The NCAA enforcement staff conducts approximately 40-50 investigations of alleged major rules-violations at any one time. In turn, most colleges and universities conduct internal investigations to determine the veracity of the allegations prior to the conclusion of the staff’s review. However, it has been my experience that the enforcement staff and most universities do not undertake a consistent and legally-sufficient approach to evidence gathering. The following includes some helpful tips on evidence collection during an internal investigation:
•Gather and record any supporting relevant evidence, including documents, e-mails, video footage, reports, text messages and any other electronic communication.
•Suspend the institution’s document destruction policy as soon as an allegation is received.
•Conduct a sweep of university-owned computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices for relevant evidence.
•Retain a forensic expert to analysis, discover, identify or collect unique evidence (e.g., handwriting, computer sweep, financial).
•Maintain the chain-of-custody of all collected evidence by: using evidence logs; and assigning a Bates stamp number to all evidence.
Contact Michael L. Buckner for more information on collecting evidence during an internal investigation.