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Q: What is the obligation of a job candidate to disclose sensitive background information?

A:  In the highly sensitive media environment of collegiate athletics programs, we must re-examine our beliefs about the obligations of job candidates to disclose personal and professional information that has a direct relationship to integrity issues.    Media and institutional reputation risks are simply too high to do otherwise. Whether queried by a third party search firm, the athletic director, members of a search committee or even the president of the university, the candidate should be prepared to disclose the following information:

  • accuracy of credentials
  • past instances of professional discipline
  • any issues of past employment misconduct
  • history of involvement in NCAA rules violations
  • involvement in civil or criminal lawsuits that could be related to issues of professional integrity or judgment
  • disclosure of misdemeanor violations on the public record that could be related to professional integrity or judgment

Normally, the institution is required to ask for the candidate’s permission to conduct a background check and to contact references and previous employers, which should be readily granted.  However, the extent to which the candidate is willing to voluntarily disclose and address these issues is an indication of that individual’s professional integrity and understanding of the sensitivity of athletics programs.

Excerpted from:  Lopiano, D.A. and Zotos, C. (Publication 2014) The Athletics Director’s Desk Reference. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 12.00