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College Sports, Division II

New NCAA Division II Interpretation: Contract or Commitment to Participate on a Team and Perform other Duties

On June 28, 2011, the Interpretations Subcommittee of the NCAA Division II Legislation Committee issued an official interpretation concerning a contract or
commitment by a student-athlete with an athletics organization (e.g., club) in which the student-athlete agrees to participate on a team and perform other duties (e.g., coaching the same or another team in the club system) and the contract or commitment does not specify the amount of compensation to be received for each activity. The committee determined that “all compensation provided as part of the contract or commitment must be included when determining whether the team on which the individual participated provided any of its players more than actual and necessary expenses.” The interpretation references NCAA Division II Bylaw 12.2.5 (contracts and compensation) and 12.02.4 (professional athletics team):

12.2.5: “An individual shall be ineligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport if he or she has entered into any kind of agreement to compete in professional athletics, either orally or in writing, regardless of the legal enforceability of that agreement.”

12.02.4: “A professional team is any organized team that:

(a) Provides any of its players more than actual and necessary expenses for participation on the team, except as otherwise permitted by NCAA legislation.  Actual and necessary expenses are limited to the following, provided the value of these items is commensurate with the fair market value in the locality of the player(s) and is not excessive in nature:

(1)   Meals directly tied to competition and practice held in preparation for such competition;

(2)   Lodging directly tied to competition and practice held in preparation for such competition;

(3)   Apparel, equipment and supplies;

(4)   Coaching and instruction;

(5)   Health/medical insurance;

(6)   Transportation (expenses to and from practice competition, cost of transportation from home to training/practice site at the beginning of the season and from training/practice site to home at the end of season);

(7)   Medical treatment and physical therapy;

(8)   Facility usage;

(9)   Entry fees; and

(10) Other reasonable expenses; or

(b) Declares itself to be professional”

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions’ athletics compliance offices: a) review institutional policies and procedures concerning student-athletes participating on an athletics organization (e.g., club team); b) include the interpretation in the next scheduled rules-education session for athletics staff; and c) maintain accurate records of student-athlete participation on an athletics organization.

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About Justin P. Sievert, Esquire

Bar Admissions (North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee) Practice Area (College Sports Law)

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