LINCOLN — As compliance director for Kansas State's athletic department, Jamie Vaughn had a secure job and supportive boss in a major conference.
So why make the jump to replace the retiring Gary Bargen at Nebraska?
“Nebraska's one of the elite programs in the country,” Vaughn said in an interview Wednesday. “Only a few institutions have the ability and resources to stay on top of everything. They employ far more people than Kansas State. Look at the operating budget.”
More staff. More sports. As much as Vaughn said he liked KSU, the Wayne State College graduate wasn't going to say no to NU, especially after a tour of the department.
“The word ‘integrity' is all over their facilities,” said Vaughn, whose official title at Nebraska will be associate athletic director of compliance. “It's something they take very seriously.”
Said Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne: “Jamie has been a productive and successful member of several strong athletic departments around the country, and he is held in high regard in his field.”
Vaughn will take over in mid-July after the retirement of Bargen, who joined the compliance department after nine years as a basketball assistant for Danny Nee.
Bargen had been director since 1999. Vaughn said he was impressed with Bargen's staff and the department's commitment to compliance. He couldn't speculate about any changes he might make. Nebraska's website shows six full-time employees in compliance, plus an intern.
“I'm not going in with any preconceived notions,” he said.
Before his three years at Kansas State, Vaughn spent two years in the same role at Texas Tech, and three years in an assistant compliance role at Ohio State. He worked at New Mexico State and Wayne State, as well.
The Buckeyes' compliance department came under scrutiny last year because of NCAA violations that led to coach Jim Tressel's resignation and the departure of quarterback Terelle Pryor. Vaughn said OSU compliance had transparency and strong administrative support while he was there.
At KSU, he overhauled the compliance department, which conducted several investigations involving the Wildcats' basketball program. In December 2010, starters Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly were suspended for receiving discounted clothing from a local department store.
And in 2012, starter Jamar Samuels was suspended before a second-round NCAA tournament after the school learned he'd been wired $200 from his former AAU coach. Kansas State Athletic Director John Currie said at the time that someone found Samuels' discarded wire receipt in a grocery store trash can and turned it in.
KSU coach Frank Martin was critical of the suspension, and the Wildcats lost to Syracuse in the game. Martin's now the coach at South Carolina.
“Those types of situations can happen on every campus,” Vaughn said Wednesday. “Secondary violations occur across the board. We handled the situation the way that we'd discussed we would if it had ever come up.”
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