Monthly Feature: Get to Know... Kyle Skillman
February 1, 2022
By: Kyle Skillman
Football, basketball, track and field, baseball. … It might be quicker to list the sports Kyle Skillman did not play while growing up on the south side of Indianapolis.
“It runs in my blood, on both sides,” says Kyle, an attorney in Bond’s collegiate sports practice in Kansas City.
Baseball was the cream that eventually rose to the top, earning him a scholarship to play with the Blue Raiders at Middle Tennessee State University. He studied criminal justice at MTSU, with minors in psychology and political science. If a career in baseball didn’t pan out, he reasoned, maybe something in law enforcement instead.
“Once I saw somebody throw a major league curveball, I realized the major leagues probably weren’t in the cards for me,” Kyle says.
He briefly toyed with the idea of applying to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. But by the time senior year rolled around, he still wasn’t certain of his path. He decided law school would not only earn him a valuable law degree, it would also buy him three more years to figure it all out.
While at the University of Kansas School of Law, Kyle served as co-president of the sports and entertainment law society, a role that provided a first glimpse of job opportunities beyond those at a traditional large law firm. In his second year, a flyer announcing a law clerk job with the collegiate sports practice at Bond, the nation's premier practice group for the representation of colleges and universities in NCAA rules compliance, eligibility and infractions matters, appeared in his campus mailbox. He got the job and immediately set out to find ways to make himself indispensable to the attorneys in the Kansas City office.
All the while, he soaked up as much knowledge as possible from the office’s lead attorneys, Rick Evrard, Steve Morgan and Mike Glazier. That was in 2003.
“I really just never left,” he said. “I was persistent in my pursuit of understanding what Mike and Rick did.”
In all his time playing college baseball, Kyle never realized there were people on campus whose full-time job was to understand and comply with NCAA rules, or that an entire division of the association was dedicated to investigating and processing violations of those rules.
“It was a lot to learn, but also easy to learn because it all made sense to me,” Kyle says.
Without his own personal sports history, the learning curve would likely have been much steeper than it was.
“Everybody here (in the Kansas City office) was a college athlete,” he says. “It helps. The people you communicate with on campus have dedicated their lives to athletics and to the student athlete experience.”
Kyle concentrates his practice on representing higher education institutions in NCAA compliance and infractions matters.
His job often requires him to travel to college campuses around the country – he’s on the road as many as 60 nights a year – to investigate alleged NCAA rule violations, interview witnesses and follow leads.
“We end up behind the scenes a lot. In some ways, it’s like a law enforcement investigation,” he says. “There’s a lot of research to find people. I might have three campus interviews with school employees, then follow a lead to a local bowling alley to interview the manager, then zip across town to a restaurant to track down a receipt.”
In his free time, Kyle continued playing baseball – about 20 games a year in a wood bat league with his buddies – until about two years ago. These days, he says he limits himself to “mostly old guy activities,” like running, backpacking/hiking with old friends, and keeping up with his energetic daughters, ages 5 and 9.
The girls are engaged in their own process of elimination to settle on their activity of choice – jumping from swimming to gymnastics to ballet.
“They tend to keep us busy,” he says.