Sunday, February 10, 2013

NCAA and Custody

Last week was National Signing Day.   Normally I don't care where high schoolers are going to college (unless related to me).   This blog is about professional athletes and their family law problems.   College students -- even pre-college students -- are not technically professional athletes.   But hey, the schools will make millions off the sweat of these kids and this is too good a story.

Alex Collins a star player in Plantation, Florida went to his high school to sign his NLI.  He wants to go to Arkansas (soooey).   His mom wants him to go to Miami (uh yeah whatever they say there).   She took his Letter of Intent and left the building.  The obvious solution is "Get another Letter."   Apparently it is not that easy.   Although some of these high schoolers are 18 and will most likely be 18 by the time they play for their chosen school, the NCAA apparently requires a parent to co-sign.

So end of story unless Alex can talk him mom around right?   Well, Alex did what we all did when we were kids.   Mom said no, so he asked his Dad.  They got  a new letter and signed it the next day with Dad co-signing.

Mom retaliated by hiring a lawyer.  She is exploring her legal options.   Not sure what they are with regards to forcing her son to go to a school he doesn't want to go.   He's going to play football, it's not like she has to pay for his education.

But she might have grounds to challenge the legality of the NLI.   Alex's Mom and Dad are not married.   Presumably there is a custody order.   Custody takes two forms -- physical and legal.   Physical is where the child lays his head at night.   Where does Alex sleep (or supposed to sleep, there are indications he actually lives with his coach) on a regular basis?   Physical custody won't mean anything in this mess.

Legal custody is the big one.   Legal custody is the big life decisions about a child.   What religion is he raised in?  Does he attend public or private school?   Do we allow him to play football?  And the big one -- who can legally sign documents on the child's behalf.

Legal custody can be joint or sole.   If joint, the parents must consult with each other and reach shared decisions about the child.   If sole, only one parent makes the decisions but should keep the other parent informed.

If Alex's Mom had joint custody with Alex's Dad, it may be determined that either parent could sign the NLI just as if there were no custody order.   If Alex's Mom had sole though, Dad might not have had authority to sign it.   If Dad had no authority, the signing is void.   Which means Alex is back to persuading Mom to let him cut the aprons strings and move away from home.

I am going to keep watching this to see if anything actually happens from Mom retaining a lawyer.