CHARLES W. MENTKOWSKI SPORTS LAW ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR AWARD
Aaron Hernandez, Law '13
While Aaron’s childhood dream of becoming a pilot for the USAF Thunderbirds didn’t come true, he still hopes to someday get his pilot’s license. In the meantime, he takes approximately 130 commercial flights per year as the NCAA’s assistant director of enforcement, football development. Aaron works on cases related to college football recruiting, developing relationships throughout the league that help him investigate reports of recruiting infractions, student-athlete well-being concerns, and criminal activity. He’s one of the primary liaisons to the Big 12 and the American Athletic conferences and a subject matter expert in Texas’ football recruiting landscape. He’s also the main liaison to the NCAA Office of Inclusion and the NCAA liaison to the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
“My work has allowed me to see the country, change perceptions about the NCAA and make impacting change. I travel constantly and have learned so much about our country and its different cultures. Through this travel, I’ve personally been able to change people’s perceptions about the NCAA National Office and how our enterprise operates — that’s pretty rewarding.”
Aaron feels Marquette benefited him greatly. “Marquette has the best sports law program in the country, without question. This gave me an edge in the industry from the outset of my career.”
Aaron gives back by helping Marquette’s National Sports Law Institute with recruiting, and he helped establish a sports law student externship program with NCAA’s Enforcement Office. He also regularly returns to Marquette to speak on substantive issues in college sports.
Aaron’s formula for success mirrors Marquette values: “Treat people right. Work very hard. Never stop learning or making new friends. Trust God’s plan.”
What are you involved with outside of work? “I’m currently in the middle of planning a trip to Antarctica. I’d like to visit every continent in my lifetime. I just took a trip to Alaska, and I might as well use the gear again.”
Most influential person in your life? “My high school band director, Mark Myers, taught me a lot about accountability, leadership, and general philosophy on life. He really laid a foundation for my adult life, and that foundation has served me well.”