Transforming Rules-Compliance Programs to Address High-Profile Athlete and Sports Agent Issues
The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm Presents Collegiate Administration Best Practices
The recent infractions cases and ongoing NCAA investigations involving high-profile student-athletes and sports agents underscore the hidden dangers of colleges and universities not acting immediately. In fact, media reports of NCAA investigations involving current and former high-profile football student-athletes at several Football Bowl Subdivision schools provide further proof that an institution is only one Facebook entry, blog post or Internet rumor away from intense scrutiny. The difficult task facing institutions is how to get a handle on illicit benefits high-profile athletes receive from sports agents, runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers. An institution cannot afford to treat the current NCAA inquires as an once-in-a-lifetime event or to be reactive or programmatic. The solution requires an institution to transform its rules-compliance program. Moreover, an institution should constantly adjust and manage for ongoing change in this area.
The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions develop a due-diligence program that would assist administrators with: identifying high-profile athletes (prospective and enrolled); collecting pertinent rules-compliance data and information; discovering "red flags" of possible illicit activity involving high-profile athletes; and developing solutions to minimize major amateurism and extra-benefit rules-violations. The following checklist includes the minimum elements of a transformative due-diligence program:
1. Develop (for adoption by the institution's governing board) a high-profile student-athlete due-diligence policy.
2. Create an objective (non-discriminatory) set of criteria to identify high-profile student-athletes (prospective and enrolled).
3. Implement the following registration and monitoring activities: a) sports agent/sports marketer/financial planner/investment adviser program; b) student-athlete vehicle registration program; c) student-athlete and parental housing registration program; and d) student-athlete employment program.
4. Increase monitoring activities of (and limit access to) the following areas: a) athletics facilities (including locker-rooms and practice areas); b) sidelines or other limited-access areas during athletics contests; and c) team-chartered transportation.
5. Monitor social-network and other Internet sites (including, but not limited to, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs and sports media websites).
6. Create a daily Google search/alert for compliance-related news on identified high-profile student-athletes.
7. Follow-up reports of high-profile student-athletes attending parties or other social gatherings hosted or organized by professional athletes, corporations, sports agents, runners, sports marketers, financial planners or investment advisers.
8. Require student-athletes to read and sign a statement acknowledging receipt and understanding of legislation and institutional policy concerning sports agents (as well as runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers), amateurism and extra-benefits.
9. Schedule mandatory rules-education sessions for student-athlete, coaches and staff on issues relating to sports agents (as well as runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers), amateurism and extra-benefits. [Note: Maintain attendance sheets, agenda and handouts.]
10. Address issues relating to sports agents (as well as runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers), amateurism and extra-benefits during at least one student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) meeting each academic year.
11. Include questions relating to sports agents, runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers in student-athlete exit interviews (for seniors, transferring student-athletes or student-athletes without eligibility) and annual student-athlete surveys (for returning student-athletes).
12. Develop a database (or obtain access to already-established databases) of sports agents, runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers.
13. Provide student-athletes' parents and guardians with summary of NCAA legislation and institutional policy concerning sports agents (as well as runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers), amateurism and extra-benefits.
14. Create an anonymous hotline to receive allegations, tips, questions or other information concerning illicit activity by sports agents, runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers (or other alleged rules-violations).
15. Address sports agents, runners, sports marketers, financial planners and investment advisers in regular rules-compliance audits.
Issues of Collegiate Administration Best Practices can be downloaded on the "Best Practices and Information Nuggets" page of the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm website (http://www.michaelbucknerlaw.com).
You can contact Michael L. Buckner, Esquire, P.I., (954-941-1844; firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions on this issue or need to address a complex NCAA enforcement investigative or appellate issue.
The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm, a boutique legal and investigative firm, assists college and university presidents, general counsel and athletic directors address complex NCAA enforcement investigations and appeals. The law firm website can be found at http://www.michaelbucknerlaw.com.
Michael L. Buckner Law Firm
1000 West McNab Road, Suite 181
Pompano Beach, Florida 33069
(954) 941-1844 (Office)
(954) 735-4204 (Facsimile)
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