“The LEAD1 Angle” Episode 3: Jason Setchen, Athlete Defender


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Written Recap

Episode three of “The LEAD1 Angle with Tom McMillen” is joined by Jason Setchen, who created his own law firm, Athlete Defender, geared towards representing student-athletes in NCAA matters.

Setchen’s message is the following – often times, at least in NCAA matters, athletics departments and attorneys representing student-athletes, have a tendency to act in an adversarial manner, which results in unnecessary litigation. Setchen believes that it behooves all parties to, instead, work collaboratively and cooperatively to achieve better results for student-athletes. In this regard, Setchen urges athletics departments to better educate student-athletes about the NCAA enforcement system, where being more forthcoming with potential NCAA rules violations can lead to less severe punishments. Setchen, for example, believes that, in some cases, student-athletes who are not as forthcoming may be punished for an entire season, which may have, instead, only been a few games with more honesty and transparency. For this message to better resonate with student-athletes, Setchen would advise athletics departments to more frequently recruit former student-athletes who have committed NCAA rules violations, to speak to current student-athletes, about their experiences.

Setchen also discussed other timely NCAA legislative issues including potential name, image, and likeness (NIL) enforcement rule changes, as well as possible changes to the one-time transfer exception. According to Setchen, significant education will be needed for student-athletes entering into business relationships with potential agents and third parties, and although the implementation of the one-time transfer exception for all sports may actually hurt his practice (resulting in fewer student-athlete waiver cases), Setchen believes that the proposed changes better align with the new trend in college athletics of increased student-athlete empowerment.