Daily Compliance Item- 2/28/13- Current Event

NCAA rules clarification closes Johnny Football ‘loophole’

CNNSI.com

Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel’s case will not bring down the NCAA’s amateurism model after all.

College football and basketball players hoping to cash in on the Johnny Football “loophole” should hold off before they retain intellectual property attorneys. A Texas A&M official said Tuesday that while the NCAA would allow Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel to collect damages if his corporation’s lawsuit against the maker of the “Keep Calm and Johnny Football” T-shirt pans out, the governing body of college sports told Texas A&M it would consider an intentional copyright violation for the purposes of funneling money to a player to be a violation.

“They specifically called that out,” Texas A&M vice president of business development Shane Hinckley said. “If it was an orchestrated event between a student-athlete and a booster, then that would fall under the enforcement arm. So that’s pretty much out.”

Hinckley said the Johnny Football phenomenon has been a learning experience on the business and legal side. He calls the situation a “three-headed monster” involving Manziel’s likeness, his intellectual property rights and the intellectual property rights of Texas A&M. Hinckley said about 20 percent of the unlicensed Johnny Football merchandise he’s seen has also infringed upon Texas A&M’s marks. Texas A&M is not allowed to market merchandise bearing Manziel’s name or nickname. It is allowed to sell his No. 2 jersey with no name attached. Still, even if Texas A&M’s marks are not used by a Johnny Football merchandise seller, Hinckley said any use of the school colors (maroon and white) could be considered a violation of the school’s intellectual property rights based on the 2009 ruling in favor of LSU against Florida-based T-shirt maker Smack Apparel.

Whether Manziel should be able to cash in now on his notoriety is another issue for another day, but it appears his case will not be the one that brings down the NCAA’s amateurism model. Despite the suggestion that the ability to recover damages would be a loophole, the NCAA is aware of that possibility. “They specifically said that if it was an orchestrated event that it would fall under the enforcement proceedings and be a separate issue,” Hinckley said. “So all this talk about loopholes, there’s not a lot of ground for that.”

 

This article was selected for educational purposes only

Daily Compliance- 2/27/13- 16.02.3, 16.6.1.5- Picnic for Parents

Ocean State University (OSU) will be conducting its annual spring football game in a few weeks.  The coaches would like to host a picnic for the parents after the game.  Is it permissible for OSU to provide this benefit to the parents?

No.  NCAA Official Interpretation- 4/13/90-Picnic expenses for parents of student-athletes– states that the provisions of Bylaw 16.02.3 would preclude an institution from providing a meal for parents of student-athletes at the conclusion of its spring 1990 football game, unless the parents are charged for the cost of the meal.

This type of benefit could be permissible, however, if the picnic meets the parameters in Bylaw 16.6.1.5.

Bylaw 16.6.1.5– An institution may provide the family members of a student-athlete with reasonable food and drinks in conjunction with educational meetings or celebratory events (e.g., senior night) and on an occasional basis for other reasons. [R] ((Adopted: 4/27/00 effective 8/1/00, Revised: 4/25/02 effective 8/1/02, 1/16/10, 1/19/13 effective 8/1/13).  This bylaw was slightly updated with the adoption of RWG Proposal 16-5.

Daily Compliance Item- 2/26/13- 13.6.7.7- Snacks for Siblings on OV

High Post is a prospective student-athlete being recruited by a lot of Division I basketball coaches across the country.  High is going to take an official visit to Ocean State University (OSU) this weekend, and he would like to bring his parents and little brother Low with him.  Low is in first grade and is a huge basketball fan.

The Athletic Director will be hosting High and his family at his house Saturday night for dessert.  Since OSU cannot provide meals for Low, does High’s family have to pay the cost of the dessert for Low?

No.  NCAA Staff Interpretation- 5/8/92- Brother or sister of prospect provided an after-meal snack– states that during an official visit, the sibling of a prospective student-athlete may receive a dessert or after-dinner snack at the home of an institutional staff member (e.g., the director of athletics, coach, faculty member or the institution’s president).

NCAA Bylaw 13.6.7.7– The cost of actual meals, not to exceed three per day, on the official visit for a prospective student-athlete and the prospective student-athlete’s parents, legal guardians, spouse or children need not be included in the $40-per-day entertainment expense. Meals must be comparable to those provided to student-athletes during the academic year. A reasonable snack (e.g., pizza, hamburger) may be provided in addition to the three meals.

Daily Compliance Item- 2/25/13- 14.3.1.3- Use of Retake SAT Score

Andy Athlete is a freshman student-athlete at Ocean State University.  Andy was certified as a qualifier by the NCAA Eligibility Center at the beginning of the academic year.  During the fall term, Andy’s SAT score was invalidated by SAT officials.  Andy retook the test in December and achieved a high enough score to maintain qualifier status but not high enough to validate the original score.  Can Andy use this re-take score taken after initial full-time enrollment to meet initial eligibility requirements?

No.  NCAA Staff Interpretation- 2/14/13- Use of Retest SAT or ACT Scores for Initial Eligibility (I)- states that if a student-athlete is required to retake the SAT or ACT following initial, full-time collegiate enrollment because the validity of the student-athlete’s qualifying test score achieved prior to enrollment is challenged, the student-athlete would be considered to have satisfied the test-score time limitation if the retest score is high enough to validate the pre-enrollment score. However, if the student-athlete’s score on the postenrollment retest is high enough to be considered a qualifying score but is not high enough to validate the pre-enrollment score, the student-athlete would not be considered to have satisfied the test-score time limitation. Only private retest scores achieved through a standardized examination, administered in accordance with secure procedures set forth by the testing agency (no residual campus testing) may be used to satisfy initial-eligibility requirements. Such a retest is not required to be administered on a national testing date.

[References: Bylaws 14.3.1.3 (test-score requirements) and 14.3.1.3.1 (test-score time limitation); official interpretation (08/14/1996 Item No. 5-a-8) and staff interpretation (07/16/1999 Item No. a) which have been archived]

Daily Compliance Item- 2/22/13- Current Event

Miami’s NCAA defense has sudden change of tone

USAToday.com

 

Miami President Donna Shalala is politely declining interview requests for the time being, which perhaps isn’t surprising. She’s already said plenty this week.

But the university’s abrupt reversal from quiet cooperation to public defiance is startling.

“We have been wronged in this investigation,” Shalala said Monday in a statement after the NCAA made public the report of an external review that found significant misconduct by its enforcement staff investigating a booster’s allegations of rule violations. Tuesday, after the NCAA issued a Notice of Allegations to Miami that included a charge of “lack of institutional control”, the school’s response was at least as strident, saying, “many of the allegations … remain unsubstantiated” and attacking the process.

“Miami went from being very cooperative and helping the NCAA (in the investigation) and looking like they were going to take their lumps and move on from it to fighting and doing so very publicly,” said John Infante, a former university compliance officer and proprietor of The Bylaw Blog, which covers NCAA compliance issues.

The language in both statements was unusual for a university administrator, especially before an NCAA investigation is completed, and appeared to be a sharp reversal of strategy.

“It’s unprecedented,” said David Ridpath, an assistant professor of sports administration at Ohio University and a frequent critic of the NCAA’s enforcement arm. “In many ways she’s thrown down the gantlet and challenged (the NCAA): ‘Bring it on.’ ”

The outcome will likely boil down simply to how strong the NCAA’s case actually is. For more than two years, the NCAA has been investigating allegations made by booster Nevin Shapiro, who is serving a 20-year sentence for running a $930 million Ponzi scheme, and according to Shalala’s statement, is “a man who made a fortune by lying … a convicted con man.”

The NCAA fired its vice president for enforcement after an external review by the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft found members of the enforcement staff secured the services of an attorney to secure information from depositions in Shapiro’s bankruptcy proceedings. Thirteen interviews and portions of 12 more were excised from the investigative record. Yet attorney Ken Wainstein, who led the external review, estimated only 20 percent of the evidence had been “tainted” and removed, and the NCAA apparently felt strong enough about the remaining 80 percent to charge “lack of institutional control.”

Miami’s statement in response noted Shapiro’s dubious credibility and said the NCAA enforcement staff told the school that if Shapiro “said something more than once, it considered the allegation ‘corroborated’ — an argument which is both ludicrous and counter to legal practice.”

But a person familiar with the NCAA enforcement staff’s activities told USA TODAY Sports that Shapiro’s allegations included rich details – dates and locations – that were corroborated by multiple documents and witnesses. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

That anyone’s talking at all points to the unique circumstances of the case. And when it comes to Shalala and Miami, it isn’t just the public venting. It’s the timing.

In June 2010, then-USC athletic director Mike Garrett ripped into the NCAA at an offseason booster function. Earlier that day, the Committee on Infractions had announced harsh penalties for violations involving star running back Reggie Bush. According to the Los Angeles Times, Garrett told fans: “As I read the decision by the NCAA … I read between the lines and there was nothing but a lot of envy. They wish they were all Trojans.”

The defiant comments distilled what some felt had been the general attitude of the school toward the investigation, which had run for many months. But Garrett’s fighting words came after the NCAA had ruled. Literally, it was all over but the shouting – which is an important distinction.

Shalala’s statements – especially the one Tuesday night, in acknowledgment and response to the Notice of Allegations – come during the process. The school faces a date this summer with the Committee on Infractions, which will ultimately rule on the allegations and determine whether to add penalties beyond those already imposed by the school (which include two consecutive bowl bans and reduced scholarships).

The stance played well with many, perhaps because of the natural antipathy held by many college football fans for the NCAA and especially its enforcement arm. And it appears to have been a calculated move, an attempt to leverage the university’s suddenly strong position in relation to the misconduct by NCAA investigators. But it could backfire, both in the court of public opinion and the court of the Committee on Infractions.

“It’s a bit of a tight-wire act,” said Ridpath of Shalala’s and Miami’s new, combative stance. “But in a lot of ways, she definitely jumped off of (the wire) and she’s taken the gloves off. It’s a risk – but I think it’s worth taking.”

Both statements seemed to be aimed in part at persuading the Committee on Infractions that the school has already been heavily penalized, both with its self-imposed sanctions and from two years of negative publicity. “We deeply regret any violations,” Tuesday’s statement said, “but we have suffered enough.”

There’s also the potential of a lawsuit, as well as an implicit threat that Shalala, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton presidency, is well-connected in Washington, D.C. But Jo Potuto, a former chair of the Committee on Infractions, said she wasn’t surprised to hear Shalala’s comments. Potuto said the publicity surrounding the NCAA’s investigation – and specifically, the misconduct – is a significant, exacerbating factor.

“It makes this case extraordinary from the perspective of a president and a campus,” Potuto said. “It didn’t seem to me the substance of what Donna Shalala said would be different from what one would expect to hear in a committee hearing.”

Potuto said the Committee on Infractions would rule on the merits of the case presented to them. But Infante and others suggested the Committee might be concerned with the misconduct by the NCAA investigators, but might also be unhappy with Shalala’s public comments.

“I wouldn’t bet the rent on what the Committee on Infractions is ever gonna do,” Infante said. “They could say, ‘No, there are still problems, 80 percent is still significant, we’re gonna impose other penalties.’ Or almost equally likely the Committee could take out its frustration on the enforcement staff and let Miami off.

“The risk is there. I think it’s a coin toss.”

Daily Compliance Item- 2/21/13- 16.1.4.3- Awards to Ineligible Student-Athletes

The Ocean State University women’s basketball team won its conference tournament this year.  The Conference office will be providing each member of the team with a championship gift.  There are two student-athletes on the team that did not attend the tournament because they have been academically ineligible all year.

Can the Conference office provide a gift to these two student-athletes?

No.  NCAA Official Interpretation- 12/12/94- National or Conference Championship Awards to Ineligible Student-Athletes– states that it is not permissible for an institution or conference (or organization approved by either) to provide awards in recognition of conference or national championships to student-athletes who were not eligible to represent the institution in intercollegiate competition during the applicable sport season.

 

[References: 16.1.4.3 (conference and national championships) and staff minute 12/07/88, item c]

 

Daily Compliance Item- 2/20/13- 16.2.1.1.1- Complimentary Admissions for a Conference Tournament

Alley Oop is a basketball student-athlete at Ocean State University.  Alley’s team will be participating in its conference tournament next week, and she would like to provide tickets to a few of her family members.  How many complimentary admissions may Alley provide?

A.  2

B.  4

C.  6

D.  None

The answer is CNCAA Bylaw 16.2.1.1.1 states that an institution may provide each student-athlete who participates in or is a member of a team participating in a postseason event (e.g., conference championship, NCAA championship, National Invitation Tournament, bowl game) with six complimentary admissions to all intercollegiate athletics events at the site at which the student (or team) participates.  (Adopted: 1/9/96 effective 8/1/96, Revised: 11/1/01 effective 8/1/02, 1/17/09 effective 8/1/09)

Daily Compliance Item- 2/19/13- 13.6.3, 13.9.1- Registration with the NCAA Eligibility Center

Here is a recently posted educational column on LSDBi clarifying what constitutes registration with the NCAA Eligibility Center for purposes of providing an official visit or written offer of athletic aid.

 

NCAA Educational Column- 2/14/13-Definition of Registration with the NCAA Eligibility Center (I)– states that NCAA Division I Bylaws 13.6.3 and 13.9.1 include a requirement that a high school or preparatory school prospective student-athlete be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center and on the institution’s Institutional Request List (IRL) before being provided an official visit or written offer of athletically related financial aid.

A prospective student-athlete is considered to be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center once the individual has successfully completed the online registration process on the NCAA Eligibility Center website, which includes an agreement to the Ethical Conduct statement per NCAA Bylaw 10.1, and has made a successful payment or indicated that he or she is eligible to receive a fee waiver. The prospective student-athlete will receive a payment confirmation email, as well as an email confirming successful registration with his or her 10-digit NCAA ID.

To qualify for a waiver of the NCAA Eligibility Center fee, the prospective student-athlete must already have received a fee waiver from ACT or SAT. If the prospective student-athlete has not been granted a fee waiver by ACT or SAT, he or she is not eligible for a waiver of the registration fee.

Prospective student-athletes who qualify for a fee waiver may be provided an official visit or written offer of athletically related financial aid even if the high school official has not yet attested to the fee waiver. However, the prospective student-athlete must be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center.

To determine whether a prospective student-athlete has successfully registered, please follow these steps:

Log on to the NCAA Eligibility Center’s Member Institution Portal and enter your institution’s login information. Navigate to the IRL tab and then IRL Activation to search for the prospective student-athlete.

If the prospective student-athlete does not appear on the IRL Activation search page, that student has NOT registered and is NOT permitted to take an official visit or be provided a written offer of athletically related financial aid.

If the prospective student-athlete’s name and NCAA ID appear, the student is considered registered, and is eligible to receive an official visit and a written offer of athletically related financial aid.

[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 13.6.3 (requirements for official visit) and 13.9.1 (requirements for offer of athletically related financial aid)]

Daily Compliance Item- 2/18/13- 13.11.3.3- Coaching a Training Program & Recruiting

One of the assistant women’s soccer coaches at Ocean State University (OSU) is the head coach for a regional soccer training club.  The club team will be competing in a national tournament later this month.  The OSU coach will be coaching the team but would also like to recruit while attending the tournament. The OSU coach’s expenses will be paid for by the training club.

Is this permissible?

 

No.  NCAA Educational Column- 2/14/13-Institution Providing Recruiting Expenses to Coach While Acting in Capacity for State, Regional, National or International Training Programs (I)– states that Division I institutions should note that an institution’s coach may participate in recognized state, regional, national or international training programs or competition organized and administered by the applicable governing body, provided the coach is selected by the applicable governing body and the participants are selected by an authority or a committee of the applicable governing body that is not limited to athletics department staff members affiliated with one institution.

The following information is intended to assist the membership with the application of legislation governing state, regional, national or international training programs (“training program”).

Question No. 1: May an institution’s coach engage in recruiting activities while attending competition in conjunction with the coach’s role in a training program if the coach is receiving expenses from the training program?

Answer: No. If the training program is paying expenses associated with the coach attending the competition (e.g., transportation, lodging, meals), the institution’s recruiting activities would be subsidized by the training program. Such subsidization is not permitted. However, the training program may pay expenses that are unique to the coach’s participation in the training program or compensate the coach for his or her participation (e.g., fees associated with event participation, going rate for coaching services) without subsidizing institutional recruiting activities. Providing such expenses or compensation is permissible because such expenditures (or compensation) would not have been necessary had the coach attended the competition solely for recruiting purposes.

Question No. 2: May an institution’s coach engage in recruiting activities while attending competition in conjunction with the coach’s role in a training program if the training program will not provide expenses, but expenses may be reimbursed by the institution?

Answer: Normally, it would not be permissible for a coach to use his or her funds for recruiting on behalf of the institution. However, the coach may engage in recruiting activities and receive reimbursement of expenses first outlayed by the coach, provided the expenditures are preapproved in general (e.g., recruiting trip is preapproved, as opposed to each specific expenditure being preapproved) and the preapproval is consistent with institutional policies. Under this scenario, the expenses are permissible because the institution has control over the funds expended for recruiting activities on its behalf.

Institutions should note that, while it is permissible for institutional funds to support a national team or training program, it is not permissible to make a donation, directly or indirectly, to a local training center that involves a student-athlete from that institution or any prospective student-athletes.

Question No. 3: Does the analysis change if the coach is acting on behalf of a local sports club instead of a state, regional, national or international training program while attending the competition?

Answer: Yes. An institution is not permitted to sponsor or subsidize a local sports club. Therefore, the institution is not permitted to provide any expenses that would offset expenses otherwise incurred by the local sports club, including the cost of the coach’s attendance in his or her capacity as the local sports club coach. In contrast, an institution is permitted to contribute to a national team or a state, regional, national or international training program.

 

[References: NCAA Division I Bylaws 13.11.1 (prohibited activities), 13.11.2.4.3 (institutional sponsorship of local sports clubs), 13.11.3.3 (state, regional, national or international training programs) and 13.14.1 (institutional control); staff interpretation (8/7/92, Item No. 9-a-[5]), staff interpretation (8/22/07, Item No. 3), and educational columns (3/1/12, Item No. 3) and (11/7/12, Item No. 1)]

Daily Compliance Item- 2/15/13- Current Event

CAP plans academic initial-eligibility recommendation by May

NCAA.org

 

The Committee on Academic Performance − having considered feedback from the membership, constituent groups and the presidents on the Division I Board of Directors − continues to examine initial-eligibility requirements adopted in October 2011.

Committee ready to recommend changes

The Committee on Academic Performance seems ready to recommend a change to the core-course grade-point average calculation.

At the moment, prospective student-athletes are required to earn a minimum 2.0 grade-point average in at least 16 core courses. However, prospective student-athletes are allowed to take additional core courses – beyond the 16 – to improve their core GPA calculation.

The committee will recommend to the Board that only the 16 best courses that meet the required distribution (four years of English; three years of math; two years of natural/physical science; one year of additional English, math or science; two years of social science; and four years of additional courses from any area above, foreign language or comparative religion/philosophy) be allowed to count toward a prospect’s initial eligibility. Members believe that change, especially when paired with the already-approved requirement of earning 10 core courses before the senior year, helps ensure the integrity of the core GPA.

The recommendation will be presented to the Board in May.

The ongoing review seeks to find the best balance between enhanced college academic performance for student-athletes with ensured access to college for prospective student-athletes.

The committee meets later this month to continue its discussion of the initial-eligibility standards, and members plan to have a recommendation to the Board of Directors by its May meeting.

The academic enhancements adopted in recent years were numerous:

  • A minimum academic standard for postseason participation of a 930 Academic Progress Rate (APR)
  • A new Academic Performance Program penalty structure and filters, including a menu of possible penalties available to the committee after a team’s third consecutive year below the benchmarks
  • New academic standards for two-year transfer student-athletes, including an increase in transferrable grade-point average and enhancements to the required core curriculum at a two-year college
  • Increased academic requirements for incoming student-athletes, including a 2.3 GPA requirement and increased sliding scale for freshmen to have access to competition in their first year. The current standards GPA and test score standards remain in place for access to financial aid and the opportunity to practice. A core-course progression requirement – 10 of the 16 total core courses required must be earned before the start of the senior year – was also approved.

The changes are all designed to improve the graduation rates for student-athletes, while still allowing for maximum access for underrepresented populations. The most recent Graduation Success Rate data show student-athletes who entered school between 2002 and 2005 graduated within six years at about an 80 percent rate.  This is the highest overall GSR on record, and yet the committee has noted that some sports continue to lag.

Hartford President Walter Harrison, chair of the Committee on Academic Performance, said the committee continues to support changes to the initial-eligibility requirements and the creation of what is essentially an “academic redshirt year” for freshmen who need extra time to acclimate to collegiate academic expectations. At the same time, he said the group is listening to concerns from the membership – including university presidents – that the increase of the sliding scale was too dramatic, might not have the intended impact, or should be implemented on a slower timeline.

Shannon Strahle, associate athletics director for compliance at Gonzaga, said her institution favors a more measured approach to the various academic standard enhancements.

“We certainly need to focus on academics, not just at the collegiate level, but at the high school level, too,” she said. “We need to think about whether we can accomplish that with a meaningful intermediate step and a commitment to look at it again when we see the impact of other changes we are making.”

Strahle’s proposal was one the Board of Directors also espoused when Harrison discussed the issue with that group in January. Harrison said he considers it not a regression but rather a longer timeline or a more relaxed sliding scale enhancement.

“We’re looking for more time to reach the same level, but we want to do it in a realistic way that will allow our institutions and high schools a real amount of time to get ready for it,” Harrison said.

Donna Heinel, senior associate athletics director at Southern California, said she would also favor a more step-by-step approach to new academic requirements.

“What do we want to accomplish?” she asked.  “The GSR is already moving upward. We’ve got a lot of changes to academic requirements: the 930 APR for championships, the (core course progression) requirement, the 2.3 GPA requirement. If things work, how will we know what was the final analysis. What (change) was the most successful? If it doesn’t work, do we have to throw it all out?”

Heinel and Strahle’s concern about making too many changes at once is taken seriously by Harrison and others. Additionally, Harrison mentioned he’d heard some uncertainty about whether coaches will actually offer scholarships to players who will not compete in the first year for academic reasons. While he said he didn’t want to predict what might happen based on rules that weren’t yet in place, he believes the concern is sincere.

“Some people also are concerned about the (potential) racial disparity,” he said. “That’s an important thing for us to consider and discuss. Many people, and I would include myself, feel that the most important thing we are doing for students of color and students from poor economic circumstances is provide them an access to a college education. This (model) preserves that, and it preserves the opportunity to play for four years once you are ready for the requirements of being a college student.”

Graduation rates of African-American student-athletes have increased by 2 percent since the last sliding scale change. Additionally, there are several hundred more African-Americans in the system than were there before the removal of the test score cut-point in 2003.  Taken together, these increases led to about 500 more African-American graduates per year. These were intended consequences of the rules that came into place in 2003, and much of the success can likely be attributed to the enhanced requirements for incoming student-athletes.

According to current data, the enhanced requirements will have the most impact in football and men’s basketball, the two sports that consistently lag behind the others in academic performance. Harrison said that while those sports have improved significantly, a “measurable gap” still exists between those and other sports. He and others on the committee anticipate that enhancing the initial-eligibility requirements could make a real impact on graduation rates in those sports.

“Our approach will be to take a look at it again, but the Board gave us the direction of ‘full speed ahead with what you are attempting to accomplish, but perhaps look at phasing in some of these requirements,’ ” Harrison said. “We’ve always felt we need to give people a lot of advance time … We’re having a very intense but reasonable and thoughtful discussion about what to do, in keeping with the NCAA’s tradition of being an academics-first organization.”