Athletics Advising

The Firm has built a unique practice advising college coaches across the country. From crisis management to proactively building a positive team culture, Samantha Ekstrand has worked with over 100 male and female coaches from all three divisions during the past seven years.  Whether it is a hazing incident, Title IX investigation, or complaints made by student-athletes or their parents, a coach needs to be well-advised in navigating those challenging and, at times, emotional processes. Samantha offers an experienced and calming perspective.

Having been a Division I college athlete, a college, high school and youth coach, a high school teacher, an attorney in one of the most significant criminal and civil cases involving athletes in the country (the “Duke Lacrosse case”) and a mother of five, Samantha has a clear sense of what it means to be “in the trenches.” Athletics presents a different landscape with different pressures, expectations and influences. Having someone who is familiar with the team environment is a critical edge.

Coaches with whom Samantha has worked have written:

“I will never be able to thank you enough for your wisdom, patience and advice…”

“Your guidance helped us get the best possible outcome and I don’t know that we would have had the same result without it.”

“I don’t know what I would have done without you. Thank you.”

Samantha also enjoys giving presentations to coaches, administrators and athletic departments. Some of these talks have included topics such as crisis management, effective communication, recruiting, contract negotiations, employment security, dealing with the media, bullying, harassment and Title IX. As legal counsel for the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), Samantha is able to advise lacrosse and softball coaches as a member benefit. In addition to crisis management, Samantha negotiates, reviews and revises contracts, separation agreements, and performance improvement plans.  She also educates and strategizes with coaches to prevent problems and complaints within their programs. She advises the Board of Directors of both the IWLCA and NFCA on risk management issues, organizational processes and NCAA rules and regulations. Currently, she is leading the effort with Division I lacrosse coaches to stem early recruiting through an NCAA legislative proposal.

If you are a coach or athletic administrator who could use advice on any of the issues described above, we encourage you to contact the Firm. It could be a career or life-changing call.