Regulating Contact Between Athletics Staff and Faculty on College Campuses

Josh Lens - University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Vol. 56
Page 79

The power dynamics of higher education are such that head coaches possess significantly more power and influence, and receive higher compensation, than faculty members. Head coaches also face substantial pressure to win. In two recent instances at different universities, a head coach approached a faculty member seeking special academic arrangements for a student-athlete to retain eligibility in order for them to compete in athletics. In each case, the NCAApenalized the university and the coaches faced both sanctions and employment consequences.

This Article explores the consequences of instances in which athletics department staff members, including coaches, contact faculty members seeking special favors or consideration for student-athletes and how universities can mitigate the likelihood that these improper interactions occur. To do so, Part I analyzes applicable NCAA rules and both their application and enforcement in recent scenarios involving University of Georgia and Rutgers University head coaches. Part II suggests policies and actions that universities can implement and undertake, respectively, to lessen the likelihood that the inappropriate interactions — and consequences from them — occur. A brief conclusion follows.

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