OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — When Mike Glazier was playing quarterback for Rube Berry at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in 1973, being a lawyer was the furthest thing from his mind.
Now he’s one of the preeminent college sports lawyers in the United States.
Glazier, who was born in Neosho, signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1975 after graduating from Indiana, but was cut in the preseason.
“I realized that was beyond my ability,” he said by phone from his office in Overland Park, Kansas, where he is managing member of Bond Schoeneck & King (BSK).
He was founder and chair of the firm’s college sports practice, which is based in Overland Park.
According to his bio on the firm’s website, “Mike's practice is concentrated on the representation of colleges, universities, athletics conferences, associations and individuals in NCAA infractions, eligibility and compliance-related matters.”
BSK, based in Syracuse, New York, has 11 offices in three states.
“I don’t know that I always had wanted to be a lawyer,” Glazier said. “I half jokingly say that the reason I went to law school is so I could put off having to get a real job for another three years.
“There wasn’t a grand plan.”
Glazier said the only positive thing he did in ’75 while trying to figure out his future was to take the law school entrance exam.
He was accepted and enrolled in the John Marshall Law School in Chicago the next year.
“When I got out of school (in 1979), the idea of just practicing law in general wasn’t that appealing to me,” Glazier said. “I knew at the time NCAA hired people with law backgrounds.”
He talked to Lee Corso — his head coach at Indiana and now a featured member on ESPN’s College GameDay.
Corso knew somebody who was with the NCAA at that time.
Glazier got an interview and was offered a job.
He spent seven years with the NCAA, processing infraction cases, serving as staff liaison with the American Football Coaches Association (Berry’s son, Todd, now is the executive director) and Postseason Bowl Committee.
“Both of those gave me really good exposure to people in college athletics on campuses,” Glazier said.
He has authored several published articles on collegiate sports law and the NCAA and is a frequent speaker for both athletics and attorney organizations.
Glazier has been called one of the 50 most influential people in sports by Sporting News and has been the subject of feature articles in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education and numerous other publications.
Mike Slive reached out to Glazier after hearing he was leaving the NCAA.
They got together and decided to give it a shot developing a practice in Chicago (the Slive/Glazier Sports Group) in 1986, representing universities in NCAA-related matters.
It took the pair about a weekend to map things out, “but it worked out for both of us.”
Glazier set out on his own after Slive was hired as the first commissioner of the Great Midwest Conference in 1995.
“When he did that, I just brought the practice back to Kansas City,” Glazier said.
"You could tell right away that Mike was a quality human being," Corso said in a 2009 interview with the Orlando Sentinel. "I knew he would be a very good leader for our team and would go on to do something really special in life. He had integrity."
Glazier spent his freshman season at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State), and then transferred to NEO in time for the 1973 season.
He spent his final two seasons at Indiana.
The one thing Glazier remembers about his time in Miami: a Rube Berry practice was never easy.
“I think about that today,” Glazier said. “They’ve got rules now where they don’t even put on pads two days in a row. They are limited on how many hours a day they can practice. For us old-timers, it seems kinda cushy these days.”
He completed 51 of 87 passes for 1,369 yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 10 games with the Golden Norse.
“Even though I was only there for a year, I was one of the more memorable years of my life,” Glazier said. “I have good feelings about the place. It was a small town but the whole town was very supportive and interested. You would have people pull up, sit in their lawn chairs and watch practice in the evenings.”
He’s been involved in some high profile cases over the years, working with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as well as the University of Miami, Washington, Syracuse, Florida, Florida State, Minnesota, Villanova and Iowa State.
“I’ve had clients all over the country,” Glazier said.
He said he normally won’t represent individual coaches, but there was one exception.
“Joe Castiglione (OU athletic director) called and said they had a basketball issue down there,” Glazier said. “Joe asked me if I would work with Kelvin (then-Sooner basketball coach Kelvin Sampson). Usually I don’t represent coaches, but in that case, Joe had been a friend for a long time. I did it.”
Sampson was dogged by NCAA sanctions over impermissible telephone calls, first at Oklahoma and then at Indiana, where he eventually resigned.
“I felt badly about how he was treated at Indiana,” Glazier said. “It just didn’t work out.”
Glazier said most schools are trying to comply with the countless rules and regulations of the NCAA.
“Even when people try their best, there is always going to be somebody who slips up on occasion,” he said. “What I have found over the years is that most of these schools really are trying to do it the right way. There are a few out there who don’t get it done.”
Rules adopted by the NCAA are recommended by various coaching organizations.
“The rules get adopted by the member schools, so the NCAA as an organization is just trying to deal with the rules that their members give them’” Glazier said. “Some people I think tend to be critical of the NCAA because sometimes they interpret rules in ways that I don’t think the member schools really intended for them to be interpreted.”
One rule that has drawn fire is the one the head coach responsibility rule where if there are infractions, the head coach is responsible and faces suspension.
“That rule became because American Football Coaches and the National Association of Basketball Coaches were pushing the NCAA to hold the coaches more accountable,” Glazier said. “Now that the NCAA is doing that, the coaches are pushing back and are saying ‘we really didn’t mean for you to do it as strongly as you are doing it.’ It’s obvious that in any kind of a competitive environment, you have to have got to have rules.
“Setting the right balance is hard. For the most part I don’t think the NCAA as an organization is doing anything other than what they have been directed to do by their members.”
Jim Ellis is sports editor of the Miami News-Record. He can be reached by phone at 918-542-5508 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mnrsportsguy.