DSU declines Delaware State News’ FOIA request

DOVER — One month after arriving in electronic mailboxes throughout the Delaware State University community, the source of an accusatory email regarding athletic department operations remains a mystery.

On Friday the school said there no update on what officials described in late September as a criminal investigation.

After the unsubstantiated message alleging football-related NCAA violations was transmitted to students and other DSU community members, the school immediately described it as “containing inaccuracies regarding a University employee” and urged recipients to disregard the message.

While the NCAA said at the time that it releases major violation case information publicly — its database included none against DSU — the organization said schools control information regarding Level III/secondary violations if there are any.

Other than the email reference to “inaccuracies regarding a University employee,” DSU would not specifically address many of the allegations this week, maintaining that it’s not required legally to inform the public about secondary violations involving its athletic department.

Delaware_State_University_sealDSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said Friday that no players have been declared ineligible by the NCAA this season.

On Monday, DSU declined a Delaware State News Freedom of Information Act request for data on any NCAA violations or sanctions involving its athletic program in the past two years, if applicable. The request was filed on Oct. 3 and answered 15 business days later, as required by state law.

Describing the university as a “quasi-state agency under Delaware law,” DSU General Counsel David K. Sheppard reasoned that “Delaware’s FOIA has limited applicability to the University.

“Because of its particularized treatment, the University has an obligation to provide the public with information and/or documentation only under certain circumstances, such as when a given request relates to the expenditure of public funds.

“In this case, however, your requests do not fall within one of the categories requiring production under FOIA. Consequently, the University is not obligated and respectfully declines to provide the documentation requested in your email of Oct. 3, 2016.”

A claim in the anonymous email that the University and an athletic administrator were defendants in a lawsuit resembled a five-page action filed in U.S. District Court on June 23. The case alleging improper termination of a graduate assistant in the Academic Services Department was amended to nine pages on Sept. 13.

New compliance director

On Oct. 11, DSU announced that Alecia Shields-Gadson had been appointed as the new University Associate Athletics Director for Compliance. The former compliance director left for another job, the university said.

According to a news release, the new director, “will be responsible for implementing a comprehensive compliance program within the Delaware State Athletics Department.

“She will head the day-to-day operations of the Office of Compliance, which monitors the institution’s adherence to NCAA legislation involving issues in recruiting, initial and continuing eligibility, athletics grant-in-aid, awards and inducements, and Title IX.

“Shields-Gadson will also serve as a Deputy Title IX Officer and a member of the Equity Resolution Panel for the DSU campus.”

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