What Does an NCAA Investigator Do?
Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More
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.
Neither the BLS nor the NCAA makes predictions about growth in the number of people with this position.
NCAA investigators are often in the field interviewing people but spend part of their time in the office.
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.
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.
Building up your professional network and making contacts in the world of college sports is also crucial.
Comparing Similar Jobs
People interested in becoming NCAA investigators might also consider the following jobs. The figures provided are median annual salaries:
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018