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College Sports, Division I

University of Houston Director of Men’s Basketball Operations Sues Institution; Alleges NCAA Rules-Violations

On July 5, 2013, Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle reported Michael Young, a member of the University of Houston’s (UH) famed Phi Slama Jama and director of basketball operations, had filed a lawsuit to have his employment contract with the school rescinded. Young’s lawsuit alleges UH asked him to “engage in the illegal act of accepting money without performing a service and to violate NCAA rules” in regard to a reassignment to a community service role within the UH athletic department. Further, Young alleges UH deputy athletic director Darren Dunn told him his contract would remain, in effect, as long as his son, Joseph Young, a sophomore guard and the Cougars’ leading scorer last season, remained on the team.

According to Young’s attorney, Reginald McKamie, “we want the contract rescinded from the outset so there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that Michael has not engaged in any fraud of the NCAA rules or defrauding Texas taxpayers of any money.”  UH has denied the allegations and stated, “the University is looking forward to vigorously defending its actions.”

The NCAA-related issue in this case revolves around NCAA Bylaw 16 (Specifically, NCAA Bylaw 16.02.3, 16.11.1.1, 16.11.2.1), which prevent a student-athlete, or his or her family or relatives from receiving a benefit not expressly authorized under NCAA legislation. Here, according to Young, he would be receiving payment from the institution for work not performed in order for his son to remain as a student-athlete on the men’s basketball team (Young’s son subsequently left the basketball program and announced he would transfer to the University of Oregon and seek a waiver to be immediately eligible for the 2013-14 season). Young added he was told by UH he would handle community service projects from his home, but it was clear to Young the institution did not want him on campus and “he would be paid to sit from home.” Young has refused this assignment and has not accepted payment since the expiration of his past contract on May 31, 2013.

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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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