From kid leagues to college, lots of money and shifting rules make the playing field tough for anyone trying to uncover the rougher side of sports. Little League organizations have virtually no oversight of their finances or rules. High school athletic associations are nonprofit groups that lord over millions of teenage athletes and can loft hefty punishments against students, most of whom never will play in college. And at colleges, TV money has tripled athletics revenue, which has warped spending at a lot of schools, enriching coaches and marketing agencies alike.
But name and likeness lawsuits, helmet safety issues, Title IX lawsuits, player pay and other issues have started demanding a piece of that money. At the same time, bribery scandals, academic fraud, sexual assault and other problems can make you wonder if anyone’s really in charge. Here's what you need to know about the changing landscape and where to find documents and data to help uncover these important local sports stories.