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College Sports, Education

What Should Universities Do First When They Receive an Allegation of an NCAA Rules-Violation?

Universities receive allegations, rumors, innuendos of alleged misconduct and NCAA rules-violations all the time. Most allegations are not substantial and do not lead to a full investigation while a few trigger a major enforcement investigation. The following constitutes a few items that universities should consider when it receives an allegation of misconduct or an NCAA rules-violation:

1. School receives allegation, verify it: a. Interview (if possible) the accuser. b. Substantiate the factual issues. c. Determine if it a mere rumor, innuendo or gossip. d. Document methodology and conclusions.

2. If institution “verifies” an allegation of a major rules-violation, then contact NCAA vice-president for enforcement because: a. NCAA may have received allegation from same or difference source. b. Possibility of a joint investigation. c. NCAA may desire to interview coaches at-risk prior to any adverse employment action. d. However, cooperation with the NCAA does not mean an institution cannot and should not defend itself!

3. Contact federal and local law enforcement if the allegations involve criminal matters (e.g., sports wagering).

4. Institution should follow its written internal investigation policy, which should address: a. How are allegations handled? b. Who will conduct the inquiry? c. What will be the standard used during the inquiry? d. How will the findings be reported?

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, compliance, professional development and legal services.

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