Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity’s senior staff includes more than a dozen administrators he leans on in the daily operation of a department with a budget of more than $89 million.
Yet someone you won’t find on any UGA directory may be as important as any staffer for his role in helping the school navigate the minefields of NCAA rules and the world of compliance.
Since March, Georgia has paid nearly $75,000 to the firm of attorney Mike Glazier, who heads the sports division at Bond, Schoneck & King PLLC in Overland Park, Kan., according to invoices obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald in an open records request.
Glazier spearheaded Georgia’s internal investigation into the cases involving All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones and the men’s basketball team’s leading scorer, Kenatvious Caldwell-Pope, involving payments connected to the Columbus Parks & Recreation Department, and sorted out monetary gifts made by football coach Mark Richt to staff members he felt weren’t being compensated sufficiently.
McGarity, who was at Florida when Glazier worked on NCAA compliance issues for the school, sees it as a good return on the athletic association’s investment.
“The type of situations that we were dealing with we thought required a level of expertise with a firm that had 24-7 knowledge of working with the NCAA,” McGarity said. “I had known Mike Glazier back from my days at Florida. I had a conversation with Mike and they agreed to work with us on as-needed basis.”
Less than six months into his job as Georgia athletic director, McGarity said, “we had some things that bubbled up,” through internal department audits at the start of 2011. That included Richt’s payments to current and former staff members.
Georgia turned to Glazier, 58, an NCAA investigator for seven years who works with four other lawyers and another full-time staffer with an extensive compliance background at his firm’s Collegiate Sports Practice Group.
Glaizer played quarterback for Lee Corso at Indiana and was cut by the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
“I probably got fired from some lawn-mowing jobs, but I got fired from that job, too,” he said.
Glazier said he attempts to develop all the facts in a case and not to be biased in the way he looks at things, which is why more than 60 schools call on him.
“I don’t live there,” Glazier said of his clients’ campuses. “I don’t have necessarily ongoing relationships with any of the people that are involved and those kind of things. So they really ask me to be unbiased and give the unvarnished truth, so to speak. Once you’ve done that, to be willing to take corrective actions to demonstrate that you’re serious about both self-imposing penalties and about trying to make sure that the violations don’t occur again in the future.”
Glazier serves as Georgia’s outside counsel for NCAA compliance and infractions matters. Athens attorney Ed Tolley continues to work with the athletic association on some legal matters.
Oregon and Miami have reportedly hired Glazier for their high-profile infractions cases, although Glazier did not want to talk about specific clients. He spoke for this article only after getting approval from Georgia to do so.
“We probably appear before the infractions committee on behalf of schools anywhere from four to six, maybe more times a year,” Glazier said. “We’re there at the majority of them and sometimes we’ll have multiple cases.”
Glazier and now SEC commissioner Mike Slive founded the Slive-Glazier Sports Group in 1990 to work with schools dealing with NCAA compliance issues before Slive left to become commissioner of the Great Midwest Conference.
Glazier’s work throughout the years reportedly included NCAA cases at Minnesota, Kansas, Central Florida, and Tennessee. It has earned him labels like “The Fixer” or “The Closer.”
“I’m not sure what people mean by that,” he said. “I’m not sure that’s consistent with the way we practice.”
Glazier worked with Georgia’s compliance office on the Jones and Caldwell-Pope cases.
Jones was cleared to play during the preseason without having to miss any games.
The investigation looked into flights to and from Los Angeles before Jones transferred from Southern California to Georgia. They were paid for out of an illegal account run by an AAU basketball coach who also was a father figure to Jones. Caldwell-Pope likewise avoided any penalties after a payment for his mother’s cell phone bill was found to have been made from the same account.
“I had a great team of support with compliance and everybody in the whole deal,” Jones said after he was found not to have violated NCAA rules. “The people that handled it, they handled it real well.”
Among the services provided in the $73,688.81 that Glazier’s firm has billed Georgia since March:
— A $28,219 invoice on Aug. 12, which was days after the NCAA notified Georgia that it had reviewed the school’s internal report that found Jones did not receive improper benefits based on his prior relationships before he came a prospect.
McGarity said Glazier’s firm did the investigative work on the ground in Columbus.
“Oh yeah,” McGarity said. “They basically assign members of their staff to conduct a thorough interview. It’s basically boots on the ground. There are flights, there’s transportation involved. Yes, there is a very high level of interaction with members of Mike’s staff as well as the individuals that they need to talk to get to the bottom of everything.”
— A $14,943 invoice on May 11. There was no information provided from the school on what Georgia was billed for during that monthly cycle or from July to December (“We did not want that to be brought out into the public domain,” McGarity said), but a June invoice provides details of the type of work that Georgia is provided.
There were more than 13 hours for the review of Richt’s bank accounts including organizing deposits, and additional hours for phone conferences with Richt, McGarity, Slive, SEC associate commissioner Greg Sankey, then-Georgia compliance director Eric Baumgartner and former athletic director Damon Evans.
Richt took part in six telephone calls involving Glazier between May 4 and May 31, according to the invoice.
An internal investigation showed that Richt paid more than $25,000 from his personal bank account to football staff members that resulted in three secondary violations for “supplemental pay” after Georgia’s previous athletic administration turned down his requests for raises. McGarity wrote in a letter to the SEC that the university believes Richt “acted out of a generous heart and certainly without any intent to violate NCAA rules.”
They were part of a series of secondary violations Georgia reported in November, and Richt and the staffers found to have been in violation received letters of admonishment and were to undergo additional rules education.
“Georgia, like all the clients that I have, wants to do everything they can to be in compliance with the rules,” Glazier said. “It’s a very thick rule book and it’s hard to stay 100-percent in compliance. I think the key is that you’re always trying. When you find out that you might not be in compliance, you do what you need to do develop all the facts and then present them to the NCAA and take whatever actions are needed to correct those. That’s what Georgia has asked me to do and I’ve known President (Michael) Adams for some time, too, through all his work in intercollegiate athletics. So it’s pretty easy when you work with the University of Georgia. It’s very clear what they want you to do and that’s consistent with what we require with anyone we take on as a client.”
WHERE RICHT’S MONEY WENT
Georgia football coach Mark Richt paid more than $25,000 from his personal bank account to several assistants and athletic department staff members after Georgia’s previous athletic administration turned down his request for raises or did not give bonuses he felt were due. Georgia self-reported the instances to the NCAA, which found three of them to be secondary violations. Among the payments reported:
— Charlie Cantor, former recruiting assistant, $10,842. The payments were made over 13 months after Cantor did not get a raise due to campus-wide pay freezes and furloughs. Richt felt Cantor was underpaid and could not change his “undesirable living conditions” until he had a raise. This was found to be a secondary violation.
— John Jancek, former linebackers coach, $10,000. Janeck had an offer to become the defensive coordinator at South Florida in 2009, and Richt asked Georgia to give Jancek a raise to keep him at Georgia. The school denied the request because Jancek, now co-defensive coordiantor at Cincinnati, was not a coordinator, so Richt wrote him a personal check. This was found to be a secondary violation.
— John Eason, director of player development, $6,150. Richt wrote Eason checks after he switched from receivers coach to an administrative position, leading to a reduced salary. This was found to be a secondary violation.
— Dave Johnson, former tight ends coach, $15,337.50. Richt wrote the checks because he believed Johnson was due a longevity bonus Richt believed he was owed after leaving to coach the offensive line at West Virginia. This was not found to be a violation.
— Jon Fabris, former defensive ends coach, $12,000. Richt thought the severance package paid by the school was not large enough. Fabris is now the defensive line coach at Louisville. This was found not to be a violation because Richt consulted with athletic department officials.
— Various athletic department staff members, $15,277. Richt provided gifts to 10 people out of a personal “giving account” to non-coaching staff members who did not receive bowl bonuses from the school. Among those paid were director of sports medicine Ron Courson, video coordinator Joe Tereshinski and football operations manager Josh Brooks. These payments were found not to be violations because Richt consulted with athletic department officials.