What Does an NCAA Investigator Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

Women's college basketball team
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NCAA investigators are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's enforcement staff who determine whether universities, student-athletes, coaches, or agents participated in prohibited behavior. They also work to ensure that universities initiate and/or maintain high academic standards.

NCAA investigators look into nearly every aspect of college sports, including allegations of gambling, taking money and gifts from agents, academic misconduct, and getting paid to play. They may initiate investigations based on allegations of wrongdoing, or they may act at the request of a coach or other university employee who self-reports a potential violation.

According to the NCAA, enforcement staff generally handle around 25 major investigations and look into up to 4,000 lesser violations each year.

NCAA Investigator Duties & Responsibilities

An NCAA investigator is often required to perform the following tasks:

  • Analyze data and reports
  • Conduct administrative investigations
  • Conduct interviews in the service of those investigations
  • Write reports
  • Work closely with athletes, coaches, college administrators, compliance staff, and attorneys
  • Maintain confidentiality

Universities, coaches, and students who are found to have committed infractions face a range of disciplinary actions, up to and including the loss of player eligibility or an entire athletic program.

Investigators must be thorough and mindful of the potential consequences of their inquiries. For this reason, NCAA investigations can take weeks, months, or possibly years before they are seen all the way to a conclusion.

NCAA investigators do not have police powers, as their investigations are civil and administrative matters and are therefore conducted independently of any criminal investigation. If criminal misconduct is uncovered, an appropriate law enforcement agency will conduct a separate investigation.

NCAA Investigator Salary

Neither the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics nor the NCAA provides salary data on this job.

Education, Training, & Certification

NCAA investigators must have strong analytical skills and should be accustomed to working independently. Written communications skills are a must. Investigators must be able to produce well-written and comprehensive reports that clearly articulate their findings.

Though investigative experience has not been necessary in the past, it is helpful. A background in or strong working knowledge of college athletics is also desirable.

Many investigators are former college athletes and coaches. The enforcement staff also consists of many people who have received advanced education, especially law degrees.

NCAA Investigator Skills & Competencies

Qualities and abilities that are important in this job include:

  • Inquisitive mind: NCAA investigators should have an interest in seeking answers to questions.
  • People skills: They need to be able to get people on their side so as to get the information they want to obtain.
  • Ability to analyze: They must be able to draw conclusions from info gleaned from multiple sources.
  • Love for sports: An interest in college sports and a desire to improve and maintain the integrity of college athletics are also important.

Job Outlook

Neither the BLS nor the NCAA makes predictions about growth in the number of people with this position.

Work Environment

NCAA investigators are often in the field interviewing people but spend part of their time in the office.

Work Schedule

NCAA investigators work according to the needs of the cases they're handling.

How to Get the Job

NO UNSOLICITED APPLICATIONS

Because many people are interested in working for the NCAA, the organization does not usually take unsolicited applications.

WORK LOCAL

A good starting point on the path to this job is employment in a local college or university's internal compliance department, where you can gain experience in enforcing NCAA rules.

NETWORKING

Building up your professional network and making contacts in the world of college sports is also crucial.

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