This week the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm continues its weekly summary of the biggest news stories in NCAA compliance and enforcement. Below are the top stories for this past week.
Takeaway: The NCAA enforcement staff has cleared AAU basketball coach Tony Edwards regarding a potentially impermissible relationship with basketball agent Andy Miller. The NCAA had ruled that Edwards along with three other AAU teams had prohibited association with Miller. Had Edwards relationship been found to have been impermissible, the SEBL Elite All Stars would have had to disassociate Edwards in order to participate in NCAA certified events.
Takeaway: On September 18, 2012, Laura Keely of the News & Observer reported former Duke basketball student-athlete Lance Thomas settled his pending lawsuit with the jeweler suing him for defaulting on a $67,800 payment. The amount owed, was the remaining balance from Thomas’ purchase of $97,800 worth of custom jewelry on Dec. 21, 2009, which was during his senior year at Duke. Thomas had made a $30,000 down payment and signed a purchase agreement at the time of purchase. When Thomas defaulted on his obligation, Raefello & Co. filed a lawsuit after repeated attempts to collect on the balance. The NCAA has an interest in investigating this transaction due to both the large down payment as well as the line of credit the jeweler extended to Thomas as potential amateurism and extra-benefits legislation could be triggered depending on the facts. One potential hurdle for the NCAA in conducting an investigation into the matter has been cleared should Thomas speak with the NCAA and provide information that would assist the enforcement staff in determining whether a rules-violation occurred.
Takeaway: According to the LA Times, the Los Angeles County assessor’s office has turned over to the NCAA work emails from a former appraiser who has said that he provided cash and perks to former USC student-athletes while they were still in school. The NCAA is still in the investigatory stage of this case to determine whether any rules-violations occurred.
Takeaway: On October 3, 2012, David Briggs of the Toledo Blade reported Ohio State University (OSU) sent an 805-page report to the NCAA outlining the new athletics compliance measures the institution was implementing. The report was filed as a part of the institution’s response to their recent enforcement case involving the football program and former head coach Jim Tressel. In light of this article, the Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions conduct regular internal and external (by an experienced professional in this field) audits of their athletics compliance programs. While all institutions will not have the resources of OSU to enhance athletics compliance, they should constantly be seeking better ways to utilize the resources they do have.