Sports Law Blog
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Monday, April 05, 2004

Accountability for Problems in College Sports: Michael Granof, a professor of Accounting at the University of Texas suggests that the theories behind Sarbanes-Oxley should be used to hold university presidents responsible for the athletic scandals occurring in their schools.

    The key to the law is accountability. Directors and senior executives must be answerable for what goes on in their organizations. The usual defense of being oblivious is no longer acceptable: senior executives must not only certify to the accuracy of their firm's financial statements, but they must also show that a system is in place to track and control costs.

    Big-time athletic programs are often the most visible and high-risk activities of a university. Whether the president of a scandal-ridden college actually knows about any charges of rule violations is beside the point. He should know. Basketball and football programs, after all, are more likely to embarrass a university than its art history department.

I am not sure if this is the answer, but Granof is absolutely correct: there must be greater accountability for scandals that rock college sports. Too many times, athletic directors and coaches are given a free pass, so long as they continue to win. Sarbanes-type regulations may be an over-reaction, but they may be exactly what is needed to ensure the integrity of college athletics.




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