IMG College’s long, slow takeover of college athletic departments moved into a new phase a couple days ago when Sports Business Journal reported that Damon Evans, the former Georgia AD, will be tapped to start up the company’s fundraising group. Like sponsorships and ticket sales, IMG will assist schools with fundraising and may ultimately take over the department from colleges, similar to how corporate sponsorships are handled with IMG or one of its competitors.
So far IMG has been focused on external operations, like sponsorships and ticketing. But the outsourcing of some internal departments seems like a natural fit. And of an athletic department’s internal operations, compliance is second to only facility management as a potential foray for companies like IMG.
The setup for an outside company like IMG taking over compliance seems straightforward. The athletic department would still employ someone in charge of compliance to at least be the liaison to IMG (for example’s sake). IMG would hire and place full-time compliance staff members at the university. Central or regional offices would provide back office assistance, especially during busy periods like fall academic certification. And additional resources could be brought in when necessary like a major infractions investigation.
A likely prerequisite for moving into this area would be IMG or a competitor acquiring one of the existing compliance software providers, like ACS, Field Level, Jump Forward, Blue Chip, or Scoutware. Such a system would be necessary for coordinating on-campus and back office personnel, and these companies already have expertise, infrastructure, and relationships with athletic departments.
While some of the connection between compliance and coaching staffs may be lost, the big win would be an increased independence for the compliance office. Contracts can be cancelled, but the individuals working on campus would be less at risk for retaliation than those employed by the university. That could avoid some of the violations and issues where compliance is pressured by the senior administration or coaches to ignore violations or allow programs to operate in grey areas.