Jamie Cox sacked from SACA position
Jamie Cox has become the first major victim of Cricket Australia's recently strengthened integrity unit, dismissed from his role as South Australian Cricket Association's general manager, high performance after the SACA was made aware of an investigation into his recruitment activities.
According to a SACA statement, Cox was fired after failing to comply with its code of conduct, by supposedly violating the Big Bash League player-recruitment regulations. CA's integrity unit is currently investigating recruitment activities carried out by SA and its BBL team the Adelaide Strikers during the BBL embargo period.
Keith Bradshaw, SACA's chief executive, said the association had followed up a visit by the CA integrity unit with its own investigations, including checks on telephone and email communications made by Cox.
"We were visited by the CA integrity unit [on Tuesday], they interviewed myself and Jamie Cox and alerted us to the fact there was an investigation they were undertaking regarding some possible breaches of BBL guidelines," Bradshaw said. "We've co-operated with them fully throughout the process and that inquiry is still ongoing.
"At the same time because I was obviously concerned to hear that news from the integrity unit, we initiated a review of our own, forensic work in terms of electronic communications and the like. We also interviewed several staff, one of which was Jamie, I have to say too that he co-operated with us fully and honestly.
"Then it became apparent there were some serious breaches of our own policies, procedures and standards. So I was really in a position on Friday to call a board meeting and I reported those breaches to the board. The recommendation that followed of course was dismissal."
Last year Cox was among numerous SACA staff warned about abiding by recruiting guidelines after the state was fined $15,000 for making "improper" approaches in an attempt to lure the young legspinner James Muirhead away from Victoria.
"That was certainly taken into consideration because we did incur a fine, which we were very disappointed in," Bradshaw said. "We certainly made it very clear to people who were involved in that particular incident to reinforce the rules and regulations that needed to to be complied with. So yes that did come into consideration when we were deliberating on Jamie.
"From my perspective and from SACA's perspective I have an expectation that they will be complied with 100%. That's a message I'll be reinforcing to all my staff, that applies to myself and to everyone who works here."
CA's integrity policies and procedures were the subject of a review undertaken by the former AFL executive Adrian Anderson last year, leading to the creation of a separate integrity unit within CA in December. The new unit was placed in the hands of the governing body's senior legal counsel Iain Roy.
BBL recruiting has been an area of considerable disquiet for sometime, with accusations of salary cap breaches commonly slung between teams while the bundling of BBL and state deals to attract players has been a common, though technically forbidden, practice.
In April, four BBL teams - the Melbourne Stars, Melbourne Renegades, Perth Scorchers and Brisbane Heat - were fined by CA for failing to complete their contract reporting duties. Their $10,000 sanctions will now appear minor next to the removal of Cox, an outcome noted by CA.
"Cricket Australia (CA) acknowledges the admissions made this evening by the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA)," A CA spokesman said. "In doing so CA confirms that its integrity unit is investigating the SACA for potential breaches of CA regulations relating to the contracting of Big Bash League players ahead of BBL04.
"The CA Integrity Unit will hold further meetings with SACA officials next week to further investigate the matter. No further comment will be provided until that time."
Bradshaw said he expected the CA investigation to conclude by the end of the month, but could not comment on what further sanctions may be imposed or whether other members of the SACA's high performance department, including the coach Darren Berry, will be implicated.
Cox was appointed South Australia's high performance manager in July 2008, and was also on the national selection panel from 2006 to 2011. He is yet to speak publicly about his dismissal or whether he intends to dispute the SACA's decision.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig