Meet Athletics’ newest compliance coordinator

Mari+Rakijas+works+with+Charlie+Tortorici+to+acclimate+him+to+the+new+compliance+job.
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Meet Athletics’ newest compliance coordinator

Mari Rakijas works with Charlie Tortorici to acclimate him to the new compliance job.

Mari Rakijas works with Charlie Tortorici to acclimate him to the new compliance job.

Mari Rakijas works with Charlie Tortorici to acclimate him to the new compliance job.

Mari Rakijas works with Charlie Tortorici to acclimate him to the new compliance job.

Sadie Layher, Staff Intern

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Behind the scenes of every athletics department stands a compliance coordinator that handles all of the legal matters for athletes, coaches and teams.

Charlie Tortorici is Oakland University’s new compliance coordinator and has been working with Mari Rakijas for the past two weeks to become acclimated to his new position. Rakijas is relatively new as well, she started here at Oakland late in August 2016.

This will be Tortorici’s first time working for a Division I compliance team, though he has worked for several Division II programs in the past. Most of his daily duties include digitizing the files from previous seasons so it is easier to find information, especially if problems with NCAA arise.

“Across the board, I’ve seen the biggest issue is calling a prospect when they’re too young… which is prior to the permissible date,” Rakijas said.

Both compliance employees have law degrees. Tortorici graduated from University of Florida in 2013 with a bachelor’s in sport management and a minor in business administration. He eventually went back to school at Marquette University Law School and graduated earlier this year.

Prior to Oakland University, Tortorici was at Wisconsin-Parkside, a Division II school, “where he assisted with athlete eligibility certification for prospective and transfer student athletes.”

“I always knew I wanted to get into sports in one form or another,” Tortorici said.

He was not aware of the sports compliance field until he went to Marquette. After learning about the job, he instantly knew it was something he wanted to do and was incredibly passionate about it.

While looking to fill the position, Rakijas needed someone who was passionate and truly cared despite this being like an “entry-level” position. Tortorici obviously fit the bill.

“This is what he wanted to do. He was knowledgeable about it and it was something he was committed to,” Rakijas said.   

His job at Wisconsin-Parkside was an internship, so this position at Oakland University will be his first full-time compliance job.

During education sessions for coaches, Rakijas makes sure that they are not boring for her audience. She enjoys using memes during her presentations so it is a fun and enjoyable learning experience. The compliance team wants to create an atmosphere of casualness and approachableness so coaches feel comfortable asking questions and coming to report different issues.

As for some highpoints of the job so far, Tortorici “enjoys coming into the office every day…and I love working with Mari as she has taught me so much already.”