United States

Best practices in athletics compliance for athletics directors


White paper originally published by Lead1 in October 2019, the organization that represents the athletics directors and programs of the 130 member universities of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

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In light of some of the recent scandals in college athletics, colleges and universities now face new risks that require additional evaluation and scrutiny of their existing compliance programs. Similar to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 for U.S. public companies, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has recently imposed additional compliance obligations on collegiate athletics programs per the NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball recommendation.

In this vein, the NCAA’s recently enacted “attestation of compliance” legislation requires athletics directors to certify that the policies, procedures, and practices of its institution, staff members, and representatives of its athletics interest are in compliance with NCAA legislation. This requires athletics directors to certify compliance for the entire institution, including all staff of the institution, and representatives of athletics interests; this encompasses not only university employees, but also third-party vendors with athletic interests.

As a result of this new attestation requirement, it is critically important that athletics directors assess the effectiveness of their compliance programs. The evaluation should be similar to the practices instituted by many corporate compliance programs in the U.S, developed in response to enforcement actions and guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Justice. This white paper is meant to provide best practices and specific recommendations on building and evaluating your compliance program.


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