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Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Lawyers as Athletic Directors

Last week, Indiana University hired Fred Glass, an IU alum and Indianapolis attorney, as its Athletic Director. According to the Associated Press, Glass has "no experience in athletic department administration, but does have a long track record of bringing major sporting events to Indianapolis, developing budgets and fundraising." Glass earned his law degree at IU and had been a partner at the Indianapolis office of Baker and Daniels.

Glass is by no means the first lawyer to take on the job of college AD, although he may represent the first to transition to the position directly from practice. Clemson's AD, Terry Don Phillips, has a law degree from Arkansas, although he acquired that degree after years in athletic administration. USC's longtime AD, Mike Garrett, has a law degree from Western State University.

Glass's hiring may be a sign of things to come, though. The job of college AD has changed over the years. In the past, ADs were thought of as "coaches in chief". But these days, the AD's job is more about two things which may be consistent with a lawyer's professional comparative advantage.

First, the AD must ensure compliance with ever-more-legalistic NCAA regulations. These days, it is common for university compliance officers to have law degrees and legal training. For instance, Doug Archie, a Toledo law grad, serves as compliance officer at Ohio State (after having served in the same capacity at Utah). These compliance officers can prove themselves within athletic departments, rising to the position of AD -- but lawyers like Glass can also provide a legal mind as ADs to help ensure compliance with NCAA rules.

Second, ADs are, these days, fundraisers first. They must both raise money for their departments and help support university-wide development efforts. For whatever reason, lawyers have proven themselves able university fundraisers. The success of law school deans in acquiring university CEO positions -- at Texas, Utah, Rochester, Columbia, NYU, to name but a few -- is a sign of lawyers' fundraising acumen. ADs with legal backgrounds, like their law dean counterparts, may prove themselves as fundraisers as well


Didn't Notre Dame just hire a new AD directly from private practice? I believe he was also an Indianapolis lawyer.

Anonymous john -- 11/05/2008 9:03 AM  

Yes, Notre Dame's AD has a law degree. Nice plug for Toledo (sorry about Toledo Tom). The concept of lawyer-turned-AD is also working its way into College Presidency positions which, of course, is a great thing! Finally, don't forget that two steps forward always has a step back: check out the (lack of) qualifications of the AD at the University of Oregon. On the other hand, if one agrees that the role of the AD is to raise money, then Oregon might have just the right guy (but let's not even go to the "but we are institutions of higher learning first") argument. Thanks for the post. Go Rockets!

Anonymous Anonymous -- 11/05/2008 10:37 AM  

Indiana University has followed the lead of neighboring Notre Dame and filled its Athletic Director’s position with a sports attorney. Attorney Fred Glass has been prominently involved in the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium and with bringing a Super Bowl to Indianapolis. Now he will lead Indiana’s Athletic Department. Indianapolis attorney Fred Glass will replace Rick Greenspan as IU’s director of athletics, a source told the Indiana Daily Student on Monday night.

Guaranteed ROI

Blogger seno -- 11/06/2008 6:26 AM  

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