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Ohio State hires chief of compliance

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Ohio State has hired Gates Garrity-Rokous, former chief compliance officer for GE Capital America’s compliance program, as the university’s new chief of compliance Thursday.
Geoff Chatas, senior vice president and chief financial officer at OSU, said in a university release Garrity-Rokous will work to “strengthen a culture that encourages ethical conduct and compliance with the laws and regulations applicable to the university and to monitor policy and program effectiveness.”
OSU spokesman Jim Lynch said in an email Garrity-Rokous’ salary is $390,000.
With more than 17 years of experience in the health care and financial services industries, Garrity-Rokous is set to begin Sept. 24.
The program was created February of this year, following the 2011 “tattoo-gate” scandal, which led to the resignation of football coach Jim Tressel, the departure of former Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor and a list of NCAA sanctions which included a one-year bowl ban and vacated all wins in the 2010 season.
The Lantern reported in June that the scandal cost the university about $8 million.
When news of the scandal broke in December 2010, the university hired The Compliance Group, based in Lenexa, Kan., which “provides an array of quality and cost-effective compliance services to intercollegiate athletics departments and conference offices.”
According to a June Lantern article, the total cost of hiring The Compliance Group was almost $300,000.
The university Board of Trustees approved a plan in February to merge the athletic compliance office, and other areas of compliance, creating one university-wide system called the Office of University Compliance and Integrity. The Board unanimously approved the plan, and spent months on an internal review, advising and research totaling more than $500,000 according to a June Lantern article.
A press release stated that the program would be responsible “for streamlining the university policy-making process, administering a university-wide compliance training program and developing a compliance monitoring program.”
Some students like Eric Humphreys, a third-year in logistics, said that while the money spent on the new hire seems like a lot, it will likely pay off in the long run. Humphreys noted that the football program brings in money for the university and that Garrity-Rokous’ new role could help establish better compliance for the program.
“I really think that $390,000 really isn’t that big a deal when you have somebody that’s going to take care of that and oversee that and hopefully stop and prevent something like (Tattoo-gate) from happening again,” Humphreys said. “I think it’s a good thing for the school.”
Others agreed but said the nearly $400,000 salary was a little steep.
“I think if he can avoid Tattoo-gate kind of scenarios, then ideally he should pay for himself in no time,” said Craig Stieff, a third-year in anthropology and international relations. “But $400,000 a year, that’s a lot, but I don’t know him and I don’t know exactly what he’s done so far.”
Christopher Culley, senior vice president and general counsel at the university, said OSU is looking to create an effective compliance model that would serve as an example for other institutions.
“With this hire and the creation of the new compliance office, the university is underscoring that at Ohio State, integrity is paramount in all that we do,” he said.
Dan Hope contributed to this article.

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