LITTLE ROCK — The Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday approved a $48,870 contract for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to hire a firm to answer additional questions NCAA has about the school’s academic compliance its sports program.

UAPB Interim Chancellor Calvin Johnson said the university needed immediate approval of the contract because the NCAA wants the compliance audit completed and to them by the end of this month.

Failure to get the addition information to the NCAA could mean additional penalties and sanctions, Johnson said.

"I’ve been consulted by the university and they are being required to do an emergency compliance audit," Rep. Hank Wilkins, D-Pine Bluff, said during the Joint Budget meeting.

Last summer, the NCAA banned the university’s basketball team from post season play this year for failing to meet academic standards. In September, the NCAA ordered an independent compliance audit of academic progress by the school’s student-sthetes. The NCAA said the compliance audit was independent of the sanctions.

UAPB is appealing those sanctions.

Johnson told the committee that UAPB answered all of the NCAA’s question in the compliance audit request last year but the NCAA wants additional information.

"There were some (answers) they were not satisfied with," Johnson said.

In response to a question, UAPB Athletic Director Lonza Hardy Jr. said the original NCAA audit covered 2007 through 2010 and looked at "continuing eligibility matters of students athletes."

"The second review is dealing with initial eligibility matters of student athletes as they are recruited into the athletics program," he said. "That was not covered under the first (audit) that was conducted."