In most cases, the college experience is one that many look back on as “the best four years of their lives.” Inevitably, this is not everyone's college experience. Many college students run into some sort of issue during their college years that may require the help of an advocate. NCAA student-athletes have several support systems in place to help them through their time in school, but what happens when something or someone within that support system is the source of issues? What happens when a student-athlete needs help with something that he or she does not want to involve the team in? If you are a student-athlete who is facing an issue within your team or school, then it may be helpful to enlist an NCAA advocate to help you.
What is an Advocate?
An advocate is someone that supports you and helps you handle legal issues. An advocate can be an organization or a specific individual, such as an attorney. Attorneys are advocates by nature and can advocate for you in several ways if you are an NCAA student-athlete. It is important to consult with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with issues that are specific to NCAA student-athletes. An attorney who does not have this experience still may very well be able to help you, but it is always an advantage when your attorney isn't learning procedure as he or she is working on your case.
The NCAA also certifies agents and advisors who can serve the specific role of helping student-athletes prepare for professional drafts while maintaining their college eligibility in case they decide to return to school. Be wary of those who claim to be advocates but do not hold a professional license (such as a law license) that is monitored by a governmental board or association. Those who hold professional licenses (such as a law license) are required to follow many professional and ethical guidelines when they advocate on another's behalf. These professional rules help establish what the advocacy relationship can and will be, so student-athletes can be clear on representation parameters. Make sure you fully understand the scope of an advocate's representation of you. It is important that all the terms of representation are clearly spelled out to you in writing before you agree to anyone advocating on your behalf.
Why Might Someone Need an Advocate for the NCAA
The NCAA is a huge organization with a seemingly endless list of rules and regulations that it expects its student-athletes and related staff to follow. Some reasons why a student-athlete might need an advocate include:
- If a student-athlete is not receiving the proper financial aid from their athletic scholarship
- If a student-athlete is facing financial aid cancellation
- If a student-athlete is facing a transfer penalty
- If a student-athlete is facing a suspension
- If a student-athlete has eligibility issues
- If a student-athlete is contesting a failed drug test
These are just some of the reasons why an NCAA student-athlete might need an advocate. If a student-athlete's academic and athletic eligibility is at stake in any way, then it can result in the loss of financial aid. This would ultimately result in the student-athlete being forced to leave school. As you can see, a violation of NCAA rules that may seem benign can have significant consequences. You may be able to find help from an advocacy group, but it is always advised to speak directly with an attorney if you are facing an NCAA violation or penalty of any kind.
Reasons Why a Student-Athlete Might Require Legal Counsel
A student-athlete might need more than just an advocate at times. There are many times where a student-athlete will need legal advice and legal help relating to misconduct or other reasons such as:
- Name, image, and likeness deals
- Professional draft preparation and counsel
- School code of conduct charges
- Title IX sexual misconduct allegations and Title IX actions
- Alleged criminal activity
- Any other issue or concern that can have adverse consequences to a student-athlete's academic, athletic, or professional career
Although there are countless reasons why a student-athlete will need expert advocacy, if a student-athlete is alleged to have committed a crime on school property or a crime involving another student, then both the NCAA and the school police enforcement authorities will likely be involved. Title IX actions can stem from discrimination claims but can also stem from alleged sexual assaults. While Title IX claims are not criminal in nature, the alleged conduct can result in criminal charges. Title IX actions are lengthy, complex, and can involve a lot of people. Any mention of a Title IX action should result in an immediate call to an experienced Title IX attorney.
If a student-athlete is looking to profit off of himself or herself pursuant to the new name, image, and likeness rules of the NCAA, then it is strongly recommended that any promotion that he or she agrees to is first reviewed by an attorney. These agreements are contracts that also need to adhere to other NCAA eligibility rules for the student-athlete to remain eligible while earning money.
If a student-athlete is elite enough of a performer, then he or she may potentially be drafted by a professional league such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL. There are several procedures in place for student-athletes at this level to allow them to gain information about their likelihood of being drafted and in what round. Student-athletes will also be evaluated by professional teams and will be given a critique on what improvements need to be made to improve their draft stock. If a student-athlete follows the rules appropriately for his or her sport, then he or she may be able to enter a professional draft and maintain eligibility until a certain date. If you have legal questions about anything related to the NCAA, then call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm so we can help!
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice
If you are an NCAA student-athlete who has the need for an NCAA advocate, then it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of student-athletes across the country facing various legal issues. Call us today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring the Lento Law Firm is the right choice to help you with your case.