IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa has agreed to pay an outside lawyer $280 per hour for help investigating serious NCAA violations uncovered in its women’s volleyball program, according to a letter released Tuesday.
The university hired the law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King on May 4, three days after a former player came forward with allegations that coach Bond Shymansky had violated NCAA rules, its engagement letter shows.
Athletic director Gary Barta reported the violations to the NCAA on Monday after a two-week investigation by the firm, calling them significant but declining to release details. He also put Shymansky on administrative leave in accordance with his contract, which requires a 30-day written notice if the university moves to fire him for cause.
The letter shows that the law firm was hired for “review, evaluation and counsel regarding potential NCAA rules violations.” Jason Montgomery in the firm’s Overland Park, Kansas office, who specializes in NCAA enforcement and compliance matters, is the primary attorney and is charging $280 per hour. Montgomery declined to comment Tuesday. Other attorneys and paralegals charging between $140 and $445 per hour may also be assigned to work on the matter.
Barta said the firm’s investigation has found that no other players or staff members were aware of or participated in the violations, which he said involved crossing a line that every coach should know not to cross.
Shymansky, who has been credited with reviving a once-struggling program during his five-year tenure at Iowa, has not returned messages from The Associated Press seeking comment. Assistant coach Vicki Brown has been named interim head coach.
Big money is potentially at stake in the outcome of the NCAA inquiry and the resolution of Shymansky’s contract, which runs through 2022 and pays a base annual salary of $215,000.
The university could face fines, reductions in scholarships or other sanctions from the NCAA.
In addition, firing Shymansky without cause would force the university to pay a $600,000 buyout. If the university fires him for cause, Shymansky would not be owed any money but could challenge his termination through an arbitration hearing in which Iowa would have to prove violations occurred.
Leaving voluntarily would be an expensive proposition for the coach: He would be required to pay Iowa $300,000 in damages, his contract shows. Shymansky, an Iowa graduate, had coached at Marquette and Georgia Tech before Iowa hired him in 2014.