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College Sports, Division I, Division II, Division III, Education

Georgia Tech Case Stresses Importance of General Counsel in the Enforcement Process

The Fulton County Daily Report published an article on July 21, 2011, discussing the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions’ criticism of Georgia Tech’s former general counsel in the recent Georgia Tech enforcement case. Specifically, the committee stated they were “concerned with the former general counsel’s approach to the NCAA’s investigation. Rather than working with the enforcement staff in a cooperative manner, it appeared the general counsel adopted an obstructionist approach to the investigation.” This ultimately led to NCAA Bylaw 19.01.3 (failure to cooperate) and NCAA Bylaw 32.1.4 (cooperative principle) violations and turned “an isolated instance of impermissible benefits and preferential treatment” into “extremely serious allegations.”

In light of this story, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends that institutions a) enhance their rules-education program to ensure coaches, student-athletes and university staff understand the requirement to cooperate with an NCAA investigation; b) review their procedures to ensure impartial, thorough and timely internal investigations; and c) retain the assistance of experienced outside counsel during the enforcement process.

Furthermore, in order to assist campus and athletics administrators with preparing policies and procedures governing internal investigations of alleged rules-violations, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm has developed an “Athletics Investigation Policy and Strategy Toolkit.” The Toolkit includes:

  • A book excerpt highlighting the NCAA enforcement process.
  • A summary of nine investigation strategies.
  • Checklists for internal investigation policy planning.
  • A sample athletics internal investigation policy format.

In order to obtain a complimentary copy of our toolkit, please contact Justin Sievert via email (jsievert@michaelbucknerlaw.com) or at the office at (954-941-1844).

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About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)

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