Heading toward his second fall as a Las Vegan after six years at Boston’s Northeastern University, Eric Nepomuceno (feel free to call him “Nepo”) says this city reminds him of his hometown of Queens, New York, in at least one significant way — diversity. The diversity in people, styles, and even the food. That diversity extends to campus, of course, where he is involved with all 17 varsity Rebel sports programs and their nearly 480 student-athletes in his role as UNLV senior associate athletics director for compliance.
Using just one sentence, how would you explain what athletics compliance is?
Athletics compliance is responsible for ensuring integrity in intercollegiate sports through rules education and monitoring.
Inspiration to get into your field
NCAA compliance brought two of my passions together — sports and the law. I have always been an avid sports fan, playing Little League baseball as a youngster and working as a football equipment manager for the University of Michigan. In addition, graduating from law school was one of my greatest academic accomplishments.
Is this what you thought you'd do when you grew up?
No one grows up wanting to be a compliance officer. However, I did grow up wanting to effect change in the lives of others. Through my role as a compliance officer in athletics, I believe that I have been able to do just that. One big example of that is the waivers we put through directly impact and influence the student-athlete experience.
What drew you to UNLV?
UNLV was attractive to me because of the people who were already in place and the trajectory of the athletics department. I saw an opportunity to learn from great leaders on campus while having the potential to be involved in something special moving forward.
I enjoy outdoor activities, traveling, playing cards, and up-close, sleight-of-hand magic. I look forward to getting to see some of the best magicians in the world right here in Vegas.
Something people would be surprised to learn about you
We have three sons and each was born a different state. Lucas, 5, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Aaron, 3, was born in Providence, Rhode Island; and Nolan (2019) is Vegas born.
Books on your bedside table
The Bible, anything by Dr. Seuss (for my children), and right now I am finishing Finding a Way to Win by Bill Parcells.
Biggest misconception about UNLV or Las Vegas before you got here
Well, my wife thought that Vegas was just hotels and casinos. We were both pleasantly surprised to discover that the city is very family-friendly. We find ourselves spending a great amount of time at the Children’s Museum or Springs Preserve on any given weekend.
The most Vegas thing you’ve done
I’ve been to a handful of Vegas Knights games. I even went to a preseason game where the atmosphere was electric — you would have thought it was a playoff game because it was sold out and extremely loud.
Your guilty pleasure
I have a sweet tooth, so desserts are my guilty pleasure. My favorites are rainbow cookies, any cheesecake, and Oreo ice cream.
A family food tradition
My wife, Marka, makes great fresh guacamole. We have her guac and chips during special occasions or family dinner nights.
Favorite place you’ve ever visited
I enjoy traveling and seeing new places. Typically, if I have been somewhere once, I don’t return because I want to see and experience somewhere new. The exception for me has been Costa Rica. The country is filled with beautiful landscape and nature, from hot springs to live volcanoes. In addition, the food is rich and flavorful, including the freshest guava and papaya. I have enjoyed two trips to Costa Rica and look forward to visiting again.
How does Vegas weather compare to where you were previously?
Coming from Boston, I feel as if I have traded in my shovel and snow boots for sunblock and flip flops. The weather in Vegas is much better in that regard.