Daily Compliance Item- 10/31/12- Personalized Recruiting Aids

M.T. Backfield is a prospective student-athlete interested in playing football at Ocean State University (OSU) next year.  M.T. is visiting OSU’s campus today for an official visit.  Since it is Halloween, the OSU coaches decorated M.T.’s hotel room by spelling out his name in candy on the bed.

Is this permissible?

No.  NCAA Bylaw states that an institution may not arrange miscellaneous, personalized recruiting aids (e.g., personalized jerseys, personalized audio/video scoreboard presentations) and may not permit a prospective student-athlete to engage in any game-day simulations (e.g., running onto the field with the team during pregame introductions) during an official visit. Personalized recruiting aids include any decorative items and special additions to any location the prospective student-athlete will visit (e.g., hotel room, locker room, coach’s office, conference room, arena) regardless of whether the items include the prospective student-athlete’s name or picture.

This fact pattern is an actual secondary violation posted on LSDBi.  The violation was discovered after another institution saw that the prospect had posted a photo of the candy on his Facebook page.  The institution was penalized recruiting opportunities during the current academic year. In addition, the student-athlete was deemed ineligible for intercollegiate competition at the institution until his eligibility was restored by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.  This is a Division I case.

Daily Compliance Item- 10/30/12- NCAA Enforcement Article

Board adopts tougher, more efficient
enforcement program


The Division I Board of Directors today adopted an overhauled enforcement structure that creates additional levels of infractions, hastens the investigation process and ratchets up penalties for the most egregious violations.

New violation structure

Level I: Severe breach of conduct

Level II: Significant breach of conduct

Level III: Breach of conduct

Level IV: Incidental issues

The Board’s action culminates a year-long effort from a 13-member group of presidents, athletics directors, commissioners and others assigned after participants at a presidential retreat in August 2011 called for a more stringent and efficient enforcement structure to uphold the integrity of the collegiate model of athletics.

“We have sought all along to remove the ‘risk-reward’ analysis that has tempted people – often because of the financial pressures to win at all costs – to break the rules in the hopes that either they won’t be caught or that the consequences won’t be very harsh if they do get caught,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “The new system the Board adopted today is the result of a lot of hard work and membership input devoted to protecting the collegiate model.”

At its core, the new enforcement structure:

  • Introduces a four-tier violation hierarchy that ranges from severe breaches of conduct to incidental infractions. The structure, which replaces the current two-tier approach (major and secondary violations), is designed to focus most on conduct breaches that seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of the NCAA Constitution (Levels I and II in the accompanying list).
  • Enhances head coach responsibility/accountability and potential consequences for head coaches who fail to direct their staffs and student-athletes to uphold NCAA bylaws. Penalties include imposed suspensions that can range from 10 percent of the season to an entire season.
  • Increases the Division I Committee on Infractions from 10 to as many as 24 voting members from which smaller panels will be assembled to review cases more quickly and efficiently.
  • Continues to offer harsh consequences (postseason bans, scholarship reductions, recruiting limits, head coach suspensions, show-cause orders and financial penalties) that align more predictably with the severity of the violations. The new penalty structure also places a premium on aggravating and mitigating circumstances in each case.
  • Emphasizes a culture among head coaches, the compliance community, institutional leadership and conferences to assume a shared responsibility for upholding the values of intercollegiate athletics.

The new structure becomes effective Aug. 1, 2013, which means the following as far as processing cases is concerned:

  • Conduct breaches that occurred before Oct. 30, 2012 and are processed before Aug. 1, 2013 will be subject to the current process and penalties.
  • Conduct breaches that occurred before Oct. 30, 2012 but are processed after Aug. 1, 2013 would be subject to the new process but would incur the more lenient of the two penalty structures (current and revised).
  • Conduct breaches that occurred during a span that includes both before and after Oct. 30, 2012 and are processed after Aug. 1, 2013 will be subject to new process and the revised penalties as long as most of the violations occurred after Oct. 30, 2012.
  • Conduct breaches that occur after Oct. 30, 2012 and are processed after Aug. 1, 2013 will be subject to both the new process and the revised penalty structure.

Board of Directors chair Nathan Hatch, president at Wake Forest, praised the new enforcement process that aligns with a companion effort to streamline bylaws and focus rules-making more on the NCAA’s fundamental principles. The Rules Working Group, led by Clemson President James Barker, forwarded a number of recommendations to the Board that are expected to be acted upon in January.

“A more sensible rules book combined with a more efficient way to enforce those rules will serve to sustain the collegiate model and restore public trust in college sports and the NCAA,” Hatch said. “These outcomes are precisely what presidents sought after the 2011 retreat.”

Oregon State President Ed Ray, former chair of the NCAA Executive Committee who also chairs the Enforcement Working Group, said the new multi-level violation structure allows infractions to be more appropriately categorized. In turn, penalties may be prescribed that better reflect the severity of the infraction.

Ray also noted the more efficient process resulting from an increase in members to hear cases. By expanding the Committee on Infractions to as many as 24 members and creating multiple panels from that “pool” that can adjudicate cases more frequently, Ray said the time to process the less-complicated cases could be cut in half.

Under the new structure, for example, hearings for Level I cases will be scheduled about 10 times annually (compared with the five meetings the current Committee on Infractions schedules). Level II cases can be scheduled monthly if necessary.

“A primary complaint we heard from the membership was that processing major cases took too long, not only from the investigative stage but also once it was agreed that there was a major infraction – it took too long to get on the Committee on Infractions hearing docket,” said Ray.

Ray also acknowledged a membership concern regarding potential inconsistent outcomes among cases in the new structure given the makeup of panel members drawn from the pool approach. However, he said the process ensures that several members of each panel, including the chair, will have had some previous experience with the Committee on Infractions.

“There may be new people on each panel but they’ll have experienced colleagues to work with,” Ray said.

In addition, the entire Committee on Infractions is required to meet at least twice annually (at least once in person) to review cases across panels and check for consistency in terms of the way the guidelines are applied.

“And the penalty guidelines will help,” Ray added. “When you give people side rails and tell them to stay within them, presumably there will be a lot of commonality among the judgments that emerge.”

As for the penalties themselves, Ray said the working group felt that the current structure didn’t offer enough of a deterrent for individuals who believe the anticipated benefits and advantages resulting from premeditated rules violations outweigh the severity of punishment.

The core consequences in the new structure are familiar (postseason bans, scholarship reductions and financial sanctions, among others) but are customizable according to the severity of the violation. The membership has on multiple occasions acknowledged that postseason bans, scholarship reductions and coach suspensions offer the most effective deterrent to potential rule breakers – and they are also the most effective in addressing the advantages gained as a result.

Enhanced penalties for coaches also highlight the new structure. Since 2008, about a dozen cases have occurred in which a head coach was found to have violated Bylaw (head coach responsibility) by either not promoting an atmosphere of compliance or for not monitoring his or her staff, or both.

Penalties in the previous structure relied on whether the head coach knew of the violations or whether there was a “presumption of knowledge.” But under the new structure, rather than focus on knowledge or the presumption of it, the bylaw will be amended to presume only responsibility. Accordingly, if a violation occurs, the head coach is presumed responsible, and if he or she can’t overcome that presumption, charges will be forthcoming.

“We expect head coaches to provide practices and training and written materials that instruct their assistant coaches how to act,” Ray said. “If they’ve done that it can become mitigating evidence that they shouldn’t be held accountable for what the assistant coach did. But head coaches have to have these things in place or the presumption will be that he or she didn’t care enough to set standards. In that case, if the assistant goes rogue, then it’s partly the head coach’s fault and they need to be held accountable.”

The entirety of the new structure is based on membership review and feedback over the past year. With approval of the new structure in hand, the NCAA enforcement staff will embark on an educational campaign over the next nine months to prepare the membership for the implementation of the new structure.

“The working group developed these recommendations only after comprehensive and ongoing membership discussion and input,” Ray said. “I’m pleased not only with the magnitude of the changes but also with the representativeness with which they were achieved.”

This article was  sent to the Division II subscribers even though it pertains to Division I.  These changes will likely trickle down in the near future.

Daily Compliance Item- 10/29/12- Cancelled Competition

The men’s soccer team at Ocean State University had a contest scheduled yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.  Because of Hurricane Sandy, the game was cancelled ten minutes into play in the first half.  The student-athletes did not participate in any other countable athletically related activities on Sunday.  Can the coaches consider Sunday to be the required day off?

Yes.  NCAA Bylaw states that when an institution’s competition is canceled prior to the start of competition or canceled prior to the competition being considered a completed event in accordance with the playing rules of that sport, an institution may use that day as its required day off, provided the institution does not engage in any further countable athletically related activities during that day. (Adopted: 1/16/93)

This is also applicable to Division II.

Men’s basketball, FBS football grad rates highest ever

Division I men’s basketball and Bowl Subdivision football student-athletes are finishing their college degrees at their highest rates ever.

And for the first time, the graduation rates in both high-profile sports have reached or exceeded 70 percent, according to the latest national figures from the NCAA.

In men’s basketball, the latest Graduation Success Rate has climbed to 74 percent, up 6 points from last year. In FBS football, the GSR has hit 70 percent, up 1 point.

These figures reflect GSRs for student-athletes who started college in 2005.

“Our academic reforms continue to bear fruit,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “We are not satisfied, but we are proud that we have reached another milestone, as now seven of every 10 student-athletes in our highest-profile sports are earning their degrees.”

Emmert noted that only 1.3 percent of men’s basketball student-athletes and 1.6 percent of football student-athletes go on to careers in professional athletics.

Men’s basketball and football traditionally have posted the lowest graduation rates among all sports. But in the 11 years since GSR data have been collected, men’s basketball is up 18 points – and is 21 points higher for African-American males in the sport. FBS football is up 7 points, and African-Americans in football have seen their GSR climb 9 percentage points.

The GSR for the last four graduating classes of all Division I student-athletes (2002-2005) remains at 80 percent, still an all-time high for the NCAA, Emmert said. The most recent one-year GSR for the 2005 class is 81 percent, down 1 point from last year. Most other sports remained steady or were down slightly in year-to-year comparisons (Download the 2012 GSR and Fed Trends PDF).

The overall GSR for the 2005 entering class is 7 points higher than the 1995 entering class.
The NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate includes transfer students and student-athletes who leave in good academic standing, unlike the federal graduation rate, which does not count transfers. The GSR and federal rate calculations measure graduation over six years from first-time college enrollment.

The federal graduation rate, while less inclusive than the GSR, provides the only measure of historic academic comparison between student-athletes and the general student body. By this standard, student-athletes consistently outperform nearly all their peers in the student body.

The latest data show that Division I student-athletes who entered college in 2005 equaled their highest federal graduation rate of 65 percent – 2 percentage points higher than the general student body at Division I institutions.
Every student-athlete group is graduating at rates higher than their peers except for white males, who are 1 point behind their counterparts in the student body under the federal rate.

“We are not satisfied, but we are proud that we have reached another milestone, as now seven out of every 10 student-athletes in our highest profile sports are earning their degrees.”
— Mark Emmert, NCAA president

Federal rates also provide a longer look at student-athlete academic achievement. They were first collected with the 1984 entering class, and in the past nearly quarter century there has been significant upward trending.

The overall federal graduation rate is up 13 points (from 52 percent), and the rate for African-American student-athletes jumped 19 points to 54 percent. African-American male student-athletes increased their federal rate 16 points to 49 percent, which is 10 points higher than African-American males in the student body. African-American female student-athletes increased their federal rate 19 points to 64 percent, outpacing their student body counterparts by 16 points.

Walter Harrison, president of the University of Hartford and chair of the Division I Committee on Academic Performance, noted the important progress in academic achievement by student-athletes over time.
Harrison said there are 1,600 more student-athlete graduates from the most recent cohort compared to 1995 had the GSR stayed constant.

“This represents real lives impacted in a positive way,” Harrison said. “I am impressed with the increasing focus on academics on our campuses nationally. Indeed, we have moved from academic reform to expectation.”
Divisions II, III student-athletes perform well academically
The NCAA also released the latest Division II graduation rate data, including the division’s Academic Success Rate. This is the seventh year the NCAA has released the Division II ASR, which is similar to the Division I Graduation Success Rate and also includes student-athletes not receiving athletically related financial aid.

The latest figures show a 72 percent ASR for the latest four years of Division II student-athletes, remaining steady compared to last year. The most recent one-year rate for the entering class of 2005 is down 1point, to 72 percent.
Even when using the less-inclusive federal rate, Division II student-athletes perform significantly better than the general student body. The federal rate for Division II student-athletes is 55 percent, the same as last year and 7 points higher than the overall student body at Division II colleges and universities.

Division III, meanwhile, has collected three years of data on student-athlete academic success from institutions participating in a voluntary academic reporting program that the Division III Presidents Council authorized in 2009.
For the 128 schools reporting success rate data for the 2005 entering cohort, the Academic Success Rate for student-athletes was 88 percent (83 percent for men and 94 percent for women). Those ASR rates have been consistent among the three years of the voluntary reporting program in Division III.

The federal graduation rate for student-athletes at these pilot schools for the 2005 cohort was 67 percent, as compared to 63 percent for the student bodies at those same campuses.

Daily Compliance Item- 10/25/12- 13.9.1- Requirements to Send Offer of Athletic Aid

Ocean State University is preparing for the upcoming National Letter of Intent (NLI) early signing period.  Which of the following is true with regard to the requirements that must be met before the coaches can send a prospect an NLI and written offer of athletic aid?


A.  Prospect must be placed on Ocean State University’s institutional request list (IRL) with the NCAA Eligibility Center

B.  Prospect must complete the NCAA Eligibility Center amateurism  certification questionnaire

C.  Prospect must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center

D.  All of the above


The answer is DNCAA Bylaw 13.9.1 states that the following requirements must be met before an institution may provide a written offer of athletically related financial aid (per Bylaw to a prospective student-athlete:  [D] (Adopted:  4/26/07 effective 8/1/07, Revised: 4/30/09 effective 8/1/10)

(a) A high school or preparatory school prospective student-athlete must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center;

(b) A high school or preparatory school prospective student-athlete must be placed on the institution’s institutional request list (IRL) with the NCAA Eligibility Center; and

(c) A high school, preparatory school  or transfer (if applicable) prospective student-athlete must complete the amateurism certification questionnaire administered by the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Daily Compliance Item- 10/24/12- NLI Celebratory Functions

The men’s basketball coaching staff at Ocean State University will be attending a celebratory function on the night of the initial National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing day for the early period.  Boosters, fans and members of the media will also be in attendance.  Is the coaching staff allowed to comment on the prospective student-athletes that have signed NLIs with Ocean State University?

Yes.  NCAA Bylaw states that coaching staff members may attend functions designed to celebrate the institution’s signees in the applicable sport and may discuss prospective student-athletes who have signed commitments to attend the institution, including discussions with working media, provided the institution previously has released communications of the prospective student-athletes’ commitments to attend the institution to media outlets.  (Adopted: 1/14/08)

Daily Compliance Item- 10/23/12- 14.1.10- Male Practice Players

The women’s basketball coaches at Ocean State University would like to have a few male students practice with the team this year on a regular basis.  Do these male students have to meet NCAA eligibility requirements for practice?

Yes.  NCAA Bylaw 14.1.10 states that it is permissible for male students to engage in practice sessions with women’s teams under the following conditions:  (Revised: 5/12/05, 5/29/08)

(a)  Male students who practice with an institution’s women’s team on an occasional basis must be verified as eligible for practice in accordance with Bylaw and must have eligibility remaining under the five-year rule (Bylaw 14.2.1);

(b)  Male students who practice with an institution’s women’s teams on a regular basis must be certified  as eligible for practice in accordance with all applicable NCAA eligibility regulations (e.g., must be enrolled in a minimum full-time program of studies, must sign a drug-testing consent form, must be included on the institution’s squad list);

(c)  It is not permissible for an institution to provide male students financial assistance (room and board, tuition and fees, and books) in return for practicing with a women’s team.  A male student who is receiving financial aid or any compensation for serving in any position in the athletics department may not practice with a women’s team.  A male student-athlete who is a counter in a men’s sport may not engage in practice sessions with an institution’s women’s team in any sport;

(d)  It is not permissible for an institution to provide male students room and board to remain on campus during a vacation period to participate in practice sessions with a women’s team;

(e)  It is not permissible for a male student-athlete who is serving an academic year of residence as a nonqualifier to participate in practice sessions with a women’s team; and

(f)  It is permissible for an institution to provide practice apparel to male students for the purpose of practicing with a women’s team.

Daily Compliance Item- 10/22/12- 13.10.3- Former Student-Athlete / Current High School Coach

Ocean State University conducts a weekly radio show with the head football coach.  On last night’s show, they interviewed a former football student-athlete who is now a high school coach at a local high school.

Is it permissible for the high school coach to participate on the radio show since he is a former student-athlete?

No.  NCAA Bylaw 13.10.3 states that a member institution shall not permit a prospective student-athlete or a high school, college preparatory school or two-year college coach to appear, be interviewed or otherwise be involved (in person or via film, audio tape or videotape) on: [D] (Revised: 8/15/04)

(a) A radio or television program conducted by the institution’s coach;

(b) A program in which the institution’s coach is participating; or

(c) A program for which a member of the institution’s athletics staff has been instrumental in arranging for the appearance of the prospective student-athlete or coach or related program material.


PLEASE NOTE:  This is an actual fact pattern for a secondary rules violation posted on LSDBi

Daily Compliance Item- 10/19/12- Current Event

NCAA seeks to block class action in O’Bannon case


Lawyers defending the NCAA in an anti-trust lawsuit related to the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses say the case should not be certified as a class action, in part, because the plaintiffs changed their legal strategy in a way that is unfair and could mean the NCAA has wasted “significant time and money” responding to the suit.

The NCAA and other defendants have spent millions of dollars on the case, initially filed in May 2009, and the NCAA has had to engage in a review of more than 650,000 documents, the association’s lawyers wrote in documents filed Wednesday with a U.S. District Court in California.

The NCAA’s lawyers signaled their belief that the case, now set for trial in June 2014, would be further delayed if the class certification is granted because new plaintiffs would be added and more pre-trial motions would be required.

Lawyers for former and current football and men’s basketball players are seeking damages from the NCAA; video-game maker Electronic Arts; and Collegiate Licensing Co., the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm. The 16 named plaintiffs, including former basketball stars Ed O’Bannon, Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell, say their names, images and likenesses were used illegally by the NCAA.

The former players allege that the defendants violated anti-trust law by conspiring to fix at zero the amount of compensation athletes can receive for the use of their names, images and likenesses in products or media while they are in school. They also are challenging the NCAA’s practice of requiring athletes to sign forms under which they allegedly relinquish in perpetuity all rights pertaining to the use of their names, images and likenesses in ways including TV contracts, rebroadcasts of games, and video game, jersey and other apparel sales.

In Wednesday’s filings, the NCAA’s lawyers make a series of arguments, including a claim that the plaintiffs have recently adopted legal theories for their case that are fundamentally different from those cited in the plaintiffs’ underlying complaint. If the plaintiffs are allowed to pursue those “new” theories, the defendants would have to “litigate an entirely new case after three years of fact-finding and motion practice,” the NCAA’s lawyers wrote.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs dispute the characterization of their approach as “new,” and the matter is scheduled for a class-certification hearing in late November.

The NCAA’s lawyers say the defendants overall “have spent millions on discovery,” the pre-trial process under which each party in a lawsuit can obtain evidence from the opposing party, including significant money “on topics that plaintiffs no longer intend to pursue on behalf of the class.”

Specifically, NCAA attorney Robert J. Wierenga wrote, the NCAA identified 658,705 “potentially responsive documents” for the case, “then engaged in manual review of the 658,705 documents, reviewing for both responsiveness and privilege.” Wierenga added that the NCAA ultimately produced 91,852 documents totaling 600,299 pages.

“Now . . . much of this work may prove to be wasted,” he wrote.

When the plaintiffs’ lawyers filed their motion for class certification on Aug. 31, that filing indicated for the first time that they are seeking not only potentially billions of dollars in damages, but also a system under which money generated by the licensing and sale of current athletes’ names, images and likenesses would be held temporarily held in trust until the end of their college playing careers.

Documents in support of the motion and the financial awards subsequently have become public, including parts of the NCAA’s multimedia and marketing rights contract for the Division I men’s basketball tournament that were placed in the court file earlier this week.

Certification of the suit as a class action would open the case to other qualifying litigants, but the NCAA lawyers warned that if what they term the plaintiffs’ “new theory” of the case goes forward, “the named plaintiffs will be prejudiced by additional discovery and motion practice, the costs associated with prolonged litigation, and by the additional time that it will take to have their claims adjudicated.”

If class certification is denied, the case still can proceed for the current plaintiffs. The NCAA lawyers wrote that the association “is not asking, at this time, that the named plaintiffs’ claims be limited or dismissed.”

Daily Compliance Item- 10/18/12- Timing of Participation Awards

The men’s basketball coaching staff at Ocean State University is going to require the student-athletes to wear a jacket and tie when traveling to away from home competitions.  Because only a couple of the student-athletes have the proper attire to wear, the staff decided to provide blazers to the team as one of their participation awards for this year.  The student-athletes will receive these blazers prior to the first game of the season.

Is this permissible?

No.  It is not permissible to provide student-athletes with a participation gift prior to the conclusion of the season.  NCAA Official Interpretation-3/12/12- Permissible Timing for Providing Annual Participation Awards (I)– states that it is not permissible for an institution to provide an annual participation award (e.g., winter coats, travel blazers) to a student-athlete in a particular sport prior to the day of the institution’s final home contest of the regular playing season in that sport.


[References: NCAA Division I Bylaw (annual participation awards); and a staff interpretation (03/02/12, Item No. a), which has been archived]