McCarthy Named UM Athletics Compliance Officer and Senior Associate Counsel

Attorney will bolster athletics compliance efforts, provide legal support for Ole Miss athletics

Paul McCarthy

OXFORD, Miss. – Paul McCarthy, an experienced lawyer with an extensive background in intercollegiate athletics, has been named athletics compliance officer and senior associate general counsel at the University of Mississippi.

McCarthy brings more than 24 years of experience and expertise to UM from a career spanning private legal practice, higher education legal matters and senior administrative positions within collegiate athletics.

“I am honored to join the team of skilled and accomplished professionals at the University of Mississippi to successfully promote and support the legal and compliance operations of Ole Miss athletics,” McCarthy said. “Ole Miss is a premier national academic institution that competes at the highest level of collegiate athletics, and I’m tremendously excited to work with a great team committed to the success of this special university.”

In this new role, McCarthy will work out of the university’s Office of General Counsel, providing oversight and leadership for all compliance efforts, risk management and legal matters related to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. McCarthy will report to the chancellor on compliance matters and will work under the university’s chief legal officer and general counsel on all athletics-related legal affairs.

“This new position will play a central role in keeping athletics compliance and integrity at the forefront of Ole Miss,” Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said. “It provides us additional skills and expertise in our university compliance efforts and will strengthen an already exceptional legal team. We are very pleased to welcome Paul McCarthy to the Ole Miss family.”

McCarthy comes to Ole Miss from the University of Connecticut, where he served most recently with both the office of general counsel and the athletics leadership team during two decades on staff. McCarthy served as deputy athletics director for UConn from 2011 to 2016 before being appointed senior counsel for the university, a role that he’s fulfilled for the last three years.

“On the athletics front, Paul is battle-tested, seasoned and sharp,” said Erica McKinley, UM chief legal officer and general counsel. “He is a remarkable hire, best-in-class.”

A UConn graduate, McCarthy was in private practice for four years before returning to his alma mater in 1997. He held multiple senior positions with the university’s legal team before transitioning to the athletics department in 2006, initially as senior associate athletics director before being elevated to deputy athletics director.

In 10 years with Huskies athletics, McCarthy led a number of major transactional projects and all contractual agreements, including Nike, IMG College, stadium and arena leases, and coaches’ contracts. He also supervised department legal affairs and risk management, directed annual Title IX reviews, provided oversight to the NCAA compliance office, served on multiple university committees and was sport administrator for national championship men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“We appreciate the support of Chancellor Vitter and Erica as we move our athletics program forward,” said Ross Bjork, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics. “We believe this is an innovative move, and we are proud to be one of the few athletics departments in the nation with dedicated legal counsel.

“Paul’s background in athletics and legal matters makes him a perfect fit for this new position.”

McCarthy will oversee the athletics compliance office, which is led on a day-to-day basis by Julie Owen, who recently was promoted to senior associate athletics director for compliance.

“We are equally excited about Julie Owen’s leadership of our day-to-day athletics compliance program with her recent promotion,” Bjork said. “The combination of Paul and Julie creates an effective and efficient structure in our compliance efforts, and from a legal standpoint, Paul has the vision to guide us through the complex challenges we face in college athletics today.”

McCarthy will officially assume his duties Nov. 26.