facts and level of violation, but not necessarily penalty. The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions reads reports from both sides and decides on a penalty.

• Infractions can go to a hearing if the accused party challenges the infraction allegations.

UI Athletics Director Gary Barta said in June that Shymansky’s violation was likely Level 1 or Level 2 on the NCAA’s four-tier structure. In a June statement, Shymansky acknowledged the violation and apologized for breaking one of the Athletics Department’s goals to “do it right.”

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“I am prepared to accept whatever sanction is deemed appropriate by the NCAA,” he said in June.

Shymansky, an Iowa City native and UI graduate, was named the Iowa head coach in 2014. Vicki Brown, who served as an assistant under Shymansky, was named permanent head coach in September.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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