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NCAA Sports Representation and Compliance Lawyer

Posted by Steve Vondran | Jan 02, 2024

Vondran Legal® - Sports Law - NCAA infractions - Legal representation for coaches, players and college and university institutions in California and Arizona!  Call us at (877) 276-5084.

Arizona sports lawyer


Steve Vondran, Esq., heads up our Sports Law practice area.  We can assist professional, collegiate, and olympic athletes and institutions in a wide variety of Intellectual property and compliance issues.  Attorney Steve® is a former collegiate hall of fame baseball player from Fresno State University.   He was also drafted in the 13th round of the 1989 major league baseball draft and played three years as a catcher and third baseman in the Cincinnati Reds organization.

Our Vondran Legal® Collegiate Sports practice focuses on key legal issues involving players, coaches, and institutions.  For example, we provide the following types of legal services:

  • Coaching contract negotiation (ex., $600 contractual disclosure requirement)
  • Name, image, and likeness ("NIL") legal and contractual issues for players, colleges and collectives
  • Amateurism issues
  • NCAA investigations and enforcement actions
  • NCAA rules compliance and interpretation
  • Eligibility reinstatement cases
  • Limited immunity claims
  • Sports gambling issues
  • College or University FOIA requests (freedom of information act)
  • Covid suspensions
  • Head coach responsibility
  • Transfer eligibility (portal)
  • NCAA reporting requirements
  • Level I or II breach of conduct cases (likely to lead to investigation)
  • NCAA hearings and appeals
  • Trademark counsel (logos, mascotsathlete nicknames)
  • Copyright issues for teachers, players, coaches and institutions (ex. fair use)
  • Campus free speech issues
  • Professional sports representation

This is not an exclusive list. Contact us at (877) 276-5084 or fill out our contact form for more information.

The Varsity Blues Case: landmark college cheating scandal!

Arizona NCAA institutions

Here are the three major universities located in Arizona.

  • University of Arizona
  • Arizona State University
  • Northern Arizona University

Arizona NAIA Institutions

While there are no Division II or Division III colleges or universities in Arizona, there are a few NAIA schools.

Golden State Athletic Conference

  • Arizona Christian University (Glendale)
  • Ottawa University Arizona (Surprise)

California Pacific Conference

  • Benedictine University at Mesa (Mesa)
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Prescott)
  • Park University Gilbert (Gilbert)

California NCAA institutions

California is packed with Division I colleges and universities.  Here is a list:

Division I

  • University of California
  • UC Davis
  • UC Irvine
  • UCLA
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • UC Riverside
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • Cal State Bakersfield
  • Cal State Fresno (Attorney Steve® is a member of the baseball hall of fame)
  • Cal State Fullerton (Attorney Steve® graduated from Cal State Fullerton)
  • Cal State Long Beach
  • Cal State Northridge
  • Cal State Sacramento
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • University of the Pacific
  • Pepperdine University
  • Saint Mary's College of California
  • University of San Diego
  • San Diego State University
  • University of San Francisco
  • San Jose State University
  • Santa Clara University
  • University of Southern California
  • Stanford University

Division II

  • Academy of Art University 
  • Azusa Pacific University
  • Biola University 
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • California Baptist University
  • California State University, Monterey Bay
  • California State University, Chico
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, East Bay
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • California State University, San Bernardino
  • California State University, Stanislaus
  • California State University, San Marcos
  • California University of Pennsylvania
  • University of California, San Diego
  • Concordia University Irvine
  • Fresno Pacific University
  • Holy Names University
  • Humboldt State University
  • Notre Dame de Namur University
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • San Francisco State University
  • Sonoma State University

Division III

  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • California Lutheran University
  • Chapman University
  • Claremont McKenna–Harvey Mudd–Scripps Colleges
  • Occidental College
  • Pomona–Pitzer Colleges (Attorney Steve® Coached Baseball here for two years)
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of La Verne
  • University of Redlands
  • Whittier College

California NAIA Schools

Here are NAIA institutions located in California:

California Pacific Conference

  • California State University-Maritime (Vallejo)
  • California, University of, Merced (Merced)
  • Pacific Union College (Angwin)
  • Providence Christian College (Pasadena)
  • Simpson University (Redding)
  • Soka University of America (Aliso Viejo)
  • University of Antelope Valley (Lancaster)
  • University of Saint Katherine (San Marcos)
  • Westcliff University (Irvine)

Golden State Athletic Conference

  • Hope International University (Fullerton)
  • Jessup University (Rocklin)
  • La Sierra University (Riverside)
  • Life Pacific University (San Dimas)
  • Menlo College (Atherton)
  • The Master's University (Newhall)
  • Vanguard University (Costa Mesa)

Sports at Issue

We can represent players, coaches and athletic directors who manage and participate in a wide variety of team and individual sports

Men's Basketball


Women's Basketball

Men's Track, Indoor


Men's Track, Outdoor

Men's Tennis

Women's Track, Indoor

Women's Volleyball


Women's Tennis

Women's Track, Outdoor

Men's Cross Country

Women's Cross Country

Men's Golf

Men's Soccer

Women's Soccer

Women's Golf

Men's Swimming and Diving

Men's Wrestling

Women's Swimming and Diving

Men's Ice Hockey

Women's Gymnastics

Men's Gymnastics

Women's Bowling

Men's Lacrosse

Men's Volleyball

Field Hockey

Mixed Track, Outdoor

Men's Fencing

Men's Water Polo

Mixed Cross Country

Mixed Swimming and Diving

Women's Fencing

Women's Lacrosse

Women's Rifle

Women's Rowing

Common NCAA violations

Here are some of the major infractions that could turn into NCAA audits, investigations, and hearings:

Violation of Coaches responsibility

11.1 Conduct of Athletics Personnel. Responsibility of Head Coach. An institution's head coach shall be held responsible for the head coach's actions and the actions of all institutional staff members who report, directly or indirectly, to the head coach. In order to assist the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions in penalty deliberations, the enforcement staff will gather information regarding whether the head coach promoted an atmosphere of compliance within the program and monitored the activities of all institutional staff members involved with the program who report, directly or indirectly, to the coach. (Adopted: 4/28/05, Revised: 10/30/12, 7/16/14, 8/31/22 effective 1/1/23)

11.1.3 Representing Individuals in Marketing Athletics Ability/Reputation. Staff members of the athletics department of a member institution shall not represent, directly or indirectly, any individual in the marketing of athletics ability or reputation to an agent, a professional sports team or a professional sports organization, including receiving compensation for arranging commercial endorsements or personal appearances for former student-athletes, except as specified in Bylaw, and shall not receive compensation or gratuities of any kind, directly or indirectly, for such services. (Revised: 1/10/92, 1/11/94)

Improper Slush Funds

13.14.4 Slush Funds. An institution shall not permit any outside organization, agency or group of individuals to use, administer or expend funds for recruiting prospective student-athletes, including the transportation and entertainment of, and the giving of gifts or services to, prospective student-athletes or their family members or friends. (Revised: 4/25/18)

Violation of Transportation rules Automobile Transportation. If a prospective student-athlete travels by automobile on an official paid visit, the institution may pay round-trip expenses to the individual incurring the expense (except the prospective student-athlete's coach as set forth in Bylaw at the same mileage rate it allows its own personnel. Any automobile may be used by the prospective student-athlete, provided the automobile is not owned or operated or its use arranged by the institution or any representative of its athletics interests. Use of Automobile. The institution or representatives of its athletics interests shall not provide an automobile for use during the official visit by the prospective student-athlete or by a student host. Coach Accompanying Prospective Student-Athlete and Family Members. Except as permitted in Bylaw, a coaching staff member shall not accompany a prospective student-athlete in the coach's sport to or from an official visit unless the prospective student-athlete travels only by automobile. If such transportation is used, the official visit shall begin when the coach begins transporting the prospective student-athlete and the prospective student-athlete's family members to campus. A coach who makes an in-person, off-campus contact (any dialogue in excess of an exchange of a greeting) with the prospective student-athlete (or the prospective student-athlete's family members) during a permissible contact period prior to transporting the prospective student-athlete and the prospective student-athlete's family members to campus for an official visit is charged with a countable contact. On completion of the visit, the coach shall terminate contact with the prospective student-athlete and the prospective student-athlete's family members immediately

Engaged in unethical conduct

10.1 Unethical Conduct. Unethical conduct by a prospective student-athlete or student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member, which includes any individual who performs work for the institution or the athletics department even if the individual does not receive compensation for such work, may include, but is not limited to, the following: (Revised: 1/10/90, 1/9/96, 2/22/01, 8/4/05, 4/27/06, 1/8/07, 5/9/07, 10/23/07, 5/6/08, 1/16/10, 10/5/10, 4/28/16 effective 8/1/16, 8/31/22 effective 1/1/23)

(a) Knowing involvement in offering or providing a prospective or an enrolled student-athlete an improper inducement or extra benefit or improper financial aid;

(b) Receipt of benefits by an institutional staff member for facilitating or arranging a meeting between a student-athlete and an agent, financial advisor or a representative of an agent or advisor (e.g., "runner");

(c) Knowing involvement in providing a banned substance or impermissible supplement to student-athletes, or knowingly providing medications to student-athletes contrary to medical licensure, commonly accepted standards of care in sports medicine practice, or state and federal law. This provision shall not apply to banned substances for which the student-athlete has received a medical exception per Bylaw; however, the substance must be provided in accordance with medical licensure, commonly accepted standards of care and state or federal law;

(d) Engaging in any athletics competition under an assumed name or with intent to otherwise deceive; or

(e) Failure to provide complete and accurate information to the NCAA, the NCAA Eligibility Center or the institution's athletics department regarding an individual's amateur status.

Providing improper "extra benefits"

16.02.3 Extra Benefit. [A] An extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee or representative of the institution's athletics interests to provide a student-athlete or the student-athlete family member or friend a benefit not expressly authorized by NCAA legislation. Receipt of a benefit by student-athletes or their family members or friends is not a violation of NCAA legislation if it is demonstrated that the same benefit is generally available to the institution's students or their family members or friends or to a particular segment of the student body (e.g., international students, minority students) determined on a basis unrelated to athletics ability.

16.02.4 Family Member. [A] For purposes of Bylaw 16, a family member is an individual with any of the following relationships to a student-athlete: spouse, parent or legal guardian, child, sibling, grandparent, domestic partner or any individual whose close association with the student-athlete is the practical equivalent of a family relationship.

Performing while ineligible

12.11.1 Obligation of Member Institution to Withhold Student-Athlete From Competition. If a student-athlete is ineligible under the provisions of the constitution, bylaws or other regulations of the Association, the institution shall be obligated to apply immediately the applicable rule and to withhold the student-athlete from all intercollegiate competition. The institution may appeal to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement for restoration of the student-athlete's eligibility as provided in Bylaw 12.12 if it concludes that the circumstances warrant restoration.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

10.01.1 Honesty and Sportsmanship. Individuals employed by (or associated with) a member institution to administer, conduct or coach intercollegiate athletics and all participating student-athletes shall act with honesty and sportsmanship at all times so that intercollegiate athletics as a whole, their institutions and they, as individuals, shall represent the honor and dignity of fair play and the generally recognized high standards associated with wholesome competitive sports.

Potential Penalties for NCAA violations

When you look up a violations case on the NCAA website, here is a chart you will see discussing certain potential penalties and whether or not they apply in a particular case.

possible NCAA penalties

Compliance violations can have far-reaching consequences

19.12.2 Factors Affecting Penalties. The hearing panel shall determine whether any factors that may affect penalties are present for a case. The panel shall weigh any factors and determine whether a party should be subject to standard penalties or should be classified with aggravation or mitigation and, therefore, subject to a higher or lower range of penalties. Absent extenuating circumstances, core penalties corresponding to the classification shall be prescribed as set forth in Figure 19-1(click to see penalties chart)

Some of the main issues of being involved in an NCAA investigation or hearing are the following:

  1. Negative media attention (ex., being featured as a rules violator on the NCAA website - see sample report)
  2. Recruiting problems
  3. Head coach restrictions
  4. Loss of fan support
  5. Scholarship reductions
  6. Loss of donor support
  7. Suspensions
  8. Public reprimand and censure
  9. Vacating individual records
  10. Probation
  11. Loss of post-season games
  12. Loss of voting privilege
  13. Reduction in financial aid
  14. Recruiting restraints
  15. Prohibition in television appearances

11.1.1 Responsibility for Violations of NCAA Regulations. Institutional staff members found in violation of NCAA regulations shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action as set forth in Bylaw 19.12, whether such violations occurred at the certifying institution or during the individual's previous employment at another member institution. (Revised: 7/31/14) Aggravating Factors for Involved Individuals. 

(a) Multiple Level I and/or multiple Level II violations;

(b) Failing or refusing to take all appropriate steps outlined in Bylaw 19.2.1 to advance resolution of the matter, including steps that hinder or thwart the institution and/or enforcement staff's investigation;

(c) Violations were premeditated, deliberate or committed after substantial planning;

(d) Persons of authority condoned, participated in or negligently disregarded the violation or related wrongful conduct;

(e) One or more violations caused ineligible competition;

(f) Conduct or circumstances demonstrating an abuse of a position of trust;

(g) A pattern of noncompliance within the sport program(s) involved;

(h) Conduct intended to generate pecuniary gain for the individual;

(i) Intentional, willful or blatant disregard for NCAA bylaws;

(j) Involvement by a representative of the institution's athletics interests in violations;

(k) Conduct by a party and/or their representative that inhibits the Committee on Infractions' ability to effectively manage the docket, ensure a professional and civil decorum in all proceedings and/or otherwise efficiently resolve infractions cases; and

(l) Other facts warranting a higher penalty range.

What is a Show-Cause Order? Show-Cause Orders. If a determination is made that an institution has not taken appropriate disciplinary or corrective action regarding an individual found in violation of NCAA bylaws, the panel may issue and/or approve an order that the institution take additional disciplinary or corrective action, including but not limited to, restriction of some or all athletically related duties, as set forth in Figure 19-1, unless the institution appears before the panel to show cause why the additional penalties should not be applied. Decisions regarding disciplinary or corrective actions involving personnel shall be made by the institution, but the determination of whether the action satisfies the institution's obligation of NCAA membership shall rest solely with the Committee on Infractions

Podcast:  Listen to a sample rules violation case

Here is a public rules violation case involving criminal allegations of bribery as well as rules violations at Auburn University.

Important Resources

  1. NCAA Division 1 Rules
  2. NCAA publications
  3. National letter of intent

Contact a NCAA Sports Compliance Lawyer

Since 2004 Vondran Legal® has been a leader in civil dispute and resolution in California having litigated over 450 cases at the State and Federal level including disciplinary hearings.  Call us at (877) 276-5084 or fill out our contact form for more information.

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337

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