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Mashuda does a tough job well

MURFREESBORO – The secret to being successful at a tough job is to do it well.

Chowan University Compliance Director Pat Mashuda is busy doing just that.

In his second year in charge of compliance for the Chowan University Athletic Department, Mashuda’s job isn’t an easy one and not one that just anyone could handle.

&uot;Pat has become a friendly police officer,&uot; Hawks Athletic Director Dennis Helsel said. &uot;He has one of the toughest jobs in the world because he has to say ‘no’ a lot.

&uot;Pat has got to be able to tell a coach ‘no’ and make them feel good about it,&uot; he continued. &uot;The good thing about Pat is he is a good compliance person because he will try to take the concept the coach has and make that happen.&uot;

Helsel explained that sometimes a specific issue may violate NCAA rules, but the concept can be completed in a different way, well within the guidelines. He said good compliance officers help coaches stay within the rules and still be successful and that Mashuda is in that mold.

&uot;Bad compliance people say no and tell you to go away,&uot; Helsel said. &uot;Good compliance coordinators say no, but let’s look at ways you can do this legally and work on it together.&uot;

Until last year, compliance was a fairly small issue at Chowan, but as the school’s athletic department makes the jump from the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III ranks to a full-fledge member of Division II, compliance is a key issue.

Every single athlete on the campus of Chowan University has to go through the NCAA Clearinghouse before they can participate in athletics at the school.

&uot;In Division III, if you meet the admissions standards of the college, you’re eligible,&uot; Mashuda explained. &uot;At Division II, you have to go through the clearinghouse. That creates issues and questions for our student-athletes.&uot;

In addition to working to get those students through the clearinghouse and onto the playing field, Mashuda has to track all financial aid given for every student-athlete at Chowan. That tracking is not just for athletic scholarships, but all financial aid offered, including Pell Grants, Stafford Loans and any other type of aid student-athletes receive.

In all, Chowan has nearly 300 student-athletes on campus participating in sports from football to cross country.

&uot;Anyone on a roster gets tracked even if they subsequently leave the team,&uot; Mashuda said.

The goal then becomes a moving target for the compliance officer as college rosters are constantly updated.

While he was busy during the month of August working with the clearinghouse for more than 100 football players plus those who make up the women’s soccer team, men’s soccer team and volleyball squad, now he spends most of his time cleaning up any problems.

Two key issues Mashuda has addressed are working to make students knowledgeable about eligibility requirements and providing a rules education class.

When he talks about the job of the compliance officer, Mashuda picks up a two inch thick notebook of NCAA regulations and indicates that’s his guide book.

While he’s quick to point out he doesn’t know all the rules outlined there, he does have a process.

&uot;It’s unrealistic to think as you go through the process you’re going to know everything,&uot; he said. &uot;You try to have procedures in place to identify the issues you’re facing.

&uot;The NCAA knows that no one is perfect, but what they want is a system in place to know you are trying to catch as many things as you can,&uot; he added.

For his part, Helsel said having all the coaches and trainers at Chowan working together with Mashuda on the issue is what will make it go better.

&uot;When you have coaches and trainers going into the manual and then going to the compliance officer, you have a team mentality,&uot; Helsel said. &uot;We need coaches to look up problems for themselves and then bring it to Pat. If the compliance officer is the only one in the athletic department concerned about compliance, you’re doomed to fail.&uot;

Mashuda agreed with the assessment.

&uot;The coaches are vital in this,&uot; he said. &uot;They’re a good group of people that make it a priority to help educate kids and do things the right way.&uot;

Helsel and Mashuda both said they feel compliance is a key issue as the school makes the transition from D-III to D-II.

&uot;It’s critical,&uot; Helsel said. &uot;The NCAA expects your program to identify shortcomings or challenges. If you have a good system in place, it means you are reporting yourself.&uot;

Helsel said he felt that the NCAA gives specific guidelines for the spirit of rules, but a good compliance officer gives more than strict interpretations.

&uot;A good compliance coordinator brings back to the forefront the ethical ideas that no team has an unfair advantage except on the playing field,&uot; Helsel said. &uot;You not only worry about the rule, but the concept.&uot;

Mashuda is also the women’s basketball coach at Chowan University and has posted two winning seasons in as many years at the helm.

Helsel said he felt Mashuda did a good job of balancing the two.

&uot;He has to juggle two things with compliance and being a head coach,&uot; the AD said. &uot;He has to keep those two jobs distinct.&uot;

Another key to Mashuda’s success is a direct link to university president Dr. Chris White.

&uot;Pat has a direct link to the president because the athletic department ultimately falls under the president,&uot; Helsel said. &uot;I firmly believe that if I was doing something wrong, Pat would go to the president. That has to be. Pat can’t be somebody who doesn’t have that link to the president.&uot;

Mashuda, who is the school’s first compliance director, has already laid the foundation to make the school successful during the transition.